vanessa-newVanessa Remmers covers Stafford County government and schools for and The Free Lance-Star.

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Libraries to be open Sundays

Wish your kids could do their homework on Sunday at the library? Ran out of books to read, and can’t make it to your local library during their current hours?

Well, starting July 8, you’ll have more hours to get your library time in. Three libraries in the Central Rappahannock Regional Library system will have extended hours on Sundays and in the evenings. “The patrons have been asking for these to come back for two years now,” said Martha Hutzel, Porter Branch manager in North Stafford. “We’re thrilled.”

Three libraries—the downtown headquarters, along with England Run and Porter in Stafford—will be open until 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday, and from 1 to 5:30 p.m. on Sunday. Sundays used to be the regional library system’s busiest day, said deputy director Caroline Parr.

“We usually do as least as much business as we do on a whole Saturday,” Parr said. “It’s a really popular time, especially for families.”

Only the Salem Church branch, on Salem Church Road in Spotsylvania County, has been open Sundays—and Parr says it’s been slammed. When cuts were made in 2010, library staff decided to stagger evening hours at libraries, to ensure that patrons would be able to find at least one library open, though it may not be at the most convenient location.

Currently, CRRL runs its seven libraries on a budget of $10.6 million, which comes from the city of Fredericksburg, Stafford, Spotsylvania and Westmoreland counties, and the state. For fiscal 2013, the budget increases by about $390,000 to $11 million, Parr said.

The system’s first priority with the increased budget was to add the evening and Sunday hours at the three locations, at a cost of nearly $200,000. Stafford’s supervisors several times said that increasing the library’s budget would be a benefit that citizens would directly see from the fiscal 2013 budget.

Here’s the full schedule at the seven branches.