Point Loma Library to restore Sunday hours this weekend

Sunday hours will be restored at the Point Loma/Hervey Library this weekend.
(Elisabeth Frausto)

The Point Loma/Hervey Library is among 14 branches of the San Diego public library system that will restore Sunday hours this weekend after three years of scaled-back service.

The Point Loma branch at 3701 Voltaire St. will be open Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m., as well as 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays and Tuesdays and 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays.

The Ocean Beach Library at 4801 Santa Monica Ave. will remain closed on Sundays, with the same hours as Point Loma the rest of the week.

A recent hiring spree made the long-awaited return of Sunday hours possible at the 14 branches, and city library hours won’t face any possible cuts in the proposed budget that Mayor Todd Gloria is scheduled to unveil Friday, April 14, for the new fiscal year that begins July 1, head librarian Misty Jones said this week.

Library hours have been on the chopping block several times in recent years, including Gloria’s proposal two years ago to cut them by 23 percent citywide by eliminating all Sunday and Monday service.

The other branches getting Sunday hours are downtown San Diego, Pacific Beach, La Jolla, Valencia Park, Logan Heights, City Heights, Mira Mesa, Otay Mesa, Mission Valley, Carmel Valley, Serra Mesa, Rancho Bernardo and North University.

That became possible when Jones was able to quickly fill 44 entry-level library assistant jobs with some of the 209 people who submitted applications at the city’s first career fair March 22 in Balboa Park.

The career fair — during which the city got 2,300 total job applications and conducted more than 1,300 interviews — helped reduce the library’s vacancy rate from nearly 25 percent to less than 12 percent, Jones said.

The remaining 84 vacant positions among the library’s 726 total jobs include only 38 that deal directly with the public, Jones said. Most of those are unfilled part-time positions in the city’s Do Your Homework @ the Library program, she said.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Jones and Gloria decided to use library closures as an opportunity to make a significant long-term change in staffing, replacing hourly, part-time positions with jobs that have benefits.

The goal was reducing turnover, which had been roughly 30 percent among hourly employees before the pandemic.

But the process didn’t go smoothly. Jones had hoped to restore Sunday service last spring, but efforts to fill vacancies were much more complex and time-consuming than anticipated — until the career fair.

In addition to the new hires, the career fair provided a long list of quality candidates when openings arise, Jones said.

She said it’s exciting to have Sunday hours finally restored.

“This is our last step to get back to pre-pandemic levels,” she said. “We want to thank all of our patrons for their cooperation and patience.”

Patrick Stewart, chief executive of the San Diego Library Foundation, praised the return of Sunday hours and the mayor’s decision not to propose any cuts to hours in his budget.

“The Library Foundation is pleased that the mayor continues to recognize the importance of our libraries,” Stewart said. “Access to library resources are a lifeline for many San Diegans.”

— Point Loma-OB Monthly staff contributed to this report.


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