Pasco County is experiencing rosier days for its 2018 budget, which began Oct. 1.
So, the good old days when Pasco County libraries were open on Mondays are on the way back.
Two libraries, including the Land O’ Lakes Branch Library, had ribbon cuttings on Oct. 16 to celebrate a return to the tradition of Monday library hours.
“We’ve been advocating and advocating,” said Elayne Bassinger, who serves on the library board. “We cannot tell you how grateful we are. This is exciting.”
In addition to the restored hours, the Land O’ Lakes library will add five additional full-time staff members, and more activities to its monthly calendar.
Budget cuts in past years axed Monday from all library schedules.
The situation was so dire, county commissioners in 2013 considered closing two libraries: the New River Branch Library in Zephyrhills and the Centennial Park Branch Library in Holiday.
All libraries still remain closed on Sundays.
However, over the next three years, all of the county’s libraries are expected to open again on Mondays, as the county’s budget allows.
The goal is to restore library hours to the 2008 level of 40 hours a week for each library.
Land O’ Lakes restored hours on Mondays are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
It’s an extra day of the week to be open, but also adds a second day of evening hours. The library also is open the same hours on Tuesday.
Pasco County Commission Chairman Mike Moore joined Bassinger, Library Administrator Nancy Fredericks, Pasco County Administrator Dan Biles and library staff members for the ribbon cutting.
After years of deep cuts to library budgets, county commissioners approved a budget for fiscal year 2018 that added in more money for libraries, and also for parks.
Libraries are valuable to communities, Moore said. In addition to books, they also provide innovative technology, including Land O’ Lakes makerspace, to help people learn.
Plus, they facilitate connections between people.
“It’s a great meeting place,” Moore said.
In addition to the Land O’ Lakes library, at 2818 Collier Parkway, the county restored Monday hours to the Regency Park Branch Library, in New Port Richey. That library also will get new staff members.
“Those are the county’s busiest libraries,” Fredericks said.
To celebrate the restored hours, Land O’ Lakes library patrons were treated to special activities, including pen turning, a silly dance party, a visit from “creepy” reptiles and invertebrates, yoga and Tai Chi.
Looking ahead, Mondays now can be filled with additional activities on a regular basis on the library’s monthly calendar, said Kathleen Rothstein, Land O’ Lakes branch manager.
Yoga and Tai Chi will be offered on alternating Monday nights. There will be a Monday Movie Matinee. The library’s Foundry, or makerspace, will be open at various times on Monday.
The Foundry has a variety of new technology including 3-D printers, state-of-the-art Computer Aided Design (CAD) equipment, an Oculus Rift virtual reality system, and an audio recording studio.
It also offers opportunities to work with traditional hand and power tools, as well as crafting tools and supplies, including yarn and thread.
Other programs scheduled on Mondays include an introduction to knitting, Autumn Candle Holder, Essential Oils, woodworking and Pumpkin Planter.
For more information on dates and times for scheduled library events at Land O’ Lakes and other branch libraries, visit PascoCountyLibraries.org.
Published October 25, 2017