Now that Memorial Day has marked the unofficial start to summer, the Cambridge Public Library will be taking a vacation of its own. Beginning last weekend and running through mid-October, the main branch at 449 Broadway will be officially closed on Sundays.
Last fall, the Mid-Cambridge Neighborhood Association drafted a petition with over 1,000 signatures protesting this puzzling policy, ultimately to no avail.
Frustrated students lament the loss of valuable resources that are often vital during finals week, which is quickly approaching for schools still in session. Parents with day jobs no longer have the option to attend family activities that were typically scheduled for Sundays, when those who work during the week have the majority of their free time. On top of that, individuals without Internet access and air conditioning will lose the precious ability to read, research and relax in the comfort of the newly renovated 90 million dollar project.
According to the Cambridge Public Library Staff Association, Sundays are not considered regular workdays for employees, who receive time-and-a-half pay or double the hours in compensatory time for volunteering their services on days off. It seems odd, too, that the branch is staffed on Sundays for the first half of the year, then closes shop when it seems residents need it the most.
Now that the city’s budgeting process has begun, the Library Association’s contract is up for renewal and City Councilor Minka vanBeuzekom has submitted an official request to the city manager regarding the potential extension of Sunday hours year-round with the help of seven co-sponsors on May 21st. No news regarding the outcome just yet, but we’re hoping the CPL will respect these requests and agree to provide the Sunday service its loyal patrons deserve. –Alessia Antonucc