Editorial: One for the books

October 9, 2014 Editorial Staff
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Residents of all ages can rejoice at the news that the Brooklyn Public Library has expanded hours at many of its branches.

As of October 4, a whopping two-thirds of the library’s 60 branches are now open either six or seven days a week, including service on Saturdays as well as extended evening service.

Now, 41 branches offer six or seven-day service; that’s up from 25, with 47 branches now open on Saturday (up from 39). In total, thanks to the expansion of hours, the borough’s branch will, on average, be open 45 hours a week, with more personnel on hand to help library users, including not only new librarians, but also new clerical staff, public safety officers and custodians.

The $2.8 million allocated by the city that helped pay for the service expansion is, in our opinion, money well spent.

Extending library hours will benefit virtually everyone who uses one. Youngsters can go to the library after school to do homework (perhaps with free help provided), use the computer and explore the volumes on its shelves – the surest path we know toward creating a generation of lifetime readers.

By the same token, senior citizens will be able to spend more time in one of their favorite places, reading a newspaper, participating in a program geared toward them (of which there are many) or simply enjoying a good book.

We therefore applaud the City Council and mayor for recognizing a need and acting to fill it. We also applaud the Brooklyn Public Library’s administrators, for stretching the dollars they do receive through new efficiencies that include adding self-checkout stations in almost every one of the system’s branches as well as centralizing some of the library’s administrative functions such as book purchasing.

All that being said, we – like the BPL’s staff and administrators – look forward to a day when there is enough funding available to keep every branch open at least six days a week, with even more books and other reading matter to choose from.

In our opinion, that day can’t come too soon.

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