BELCHERTOWN – The Clapp Memorial Library wants to hear feedback from the community.
The library released a statement a couple of weeks ago saying that they would be releasing a survey for anyone to fill out to increase the library hours. The reason for the need for an increase in hours is because Belchertown’s population has grown to more than 15,000 people and has entered a new population group according to the state. Their current hours are Mondays and Fridays from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesday through Thursday from 10 am to 6 pm, and Saturday from 9 am to 1 pm for a total of 47 hours a week. To be able to remain qualified for state aid the library would be required to stay open for a minimum of 50 hours a week.
According to library Director Cyndi Harbeson, “The goal of the survey is to get feedback from as many people as possible and figure out where is best for the community to add those three hours.”
Remaining certified means the library would continue to earn $25,000 a year and people who use the library can continue to freely borrow from other libraries either in person or online databases provided by the state.
Harbeson urges everyone to complete the two-question survey so they can determine if there will be a need for additional personnel. “The survey is two-fold. Right now, we have about 100 submissions with Saturday afternoon being the favorite so far with other votes being scattered throughout the week. If Saturday is the day that people want to see the hours extended than we will have to figure out if we can get additional staffing for Saturday by giving someone another day off during the week.” This is all based on early submissions and is not the final decision by any means. Harbeson and the library are just trying to get ahead of the situation even though they have a year to increase their hours, she explained.
Harbeson said the reason for making a survey instead of deciding internally as a staff is “to find out what time and day are best for more people to be able to come to the library who cannot make it at our current hours.
We have people with young kids who wish we were open earlier and others who get home after their jobs and dinner who wish we were open later. We may not be able to accommodate everyone but at least we can make the library more accessible for more people.”
The survey has three options for times you wish to see the library open along with an “other” option to type in a time that is not listed. There is also an optional question of why you are likely to visit the library based on the hours you chose. Those looking to fill out the survey will be able to access it from a link on their homepage on the front page or on their social media. You can also go to the library to fill out a physical paper survey to give to the library.