Hennepin County libraries to extend Sunday hours beginning June 1

Some people like to spend their Sundays curled up with a good book. Thanks to the new Twins Stadium, there will soon be more places for them to do just that.

Starting June 1, 13 Hennepin County libraries will extend their Sunday hours from noon to 5 p.m. – but Dinkytown’s Southeast Library won’t be one of them.

Southeast Library is currently open on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, for a total of 24 hours per week.

Eric Heideman, head librarian at Southeast, said he hopes the library can expand its hours in the future.

Southeast Library was closed for more than a year but reopened Jan. 3 following the consolidation of Hennepin County and Minneapolis public library systems.

Heideman said it would be nice to be able to extend hours, and that more weekday mornings would be useful at Southeast.

He also said traffic has slowly increased at the library since it reopened.

“Everybody in this system would like as many of the libraries as possible to be open as much as possible,” he said.

Traffic at Southeast may be slow because it was closed for so long, said Ward 3 Councilwoman Dianne Hofstede, whose ward includes Dinkytown.

Hofstede also said the merger has meant that former Minneapolis public libraries and Hennepin County libraries now compete for resources.

The Hennepin County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved the extended hours, which will be funded by excess revenue from the Twins stadium ballpark tax.

A Minnesota statute allows up to $2 million per year of excess sales tax revenue from the ballpark to add hours at Hennepin County libraries.

Although five county libraries are already open on Sunday, the extended hours will go to Minneapolis Central, Augsburg Park, Brooklyn Park, Champlin, Golden Valley, Hopkins, Oxboro, Rockford Road, St. Louis Park, Westonka, East Lake, Hosmer and North Regional libraries.

There aren’t plans to expand hours at other libraries using the stadium tax money, which is a fixed amount, said Jane Eastwood, director of external relations and partnerships for Hennepin County Libraries.

Factors such as size and location contributed to the decision to select those 13 libraries, she said.

“It all centers around how can the most people get the most services,” Eastwood said.