Beebe Library Sees Heavy Use on First Sunday
By all accounts, Beebe Library’s first Sunday being open for business was an unqualified success.
“An auspicious beginning on a glorious day,” was how Library Director Sharon Gilley described it. With the exception of Veterans’ Day and Easter, the library will now be open every Sunday 1-5 p.m. until June.
No fewer than 354 people came through the library doors last Sunday, the first day of the library’s new Sunday schedule. At 89, the per-hour traffic count for Sunday was 34 percent higher than Saturday’s average of 59 people per hour.
“There were people waiting at both doors when we opened on Sunday,” Gilley observed. “An hour and a half after opening, I did a walkabout. Every computer in the Reference area was occupied with people ranging in age from children to seniors. There were eleven people studying in the Quiet Study Room - a high total at any time of the week.
“In the Gold Room, all computers were in use. There was a pair of people working together at a table and a reader in a lounge chair. On the Upper Level, both computers were being used and three of the five study carrels were occupied.”
Gilley also saw the Youth Room bustling with activity last Sunday. A tutor and a student were busy in the Young Adult area, where both computers were also in use. At least 25 kids and parents were in the Children’s area, according to Gilley, and all but three of the computers were being used.
Last Sunday afternoon, Gilley found herself experiencing a familiar feeling.
“I remember exiting the Avon St. door around twilight the first Monday we opened after the 1998 renovation,” Gilley said. “At Town Meeting, some people had said the community didn't need public computers because everyone had one at work or at home. Some people thought a library building itself was passé.
“But as I left the building that first day,” she remembered, “I passed people coming in. Through the window I could see that every single Reference computer was occupied and people were moving about in front of the reference desk. And I wondered where all these people had been up until then. People had moved right in and rearranged the furniture to their liking and acted like they owned the place.
“I went home deeply satisfied then,” Gilley recalled last Sunday, “and I've got that same feeling today.”