None of the branches of the Brooklyn Public Library, and almost none of the branches of the New York Public Library, are open on Sunday. This is some bullshit. There is of course first of all the same problem working adults have with places like banks and the post office — the weekends are when we have time to run errands, for the most part, or else evenings aren’t exactly convenient — but mostly I’m thinking, as always, of the children.
Obviously I’m writing this as someone whose mother used to drop him off in the children’s section of the Prince Memorial Library in Cumberland, Maine whenever she had errands to run and couldn’t find anyone to watch him (thus sparking a lifelong affection for Tintin), but it strikes me that the library could be a really important community resource, if we’d only let it. Parents who are busy on Sundays, as many are, especially ones who work hard for not much money, need a place where their kids can be, and I don’t see why your local public library couldn’t be at least as helpful as a neighborhood church in providing (free of charge) childcare in a stimulating and positively reinforcing environment. These kids, whose parents are often not around, are the ones most in need of additional inducements towards a life of literacy; it seems like age-appropriate reading groups and supervised browsing would be right up there with the best thing a kid could possibly do on a Sunday, and I would imagine, or at least hope, that there would be no shortage of volunteers willing to give up a couple hours to make sure that kids aren’t running around yelling and burning the place down, and are reading or getting read to. (Yes, I’m volunteering.) Write your city councilperson, I think.