Timberland Regional Library increases branch hours

Beginning Sept. 2, the Timberland Regional Library system is adding 58 more service hours per week across its five-county district.

“Libraries are at the heart of healthy communities,” said Timberland Library director Cheryl Heywood. “They have one simple mission: to serve the public.”

In Thurston County, it means that most branches — including Olympia, Lacey and Tumwater — will be able to stay open an hour later on Fridays, according to Timberland spokeswoman R.J. Burt.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Lacey Timberland Library patron Matthew Lheureux, 26, of Lacey. “This is my place of peace.”

The biggest change will occur at the Tenino branch, which is increasing from 31 hours of service time per week to 36 hours. The additional time will allow the library to open at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m. every day it’s open, Burt said.

The increased hours will not have an additional cost, officials say. That’s because the district is “shifting people and duties into longer open hours and reducing the amount of work done while libraries are closed,” a news release states.

The district’s decision was in response to feedback from community meetings and online surveys, according to Burt.

Lacey Timberland Library is one of the busiest branches in the district, and there’s usually a line of people waiting to get in when it opens every day, Burt said.

Library patron Lisa Lewton said she enjoys bringing her 21-month-old daughter Avrie to the Lacey branch to explore its children’s area, which features kid friendly books, blocks, puzzles and other toys.

“Every time I’ve been here, it’s been super busy,” said Lewton, 40, of Olympia. “It’s super popular.”

Library patron Nanako Lawrence of Thurston County said she’s happy the district is expanding its service time, but wishes the extra hours could have have been spread out differently.

“It would be nice if they could open up on Sundays for a couple of hours,” Lawrence said.

Still, she’s able to visit the library several times a week with its current schedule.

“I just love coming here,” Lawrence said. “Meeting people, getting books and DVDs. The staff is very nice.”