Due to an increasing demand for services, the beginning of next month, the Washington Carnegie Public Library will increase its service hours.

“About nine years ago, the board reduced operating hours due to a loss in budget revenues caused by the newly legislated property tax caps,” said Teresa Heidenreich, library director, who said at that time, several staff members also saw a reduction in their hours.

Now, the library is ready to expand those hours again.

Starting Sept. 3, Heidenreich said the library will be open four additional hours per week to help better meet the needs of its patrons.

“The unpopular and prudent actions of the board at that time enabled the library to remain on sound fiscal footing,” said Heidenreich. “During the interim years, the library has been able to expand its programming and opportunities to benefit our patrons. Now, due to increasing demand, we will be open four additional hours with no additional staffing costs. Library employees have been extremely accommodating by agreeing to schedule changes in order to staff the extended hours.”

Many students and community members, Heidenreich said, depend on the library for WiFi service and computer use.

“During the e-learning days, we had several students and families come into the library,” she said, adding even when e-learning is not taking place, the computers and WiFi are popular with patrons.

The library’s new hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.

“The additional evening hours on Wednesday provides families and students another opportunity to utilize library services,” said Heidenreich.

The move is one patrons like Mary Fran Bennett are excited about.

“I am thrilled that the library will be extending operating hours in September,” said Bennett, who retired from Washington High School as a French teacher. “I feel that our community is extremely fortunate to have the quality of our local library.”

The services offered at the library, Bennett said, the community should be proud of.

“I have many friends in larger communities that are amazed when I tell them what a library our size is able to offer the public,” she said. “The continuing education opportunities for adults and children are incredible. As a city resident, I feel the library offers us a great return on a small investment.”

Some of those opportunities include the programs coordinated by Rick Chambon, adult programming and outreach coordinator.

“Having come off of a record breaking Adult Summer Reading Program, I am looking forward to what the library will have to offer for the fall season,” said Chambon who is already thinking about fall programming. “With the new Downton Abbey movie premiering in September, I thought it would be a good time to repeat a program I offered some years ago. ‘The Real Downton Abbey’ gives a personal tour of a trip I took to Highclere Castle located 50 miles outside of London.”

That program will be on Sept. 24. at 6:30 p.m.

Chambon said also scheduled are programs on handwriting analysis with Theresa Ortega, Victorian ghost stories the end of October and two holiday-themed events on crafting cards and gift wrapping in early November and December.

“Then coming in January, the library will have an Adult Winter Reading Program,” said Chambon. “Details will be announced in the fall.”

Several youth and young adults programs are also in the works for the coming months including the return of Open STEM Lab and story time for the littlest patrons.

Cailey Moreland, STEM coordinator, also recently announced that the library would be one of only a handful offering a program powered by NASA that will allow youth to build rovers to gather information.

For more information on the programs and services offered at the Washington Carnegie Public Library visit washingtonpubliclibrary.org or call 812-254-4586.

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