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Hall Library system needs teens for advisory board

POSTED: January 16, 2012 1:30 a.m.
SCOTT ROGERS/The Times

Elizabeth Kimsey, 13, uses one of the computers in the teen room of the Spout Springs Library Friday afternoon. The Hall County Library System Teen Advisory Board needs youths in sixth through 12th grade ti give their input.

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The Hall County Library System is planning to borrow ideas from younger patrons to boost program satisfaction.

In an effort to provide the best possible user-experience for youth, the system has decided to launch a systemwide Teen Advisory Board.

"Our motivation for starting this board was that we didn’t feel like our teens were being adequately served. Our goal is to find out what teens want from the library," said Katy Hendricks, Youth Services director at Spout Springs.

"We feel like the best programs are ones that are user driven. Teen interests are harder to gauge, so we want to hear directly from them about what they like and dislike."

The system is currently accepting applications for the board, which is open to sixth- through 12th-grade students.

The board’s first meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Jan. 26 at the Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch. In addition to brainstorming ideas, the meeting will include refreshments from Chick-fil-A.

Although the inaugural meeting is being held in south Hall County, Hendricks says that isn’t the permanent home.

"We will also be meeting at the main branch in Gainesville; we’ll probably alternate sites," Hendricks said.

"Our meeting locations will have a lot to do with the representation we get. We want this board to reflect the entire library system, not just south Hall."

Applications will be accepted as long as there’s interest.

"Our target for the board is about 10 teens, but if we have more, we certainly won’t turn anyone away," Hendricks said.

"We don’t want to have a huge board, but we do want to have a good representation of teens with different interests."

Teen advisory boards have worked for other systems, so Hendricks says Hall is hoping to have the same amount of success.

"Today’s teens are more civic-minded and anxious to become involved in their community," Hendricks said.

"We are really looking forward to working with our teens."

The board will be doing things like helping plan events, fundraising and volunteering with various library activities.

A member of the board will also be appointed as a nonvoting member of the Library Board of Directors in December.

"The board will also help us choose materials for the library. Whether that be books, movies, video games or other materials," Hendricks said.

"We don’t know if we’re choosing the right things for them. We make our best educated guess based on reviews and things, but they know what they like better than we do.

"The library belongs to teens just as much as it belongs to the adults and our other patrons, so we want to be sure they get just as much enjoyment out of it."



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