Fulton adds Friday hours at 10 libraries

The Fulton County Board of Commissioners restored some Friday hours at 10 of the county’s 34 libraries.

Commissioners approved a plan on Wednesday to open the libraries for four hours on Fridays. County Commission Chairman John Eaves said the plan won’t cost more money or increase overall library hours, but will reshuffle employees to provide the additonal hours at Fulton’s most popular libraries.

Four are in Atlanta, three are in north Fulton and three in south Fulton.

In January commissioners agreed to reduce library hours as part of a series of spending cuts when they approved Fulton’s $625.4 million general fund budget. The library system went from 1,562 total hours per week in 2013 to 996 this year.

The reduction in hours comes amid a $275 million library expansion program approved by Fulton voters in 2008. The first phase of the plan calls for spending $167 million to build eight new libraries and expand two others. The latest new library, Wolf Creek, will open Monday.

One result of the decision to reduce hours: Since February, only the Central Library downtown and the Auburn Avenue Research Library have been open on Friday. The Auburn Avenue library is now closed for construction, which allowed Fulton to shift employees to other branches on Fridays, Eaves said.

Under the plan commissioners approved Wednesday, the additional libraries that will be open on Fridays are Adams Park, Adamsville/Collier Heights, Buckhead, East Atlanta, East Point, Northeast/Spruill Oaks, Ocee, Roswell, South Fulton and Southwest. Commissioners also directed the staff to determine if it’s possible to add Friday hours at the Sandy Springs library.

The new hours could take effect as soon as next week.

Eaves said the county will look for ways to provide Friday hours for all libraries as it prepares its 2015 budget.

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