Underutilization of the Scarborough Library

To the editor,

I haven’t been following the debate over the Scarborough library much, so perhaps the following suggestion has already been put forward?

In lieu of the now voted down expansion, perhaps increasing the utilization through expansion of operating hours would suffice? The current operating hours are M-S from 10am to 5pm, closed on Sunday’s. Over the course of a week the library sits vacant and unused for a considerable amount of time. If the library were to open an hour or two earlier, close a bit later in the evening and open on Sunday’s, that would provide a reasonable increase in utilization without taking on the capital expense of an addition. Surely expanding the operating hours would alleviate some of the strain of high demand?

The proposed expansion in square footage would have necessitated the need for more staff, increasing labor costs. Any additional staff needed to accommodate expanded operating hours would essentially be “a wash” or neutral in costs, as compared to the increase in staff needed for an expansion in the “footprint.” With more and more folks conducting library business online I question how prudent of a business decision an expansion would be now or in the foreseeable future. Expanding the operating hours of a currently underutilized space should, at a minimum, at least be considered before taking on a significant tax burden incurred through an expansion of any size. I’m a big fan of the library but I think creative alternatives are available.

Anyway, just a thought…

David Mulqueeney

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