To our patrons and friends,
You have likely seen the social media post or WBOC article/story about the hours change for both library branches. Please know that this was not a decision that was made lightly. There were multiple factors behind this change, but the most important thing to remember is that this is temporary.
Lately, staffing shortages have forced us to cancel programs and unexpectedly close both branches of the library at an increasing rate. Those closures have led to inconsistent operational hours and services.
In order to provide the highest quality customer service and programs, we drew upon our patrons’ and community’s input and the rapidly changing landscape of public library services to determine potential hours of operation.
This began with a look at scheduling options that could be consistently maintained and that were based on the hours when the library branches were most used. This initially looked like the modification of four hours at the Cambridge Branch and 11 at the Hurlock Branch.
Unfortunately, an increase in incidents at the Cambridge Branch also took place at this time, requiring the staff and Board of Trustees to make the best possible decision for everyone’s safety. Because some of these incidents are creating an unsafe environment, on Wednesday, November 15, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously to adopt a temporary 9-5 schedule for the Cambridge location.
The new hours begin on Dec. 4, but the library is already taking the next steps to ensure patron safety. In the upcoming weeks, I will be meeting with Cambridge Police Chief Todd to discuss how to return the library to being a safe environment.
We also just signed a contract to have a new security system installed at the Cambridge location as early as December. The Hurlock Branch’s security system was upgraded last year.
It is our hope that with the start of the new year, we are already beginning to discuss operational hours that best meet the community’s changing needs.
For now, we must ask for the community’s understanding and support. For updated information, please contact the Cambridge Branch at (410) 228-7331 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Hurlock Branch at (410) 943-4331 or email@example.com, or through the library’s social media accounts.
Director, Dorchester County Public Library