- Associated Press - Sunday, June 14, 2015

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - A 12-year-old Sioux Falls girl has helped convince the city’s library system to open its doors on Sundays during the summer.

Rachida Mahamed went to the downtown library on a Sunday a year ago and found it wasn’t open, the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1diZO9V ) reported. At the time, Siouxland Libraries were closed on Sunday from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend.

In the parking lot that day, Rachida met Cathy Brechtelsbauer, who also didn’t realize the library was closed. She encouraged Rachida to voice her thoughts on library hours at the City Council meeting the next week, so she went and proposed a change.

“I think pretty much every day should be a reading day,” Rachida told the newspaper.

The change in hours, which library director Mary Johns said officials were already considering, went into effect in late May. On the first Sunday in which the change went into effect, more than two dozen people waited in the parking lot of the main branch for the doors to open. All five branches are now open Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. during the summer.

The additional hours won’t impact the library financially, Johns said, but they will have an effect on local readers.

“I can tell you that every library where I’ve worked, those four hours on Sunday were four of the busiest hours of the week. That’s pretty much a given,” Johns said.

Rachida developed her love of reading and English skills at Lowell Elementary School, after moving from Cameroon to the United States as a 7-year-old. Rachida credits her third-grade teacher Karissa Fischer, who’s now an instructional coach, with helping to spark that passion for learning.

“My teacher was really helpful,” she said. “It’s important to read. It helps with school and stuff.”

Rachida frequently stays up until midnight reading during the summer, she said. Her favorite series is the Junie B. Jones books written by Barbara Park.

“I can read all day,” Rachida said. “I have nothing to do but read.”

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Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com


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