TOWNSEND -- On Sunday, a slightly different crowd uses the library. Some are people who work during the week and are busy running errands in the evenings and on Saturday. Others are students, scrambling to complete assignments before the school bell rings Monday morning.

For years, an anonymous donor paid the expenses to open the library on Sunday during the winter. This year, if the library was going to offer those extra four hours a week, it was up to them to raise the funds.

The Friends of the Townsend Public Library took responsibility. And an innovative campaign asking businesses to sponsor one Sunday opening at a cost of $300 was a resounding success.

The library will be open 15 Sundays, from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., Jan. 5 through April 13. The original goal was to raise funds for 12 Sundays.

"People are very excited to have the Sunday hours again. Everyone we tell is very excited," said Library Director Stacy Schuttler.

"It's nice. I love the Sunday hours myself," she said. By Sunday afternoon, many are settling down after a busy weekend and relaxing before the week starts. Curling up with a book is just the thing."

Not all library patrons are laid back on Sunday, though. "We have had some desperate students. They need a place to come," Schuttler said.

The Friends kicked off the campaign by writing a letter to members of the Townsend Business Association and approaching organizations in town. An article in the Townsend Times helped spread the word.


"People were talking it up," Schuttler said.

Library patrons wanted to help, too. Most could not afford the $300 price tag so the Friends placed collection jars at the circulation desks in the adult and children's library.

One woman donated $100. The final tally for the cans was $651, enough for the Friends to pay for two Sundays, with money left over.

The library will thank the Sunday benefactors by printing the donors' names on all check-out receipts and featuring a book display related to the business during the week of the sponsorship. A link to the website or Facebook page of each business will be on the library website. Bookmarks and signs will also show the business names.

The extra hours give the library a chance to offer additional programming. "We're in the process of planning. We plan on having something every Sunday," Schuttler said.

Events are starting to come into place. Columnist and talk show host Howie Carr will discuss his books on Whitey Bulger and do a signing on Jan. 12. The annual cupcake festival is scheduled for Jan. 26.

Sunday programs are popular. Last year, the Indian Hill Big Band played at the library on a Sunday afternoon. The library was officially closed, the books and computers from the central area tucked away to create a stage and seating area filled with listeners.

The librarians, there to enjoy the concert, fell into their more traditional role. "We had people coming in trying to check out books in the middle of the concert. They really needed them. They were so happy we got them for them," Schuttler said.

The donors are: Anonymous, Concord Cheese Shop, Dee Bus Service Inc. (2 weeks), Ducharme & Dillis Civil Design Group, Inc. (2 weeks), Friends of the Townsend Public Library (2 weeks), Great Road Automotive, McNabb Pharmacy, McNabb Home Health Care, Portraitefx by Wallace Hill Studios, Radio Engineering Associates, Townsend Business Association and Townsend Couples Club.

"I'm proud that people stepped forward and wanted to help fund the extra hours. They found it important enough," Schuttler said.