Winchester Public Library is looking to do something that has never happened before: open on Saturdays during the summer months, according to Director Ann Wirtanen.
The library conducted a survey last spring to identify the needs of the community, including a new website and also for the library to open on Saturdays in the summertime.
"Saturdays in the summer was another identified deficiency by the public in our survey," Wirtanen said. "The public wants us open on Saturdays, and we budgeted for it and so far it has passed the Town Manager (Richard Howard)'s office so we're really excited about the possibility with our new budget of being open on Saturdays during the summer."
By opening on Saturdays in the summer, Wirtanen said it would not be a costly venture, costing less than $10,000. The money would cover the personnel costs during "this trial year," she added.
"This is a big opportunity for us," Wirtanen said. "We are responding to what the people have asked. I have received a number of emails and letters from Winchester residents asking us 'Why aren't you open on Saturdays?'
"It's a throwback to the old adage that everybody goes away for the summer, and everybody does not go away for the summer. There are plenty of people who work all year round. We recognize that and we want to be there for them."
The town may also fund Sunday operations, Wirtanen said, which would cost about $1,000 to be open for three hours per Sunday.
The library's Sunday hours have typically been open from 2-5 p.m. October to May during the school year, according to Wirtanen. The Sunday hours were paid for largely through the library's annual fundraising gala, and "people donated money for it but we would really like to use those future donations for other projects as well as our endowment," Wirtanen said.
"For seven years now we have privately funded our Sunday hours," said the director. "The town manager has approved it to have the town begin to pick up the cost of Sunday hours. We hope the Finance Committee and the Town Meeting agree."
Wirtanen is expected to meet with the Finance Committee, but a date has yet to be determined. Spring Town Meeting is slated for April 29.