Wareham Free Library increases hours, readies for recertification in November

Sep 21, 2018

With a recertification meeting scheduled for the first week of November, Wareham Free Library staff announced a significant change in operating hours that took effect on Monday, Sept. 24.

This new schedule will see the library open for an additional 15 hours each week in compliance with state guidelines as determined by the size of the town’s population.

“Increasing our hours was the last big hurdle to certification,” said Acting Library Director Kathy Murphy. “We’re very excited to get back on our feet.”

The Wareham Free Library was first forced to reduce hours back in 2014 when voters defeated a Proposition 2 1/2 override, which, if approved, would have provided money for several town agencies by raising property taxes. With the department’s budget slashed from $295,637 to $125,000, the building remained open for 30 hours a week, instead of the required 45.

This, as well as the inability to pay a director with a master’s degree, cost the library its state certification along with access to federal grant opportunities and the state’s library network.

Since then, nonprofit organizations such as the Wareham Library Foundation and the Friends of the Wareham Free Library have helped to keep the department afloat by supplementing the budget.

According to Murphy, a recent increase from the town further aided in the library’s recovery allowing additional staff to be hired.

“We have a new reference librarian and a new library assistant,” she said. “We have an increased materials budget that will allow us to buy new books.”

Murphy expressed hope that with longer hours the library would be able to offer additional programming such as computer literacy classes and author talks.

“We’re going to be a real library again,” Murphy said.

The Board of Library Commissioners will meet the first week of November to officially determine the Wareham Free Library’s certification status.

The new hours for the Wareham Free Library are as follows: Monday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; Thursday, 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday, closed; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Sunday, closed.

New Spinney Memorial Branch in Onset hours: will also experience a change in hours: Monday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursday, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.