LAWRENCE —The city cheered the reopening Saturday with a ribbon cutting and day of activities.
Lawrence now joins the majority of Massachusetts cities with main libraries that serve patrons on Saturday and Sunday, said Jessica Vilas Novas, who became Lawrence's library director three years ago.
The 2008 recession led to staffing cuts that only now have been restored, she said. The library has approval to hire three full-time and four part-time employees, the director said.
Saturday's celebration included mini-golf among the second floor bookcases, children's story time, a scavenger hunt, technology demonstrations and alphabetical bookmarks that point, in Spanish and English, to what you can do at the library.
Invited guests included the mayor, the Board of Library Commissioners office, the director of the Merrimack Valley Library Consortium, city and state officials and the public. Flyers went out to the district's school children.
The resumption of weekend hours will boost book and media circulation and library use. What's most important is the library will be accessible to more working people and school children, the director said.
"A core public library value is equitable access, and now we can be true to that by being open at our main library at a time when most people are available," Vilas Novas said.
Previously, the much smaller library branch in South Lawrence was the only library option on weekends in Lawrence.
The main library, 51 Lawrence St., is now open Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Lawrence branch library, 135 Parker St., is open Monday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (closed weekends).
In keeping with the equitable access philosophy, the Lawrence library has eliminated fines for overdue books; the fine-free approach took effect this weekend.
Other libraries in the area have taken this approach, as well.