The Thomas Crane Public Library in Quincy will close on Sundays, the busiest day of the week, and the outlook for restoring Sunday hours is uncertain.
The Crane library, the main branch in the city’s library system, began fiscal 2010 with a $50,000 budget for Sunday service, said Director Ann McLaughlin. However, about $75,000 is needed for a full year of Sunday hours, she said.
The library hoped that the economy would improve and free up some money, but no such recovery occurred, she said. The library trustees decided on Monday to end Sunday hours, starting this weekend.
“Typically, in municipal budgets, money can be transferred from other city accounts toward the end of the [fiscal] year,’’ said McLaughlin. “But the mayor made it very clear to all departments that there would be no year-end transfers and we would end the fiscal year with a shortfall.’’
“We know that [Sunday] is a very popular day for the public, and we’re really unhappy to do it, but our first priority is trying to keep from laying off staff,’’ she said.
At this point in the budget planning for fiscal 2011, which begins July 1, it’s unclear whether funding can be restored for Sunday hours. “Clearly, that would be a priority because it is the busiest day of the week,’’ McLaughlin said.
She estimated that on Sundays, 2,000 to 3,000 people use the Crane library, which had been open four hours that day. The second-busiest day has usually been Saturday, with up to 2,500 people.
For the rest of this fiscal year, McLaughlin said she expects no additional reductions in services. The system began the year with cuts to such accounts as book acquisition, but took pains to keep the three branch libraries open 28 hours a week.
“We’re trying to keep people from losing their jobs,’’ she said, ‘’but if we take another cut in next year’s budget, there are not many other places to cut except staff.’’