Library Hours Pilot

New Schedule Beginning January 2024

A new schedule of operating hours for the Lake Bluff Public Library will go into effect beginning January 1, 2024:

  • Monday: 10AM – 6PM
  • Tuesday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Wednesday: 10AM – 6PM
  • Thursday: 10AM – 9PM
  • Friday: 10AM – 5PM
  • Saturday: 10AM – 5PM
  • Sunday: Closed

Read the letter from Library Director Renee Grassi explaining this change. This letter originally appeared in the Winter 2023-2024 issue of Off the Shelf.

Read our FAQs to learn more about this change. 

Take the Hours Pilot Survey

Complete the Library’s online survey about the Hours Pilot. Data from this three-question survey will help us understand the impact of the pilot and the needs of the community. The survey will be open through May 31, 2024. Paper copies will also be available at the Library.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Why did the Library change its hours?
A: The last three years have provided many opportunities for the Library to reevaluate its service model to best support the needs of the community and the organization. The most influential factors that contributed to this decision were budget constraints and low visit count. The Library was also able to install new technology in October, 2023 that allowed us to gather statistics about building traffic, which gave Library Management and the Board new information in evaluating its schedule of hours. The Library also experienced several critical staffing needs that provided an opportunity to rethink our service model. The Board was presented with a variety of data and feedback at the November 2023 Board meeting and after discussion, they unanimously voted to approve this pilot. The Library Director's presentation to the Board of Trustees and the discussion of the hours pilot can be viewed on the recording of the November 2023 Regular Board Meeting.

Q: How long will the pilot last?
A: 6 months until June 30, 2024. Throughout this period, the Library will evaluate staff capacity, building visit count statistics, and community feedback to determine next steps. At the end of the pilot, the Director and the Board may decide to add hours back into the schedule, remove further hours, or leave the hours as-is. Whatever the direction, the Library will ensure to communicate about the results of the pilot broadly.

Q: How many staff does the Library have? Will there be a reduction in staffing because of this change? 
A: Lake Bluff Public Library has 6 full time employees, including the Library Director, and 16 part time employees. No; there will not be a reduction in staffing and no library employees will lose their job because of this change. Staff hours will be redistributed into the workweek, which will allow the Library to be more fully staffed and provide better customer service during its new hours of operation.

Q: Will this pilot save the Library money? What other benefits will the Library gain from this change? 
A: Yes, this pilot will save the Library money. In addition to expected savings in operational costs and utilities keeping the building open, this change will allow the organization to support a more robust staffing model during times when staff leave is necessary, rather than expend additional funds and put additional strain on the current staffing model. Lake Bluff Public Library is a small organization with limited staffing and budget constraints, compared to our peer libraries on the North Shore. Reducing hours of operation will require less staff to manage the desk and provide direct customer service, which frees up time for managers to accomplish important projects pertaining to safety, building and grounds, technology, and long-range planning that have been on hold.

Q: What metrics will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of this pilot? 
A: Analyzing statistics, such as visit count during winter, spring and early summer, will help the Library learn about usage trends and community need. The Library will also consider how many, if any, library programs are cancelled due to critical staffing situations and evaluate improvements in staff capacity as a result of this change. The Library Director and the Board of Trustees will also gather qualitative data from the community through feedback forms, emails, online surveys, and conversations with residents.

Q: Will this affect the availability of the Library’s programs and services? 
A: The Library has had to make the difficult decision to cancel many programs in recent months due to critical staffing needs. During this time, library service desks have also not been fully staffed with the appropriate number of employees to maintain service standards and building safety. We have already had to significantly reduce the availability of passport appointments and notary services this year due to staffing challenges. With this pilot, the Library will have more flexibility in staffing to support programming and services. The Library hopes to avoid cancelling programs whenever possible and return to full capacity in customer service at the desks. And the new schedule of hours will allow us to offer passport and notary services more consistently and with less strain on staff. 

Q: If I need to use library services, but the Lake Bluff Public Library building is closed, what can I do? 
A: Your library card already provides you with 24/7 service to our online catalog and your online library account. Visit our website to search for books and place holds from the comfort of your couch. We also provide free 24/7 access to a variety of online resources. At any time of the day, cardholders can download digital materials on Libby, Hoopla, Kanopy, Bookflix, and Flipster. Lake Bluff Library cards provide free access to in-demand online resources, such as Consumer Reports, LinkedIn Learning, ProQuest, and Mango Languages. Because of downloadable, online and app-based services like the ones we provide, modern public libraries are so much more than what is housed in their buildings. In addition, your Lake Bluff Public Library card can be used at any other Illinois public library as part of a service called “reciprocal borrowing.” Simply bring your physical card with you on a visit to another Illinois library, ask to register your card as a reciprocal borrower, and you will be given privileges to check out materials at that library.

To share feedback, ask a question, or send a message about the pilot, please email Renee Grassi, Library Director.