Regional branches extend hours, days
by Staff Writer
HUNTERSVILLE – The staff of the North County Regional Library has quietly grown by 31 percent in recent weeks, and the regional facility that serves Huntersville, Cornelius and Davidson added more hours and two days to its operating schedule this week.
The expanded operating hours took effect Tuesday, Sept. 6, when North County and the other five regional libraries in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg system returned to a Monday-through-Saturday schedule.
Under the new schedule, all regionals will operate from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Also, on Sunday, Sept. 11, the Main Library and ImaginOn in Uptown Charlotte will resume Sunday operations, from 1 to 6 p.m.
In recent weeks, North County Regional, at 16500 Holly Crest Lane, off Statesville Road, has seen its staff increase from 16 to 21 full-time equivalent positions.
During two years of drastic county budget cuts, all of the county’s regional libraries were forced to close on Tuesdays and Fridays. But earlier this year, following the recommendations of a citizens task force that studied the library system, county commissioners restored funding to keep all existing branches open and expand hours at the regional branches, which are the backbone of the county system.
“The expanded hours mean that the library can serve more people with critical services like building early literacy skills for young children, homework and educational support, job searching and technology assistance,” Interim Library Director David Singleton said in a written statement. “The response from the public about the expanded hours at regional libraries has been very positive. From all indications, people are thrilled to have their libraries open for additional days and hours. They are also glad to have a schedule that is easy to commit to memory.”
The library system began the hiring process July 1, by announcing job openings and preparing current staff for recruitment. After an intense recruitment and review of more than 500 applicants, the hiring process has concluded, and 69 additional staff started Aug. 22, according to a news release.
Of the 69 new staff, the six regionals will get 57 full-time and part-time positions. The remaining 12 full-and part-time positions are for vacancies that occurred through retirements and attrition throughout the library system, officials said.
Library officials credited the work of the 17-member Future of the Library Task Force, County Manager Harry Jones and county commissioners for making the additional staff and increased hours possible.
Staffing increases at the other five regional libraries are:
• University City, 301 East W.T. Harris Blvd.: from 20 to 26 full-time equivalent positions, a 30 percent increase.
• Beatties Ford, 2412 Beatties Ford Road: from 11 to 18, a 64 percent increase.
• Independence, at 6000 Conference Drive, increased from 13 to 20, a 54 percent increase.
• Morrison, 7015 Morrison Blvd., increased from 17 to 24, a 41 percent increase.
• South County, at 5801 Rea Road, from 21 to 29, at 38 percent increase.
Find more information at the library system’s website, www.cmlibrary.org.