Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Largo Public Library will be closed on Sundays

LARGO — Andrea Tammaro and Cheyenne Richards sat at a crowded table Sunday afternoon in R.G.'s Bookmark Cafe, just inside the Largo Public Library. The two teenage girls split a chocolate chip muffin and cookie while paging through 17 books they had just checked out, most of them from the romance or fantasy genres.

Wicked: Resurrection, the third book in a series about a family of modern-day witches, sat on top of one stack, while Emerald Flame, the third entry in the Warrior Princess series of fantasy novels, topped the other stack.

Tammaro and Richards are two of about 600 people who regularly visit the Largo library on Sundays, but they will all have to rearrange their library habits next month. This Sunday is the last the library will be open, as management copes with a staff that is about one-third smaller than it was a few years ago due to budget cuts.

Library staffing has dropped from nearly 60 full-time equivalent positions in 2007 to 41 full-time equivalents in the proposed 2012 budget. The library hasn't had layoffs since 2007. This year's cut of 2.5 positions was achieved through attrition. Library Director Casey McPhee says she needs a minimum of 15 to 18 employees each day to keep the building open, and the latest round of cuts makes it impossible to stay open seven days a week.

Library hours hit a high-water mark of 69 per week in 2005 but will be down to 57 after the Sunday closure goes into effect. McPhee has lopped off hours in the evenings and mornings before this year. The library closes now at 8 p.m. instead of 9 p.m. Mondays through Wednesdays. Thursday's hours were reduced from 12 hours (9 a.m. to 9 p.m.) to eight hours (10 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

"We tried really hard not to close a day, but in this particular round of cuts we didn't have a choice," McPhee said Monday.

The library has been open from 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays and saw an average of 150 visitors per hour. Sundays are neither the busiest nor the slowest days of the week, McPhee said. Most days are pretty steady, with between 130 and 150 visitors per hour.

"We've done our homework, and we've tried to make these cuts as palatable as possible for the public," McPhee said.

That comes as little solace to Melanie Menendez, a nursing assistant from Largo. Menendez likes to start every Sunday with a walk through the park with her husband, David, and their 3-year-old daughter Melissa before heading to the library.

"We're not happy about it. I only get two days off a week," Menendez, 37, said Sunday afternoon. She had just finished looking through the library's DVD selection and was off to find a copy of the book Tuesdays with Morrie.

"I guess we'll just come on Saturdays," she said.

The steep staffing cuts are part of $734,900 in expenses the library has trimmed since 2007, according to Largo's budget office. Yet its overall budget has fallen only $218,900 during that period because other costs — for example, employee health insurance — went up.

Tammaro, 16, and Richards, 14, weren't happy to hear of the schedule change, but they seemed more annoyed that the library's cafe didn't serve frozen coffee drinks. (They settled for Dr Pepper and iced coffee.)

They said the Sunday closure probably will be more troublesome when the school year starts again, since both girls regularly use the library's computers and Internet access for homework. They said they'd adjust, but Richards, a rising freshman at Largo High School, did lament that she will have one less place to kill time on a lazy Sunday.

"If teens aren't in a library reading or checking out the Internet," she said, "they're probably out getting into trouble somewhere."

Will Hobson can be reached at (727) 445-4167 or

Largo Public Library will be closed on Sundays 06/21/11 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 21, 2011 4:41pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Trump sprinkles political attacks into Scout Jamboree speech

    GLEN JEAN, W.Va. — Ahead of President Donald Trump's appearance Monday at the National Scout Jamboree in West Virginia, the troops were offered some advice on the gathering's official blog: Fully hydrate. Be "courteous" and "kind." And avoid the kind of divisive chants heard during the 2016 campaign such as "build …

    President Donald Trump addresses the Boy Scouts of America's 2017 National Scout Jamboree at the Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, W.Va., July 24, 2017. [New York Times]
  2. Trump, seething about attorney general, speculates about firing Sessions, sources say

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has spoken with advisers about firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, as he continues to rage against Sessions' decision to recuse himself from all matters related to the Russia investigation.

  3. John McCain to return to Senate for health care vote

    WASHINGTON — The Senate plans to vote Tuesday to try to advance a sweeping rewrite of the nation's health-care laws with the last-minute arrival of Sen. John McCain — but tough talk from President Donald Trump won no new public support from skeptical GOP senators for the flagging effort that all but …

  4. Last orca calf born in captivity at a SeaWorld park dies


    ORLANDO — The last killer whale born in captivity under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program died Monday at the company's San Antonio, Texas, park, SeaWorld said.

    Thet orca Takara helps guide her newborn, Kyara, to the water's surface at SeaWorld San Antonio in San Antonio, Texas, in April. Kyara was the final killer whale born under SeaWorld's former orca-breeding program. The Orlando-based company says 3-month-old Kyara died Monday. [Chris Gotshall/SeaWorld Parks & Entertainment via AP]
  5. Blake Snell steps up, but Rays lose to Orioles anyway (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Blake Snell stepped up when he had to Monday and delivered an impressive career-high seven-plus innings for the Rays. That it wasn't enough in what ended up a 5-0 loss to the Orioles that was their season-high fifth straight is symptomatic of the mess they are in right now.

    Tim Beckham stands hands on hips after being doubled off first.