restored to many branches of the Brooklyn Public Library system, including the Kensington branch library located at 410 Ditmas Avenue between East 4th and East 5th Streets.
Last year the Brooklyn Public Library, the fifth largest library system in the country, reacted to budget cuts by choosing to forego weekend library hours rather than lay-off union employees.
The libraries which will now be open on weekends owe their good fortune to a union-rule change which will force union employees to do basic library tasks during regular library hours instead of during overtime hours. About half of all the Brooklyn branches will benefit, bringing the number of libraries which will stay open six days a week up to 32, while the other 28 branches will still be open only five days each week.
“We are very excited to offer increased hours to our patrons at a time when they need and are using our community libraries at record levels,” said Linda Johnson, the system’s new executive director.
No libraries in the system will be open on Sundays, but the re-organization which Johnson is augmenting will add about 8 hours of service to each branch, on average, beginning on September 10th.
Not everyone is excited by the increase in library hours. The president of the Brooklyn library workers’ union, Local 1482, Eileen Muller, complained that the new schedules will make it more difficult for library staff to prepare programs and will also make it more difficult for the custodians to clean the libraries.
“It would be easier for the staff if they had that extra time in morning,” said Muller. “Unfortunately, the library is trying to make light of the work we have to do behind the scenes.”