Wake County libraries open earlier, close later in 2023

Most Wake County public libraries are expanding their hours starting Jan. 2, 2023.

Most Wake County public libraries are expanding their hours starting Jan. 2, 2023.

Most public libraries in Wake County will open earlier and close later starting Monday, offering readers extra time for reading and computer use.

The extended hours mean libraries will add two hours to their schedules, one in the morning and one in the evening. They’ll be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Sundays stay unchanged at 1 to 5 p.m.

“We’re excited to expand hours to better meet the needs of our residents,” said Shinica Thomas, chair of Wake County Board of Commissioners. “Longer hours mean more people can spend more time at our local libraries, whether it’s parents of young children looking for morning activities, students who need to study late after extracurricular commitments or anyone who works long days — which is many of us!”

The new hours go into effect at most of the county’s 23 libraries. The Athens Drive Community Library will adjust its schedule a little differently, closing one hour later at 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and opening an hour earlier at 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Fayetteville Street Express Library and Olivia Raney Local History Library will not change their hours.

The libraries are responding to more than 40 comments in a recent customer satisfaction survey asking for longer hours, and also to comments to staff requesting both earlier and later open times.

The library system tried the extended hours just before the COVID-19 pandemic. Between September 2019 and February 2020, patrons checked out more than 26,000 library items and logged more than 3,100 Internet sessions during those two extended hours. The libraries also report more than 4,500 participants in programs starting before 10 a.m.

“The expanded hours will allow us to be more convenient to a greater number of people,” said Katrina Vernon, senior library manager for facilities and operations. “We look forward to our visitors spending even more time in our libraries.”

Wake library locations can be seen www.wakegov.com/departments-government/libraries/locations.

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Josh Shaffer is a general assignment reporter on the watch for “talkers,” which are stories you might discuss around a water cooler. He has worked for The News & Observer since 2004 and previously wrote a column about unusual people and places.

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