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Cooper-Siegel library adding Sunday hours

| Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, 8:58 p.m.
The Herald
Tim Park reads to his brother, Paul, at the Cooper-Siegel Library in Fox Chapel that will soon be open on Sundays. Jan Pakler | The Herald

The Cooper-Siegel Community Library will mark a new chapter in January with the main branch in Fox Chapel opening for Sunday hours.

“It has been a priority for the board since the move,” said Library Executive Director Stephanie Flom.

The library moved from a former elementary school building in O'Hara to the new $6 million facility along Fox Chapel Road earlier this year.

The site will open from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays beginning Jan. 6.

The hours are new but the idea isn't, Flom said.

The board has discussed it every couple years but extra costs made the plan not feasible.

So Flom put it on her wish list and was happily surprised with an early holiday gift.

The library was awarded a grant from the Cooper-Siegel Family Foundation to fund one year of Sunday operations.

“As an avid library user, (Fox Chapel resident) Naomi Siegel had wondered why we weren't open on Sundays and agreed that it is an important service to the community,” Flom said.

“The Cooper-Siegel Family Foundation approved a grant in November that will run one year.

“We are thrilled.”

Flom said the library board will be looking for funding from other sources to continue the service.

Money will be used specifically to pay staff hours and utility costs.

Traditionally, the library has about 207,800 visitors to the main branch.

There were 260,908 items circulated in 2011, Flom said.

She expects those numbers to climb as the idea of Sunday hours appears to be popular among patrons.

“Usually when someone who hasn't realized that we aren't open on Sundays makes a mad dash with their child to work on a school project at the last minute, they tell us about it,” Flom said.

These patrons end up at Oakmont or Shaler libraries, she said.

With the move to the new library came a renewed push to have programming parallel the “same high level as our beautiful facility,” Flom said.

She researched the plan and talked with other librarians throughout Allegheny County and found most agreed that Sundays are a busy and popular time to visit.

“Whether they come to read the Sunday New York Times, borrow books, work on homework, use the computers or play with the Thomas the Train in the Children's Room, we look forward to welcoming them,” she said.

Tawnya Panizzi is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-782-2121, ext. 2 or at tpanizzi@tribweb.com.

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