NPL Starts New Year with New Hours at Nichols

Patrons read the comics at Nichols Library. Beginning Jan. 5, the library’s new hours will be from 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays. Photo submitted by Naperville Public LibraryPatrons at Nichols Library are counting down to more reading time in the new year as the Naperville Public Library has planned to open the downtown facility four additional hours on Sundays.

The library’s new hours will be from 1 to 9 p.m. Sundays beginning Jan. 5. Nichols Library, which used to be open until 5 p.m. on Sundays, conducted a pilot experiment last March to determine if extended hours were necessary.

Executive Director Julie Rothenfluh said library staff assessed door counts, circulation numbers, reference question totals as well as study room and carrel popularity. She said the library also analyzed customer satisfaction surveys.

“They all indicate people want more hours,” Rothenfluh said. “When we started doing the pilot, we received comment cards on a weekly basis. We had a lot of positive feedback.”

During the three-month pilot program, library staff determined there was a definite need to be open later on Sundays, especially during the school year.

“A lot of students come for that homework help,” Rothenfluh said, adding that in addition to high school students many students visit the library from the nearby North Central College.

The origin of the Sunday hour expansion plan stems from a past City of Naperville budget workshop at which council members inquired what it would cost for the library to be open additional hours. Rothenfluh said having extended hours on Sundays was not budgeted, but the library managed to fit it in.

“The supervisors did a good job of rearranging staff so that we could offer additional hours without additional funding,” Rothenfluh said.

The pilot program indicated the demand for more hours tapered off at the end of the school year, so Nichols Library will not have additional hours in the summer. The additional hours will run through May 18 and then pick back up Sept. 7.