Monday was the first day of extended hours at three branches of the Beaufort County Library system.
Beaufort, Bluffton and Hilton Head Island branches will now be open 50 hours a week, up from 40 hours, improving access on weekends and Saturdays at the system's three most-visited locations, according to library system director Wlodeck Zaryczny.
The three branches will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 1 to 5 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays, according to the system's website. The branches will remain closed on Sundays.
Hours at the system's St. Helena Island and Lobeco locations remain unchanged.
The county is hiring more than a dozen additional employees to help staff the extended hours, Zaryczny has said.
For the past six months, confusion has riddled discussions of the library's budget and whether it contained enough money to afford extra staff and extended hours.
Ultimately, county staff confirmed there was enough money for the extension in the $3.9 million library budget approved by County Council in June and authorized Zaryczny to hire more employees.
However, the hiring process has gone slowly, particularly for two positions that are professional-level coordinators and managers, which are more difficult to find, Zaryczny has said. The library is advertising in state and national professional journals to aid in that search, he added.
Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.