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New hours start Monday at Charlotte Mecklenburg community libraries

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    Check out the new hours for community and neighborhood branches across the Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system at http://bit.ly/XtI0Pp



The Charlotte Mecklenburg Library system is expanding hours at a dozen branches this week, including opening all of its community and neighborhood locations on Mondays.

The library also is shifting the days that some of those branches are open during the week to make schedules more consistent throughout the county.

That means the community branches will all be open five days a week and closed on Thursdays and Sundays. Before, four community branches had a different schedule than those in other areas.

The library system announced the new hours earlier this year, saying it was able to find money in its budget to make the change. It also said library users had asked for more hours and a schedule that would be easier to remember.

Among the highlights:

• The county’s regional and 12 community branches will open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays, with the regionals also open on Thursdays. Those libraries will open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.

• The Main Library and ImaginOn will remain closed on Mondays, although the other 18 branches in the system will be open.

• Only eight branches – Main, ImaginOn and the regionals – will remain open on Sundays. Those branches will close on Sundays during the summer.

The library system reduced hours at all branches three years ago as part of its response to deep budget cuts from Mecklenburg County, which supplies about 90 percent of its budget. The reductions came as the county saw many of its revenues fall during the recession. Some hours were restored at the six regional library branches in September 2011, and branches in Cornelius, Davidson, Matthews and Mint Hill were able to open for longer hours because of volunteers who worked alongside paid staff.

Library officials announced in January that it would add hours at the community branches, although it still is open for fewer hours than the system had before the 2010 budget cuts.

More holds

In another recent change, library users can request that more books, music or other materials be put on hold if they are checked out.

For about two years, people were only allowed to put up to 10 checked items on hold.

That was about a 50 percent cut from the number of holds previously allowed, but library officials said they wanted to make sure more people had a chance to access materials.

Now, up to 15 items can be put on hold. The items can be picked up from any branch chosen by the library user.

Bethea: 704-358-6013; Twitter: @AprilBethea
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