From The Detroit Free Press | http://on.freep.com/2mTaMYY
Ryan Hooper, Special to the Free Press Published 10:09 p.m. ET March 21, 2017
"As part of the momentum and activity bubbling in Midtown, the main branch of the Detroit Public Library will start offering Sunday hours this fall for the first time in 36 years.
Additionally, two recently renovated branches — the Redford on Grand River and the Wilder on East 7 Mile — will also be open on Sundays, making them the first neighborhood branches in Detroit to open on a Sunday.
Starting Oct. 8, the three branches will be open 1-5 p.m., and that will continue through May. A wide range of family-friendly events and activities are planned, such as readings of children books, speakers and classes on Microsoft and Excel computer software.
The seasonal hours are part of a national trend at libraries to target students who are returning to school, said Detroit Public Library Executive Director Jo Anne Mondowney.
The seven-member commission that governs the Detroit library system and is appointed by the Detroit school board unanimously approved the proposal Tuesday. The Detroit Public Library Commission estimates the additional hours will cost an extra $250,000 a year.
Considering the library’s $32-million annual budget in 2016, Mondowney said, the cost gives taxpayers a “big bang for their buck.”
Mondowney said the Detroit Public Library was one of the first in the country to offer Sunday hours in 1931. Following budget issues, the main branch discontinued Sunday hours in 1981.
The area near the main library is changing and attracting new residents. The QLINE rail system is expected to launch this year, with a stop along Woodward near the library. In addition, new housing units are going up just south of the library near Mack, potentially bringing in more new residents. And the Red Wings' new arena should bring Sunday visitors to the area as well when it opens this fall.
Adding Sundays to the roster of the library's open days will put Detroit on track with other major cities, said library commission member Victoria Inniss-Edwards.
“If you go to Kansas City or Washington, D.C., on a Sunday, you can see families leaving church and stopping by the library,” Inniss-Edwards said. “I grew up here in Detroit and remember that being part of our Sundays as a kid. Sunday is a family day, and it’s really wonderful to be able to offer that again.”
Commission President Franklin Jackson said the additional hours are part of improving the quality of life for Detroiters.
“This is part of showing the citizens of Detroit that they matter," Jackson said.
Officials are optimistic that expanded hours and more branches will be added to the roster of Detroit libraries open on Sundays.
Adrienne Whitman, a resident who lives near the main branch, said she comes to the library to get away from the "hustle and bustle of the city" as well as to attend a regular live jazz series hosted in the auditorium.
Whitman said she is looking forward to the library expanding its hours and that it helps meet a vital need for residents who don't have Internet access at home.
"It'll be a comfort to know that we will have some place to go in case we need to use the computers or just to read a book on a Sunday," she said."