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Survey results help library spend money

Director balances less state funds and new North Hall branch on the way

POSTED: November 25, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Sara Guevara/The Times

Natalie Bowen, 8, a second-grader at Centennial Arts Academy, takes a look at shelf of books Friday at the Hall County Library's main branch in Gainesville.

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With a new library on the horizon, Hall County Library Director Adrian Mixson said the library system has been listening to what people like and what they would like to see added to the county’s libraries.

If approved, the upcoming SPLOST VI has $3 million set aside to build a new library in North Hall.

SPLOST, or Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax, is a 1 cent sales tax that raises money specifically for capital projects and improvements within the county. A SPLOST typically lasts for five years, and the upcoming SPLOST will be the sixth one in Hall County. It will be on the ballot March 17.

Mixson said the Hall County Library System has not yet selected a location for the new North Hall facility, but the new library would replace the Clermont branch.

Mixson said the area has outgrown the small Clermont library, which is housed in what Mixson described as a "double wide (trailer) from 30 years ago."

Mixson expects the North Hall Library will cost a total of about $5 million to build, with $3 million from SPLOST and the remaining $2 million from a number of other sources that have not yet been determined.

The recently completed Spout Springs Library in South Hall was built using funds from the last SPLOST.

The large facility features a coffee shop, quiet reading areas and meeting rooms.

Mixson does not know if the North Hall Library will be built on the same scale.

"I’m prepared to do whatever the county leaders and the library board ask of me," Mixson said. "I don’t think it’s going to be the same scale as South Hall ... but it’ll be a nice building," Mixson said.

Mixson said the library system is using the results of a recent online survey to gauge what people want in the new library and also to prioritize purchases.

"We’re using the survey as part of our ... planning process," Mixson said. "Most certainly said they wanted a new Clermont library."

Among other top requests from the survey were more popular books.

The Hall County Library System will receive $38,000 less from the state to buy books than they received last year.

"We just took the losses," Mixson said. "We can survive with that, we just buy a few less books."

Mixson said the libraries will prioritize by spending money on the books people use most.

"We’re emphasizing our popular literature right now. We’re trying to acquire more of those high-use items, the best-sellers," Mixson said.

He said they will keep up with children’s books, which are very popular, as well.

People also reported in the survey that they frequently use library computers.

"The Internet is popular," Mixson said. "We see a lot more people in here using the Internet than before."



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