The Rockland Public Library will likely remain open on Sunday afternoons.

City councilors were in agreement at their May 16 meeting that money should be put back into the proposed 2011-2012 municipal budget to keep the Sunday hours for the library. The city manager’s proposed budget eliminated the money.

The library is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays except for when there is a Monday holiday.

“To me, the library is the heart of the community,” said Councilor Elizabeth Dickerson.

Councilor William Clayton said while he understands the need to cut the budget, this proposal went too far.

“We’re cutting into the bone now,” Clayton said.

Librarian Amy Levine noted that the use of the library continues to increase and cited the importance of the facility to the city.

“Rockland deserves better than this,” Levine said of the proposed elimination of Sunday hours.

A majority of councilors also voiced support for adding back in money to allow the library to extend the hours on Monday into the evenings. The library closes at 5 p.m. on Mondays.

The overall library budget as proposed by City Manager Rosemary Kulow is $586,261 for 2011-2012. This represents a 2.3 percent increase ($12,953) from the approved 2010-2011 budget. Personnel costs account for the bulk of the proposed expenditures at more than $400,000. The budget for books is $47,000 with another $4,000 for magazines.

Keeping Sunday hours would add about $5,000 to the budget.

The council has been reviewing the budget for the past three weeks. The budget review process continues 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 18 when councilors will review departments such as recreation and legal.

The council is scheduled to consider preliminary adoption of the overall city budget 6 p.m. Wednesday, May 25 at city hall.