SUNNY HILLS – The possible closing of the library in Sunny Hills has been a hot topic since March. Low patronage and the high cost of running the branch, the feasibility of keeping it open has been called into question.

The branch opened seven years ago, but Washington County Library System Director Renae Rountree reports the branch “has never really taken off.” On average, the branch only sees about 100 patrons each month. Those low numbers don’t really justify the $8,000 to $14,000 annual price tag.

Residents maintain the reason behind the low patronage numbers are due to hours not being conducive to the communities needs. Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rountree was directed by the Washington County Board of County Commissioners to find the most cost effective ways to extend hours and man the branch in order to conduct a patronage study over the first quarter of the coming fiscal year.

The hours of operation are to be:

• MONDAY - 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

• TUESDAY - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed for lunch 12-1

• WEDNESDAY - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed for lunch 12-1

• THURSDAY - 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. closed for lunch 12-1

• FRIDAY – 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The branch will be open 36 hours a week at a $3,000 quarterly cost to the county.

At the end of the quarter Rountree will bring the numbers back before the board to determine the course of action on the library’s future.

“As a librarian, the last thing we want to do is close a library,” said Rountree. “We are making a last ditch effort to avoid that happening.”