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Grant to boost librarys space for teens
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While libraries offer many programs for children and families, they sometimes struggle to reach the teenage crowd.

"We find that we lose teens, especially once they get that driver’s license," said Lisa MacKinney, assistant director of human resources and public relations for the Hall County Library System.

"They have other things to do," she said.

With a recent grant from the AT&T Foundation, the system hopes to keep more teens coming to the library.

The system will receive more than $7,500 to provide new computer resources at the Blackshear Place branch, located on Atlanta Highway in Oakwood.

The equipment will be housed in the new young adult area of the library, which is being developed to appeal to youth ages 11 to 18.

The grant comes through the AT&T Excelerator program, which has provided more than 2,500 technology grants since 2002. This is the first year AT&T has expanded the program into the Southeast.

MacKinney said the young adult area has "wonderful lighting" and is a "really appealing space."

The cafe-like setting will feature six brand-new computers and lounge style seating where teens can read or work on homework projects.

There also will be a table with games built into it, such as chess and checkers, and a rack displaying magazines that appeal to the age group.

"We want to make a space for them that will be appealing and fun and really encourage them both to socially network and make use of the educational resources that are available," MacKinney said.

A $2,000 grant the library already has received from the South Hall Rotary Club will help furnish the new space.

The library already is starting to get furnishings in, and is waiting on a few more pieces of equipment. MacKinney said she would like to have the new area finished by the beginning of the year.

"Our hope is if we can make a space for them, it may keep them as lifelong learners," MacKinney said. With the grant money received, "We ought to be able to do some really exciting things."