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Hall Book Exchange celebrates 25th year by promoting literacy
Ashley Bailey, a student at Gainesville State College, takes part in the 24-hour Read-A-Thon held Friday and Saturday at Hall Book Exchange. The event benefitted the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy.

The owner of the Hall Book Exchange celebrated the store’s 25th anniversary by holding a 24-hour Read-A-Thon to benefit a local literacy group.

Local authors and community members participated in the Read-A-Thon that went from 5 p.m. Friday to 5 p.m. Saturday.

"It’s benefitting the Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy," said Dorothy Shinafelt, the executive director of the alliance. "People get pledges to read for an hour. Our longest was nine-and-half hours."

Myra Meade, owner of Hall Book Exchange, has said she would like to make the Read-A-Thon an annual event.

Groups of students from Gainesville State College and Lanier Career Academy also participated in the Read-A-Thon, with about 30 students from the academy participating.

"We had 63 readers since 5 p.m. (Friday)," Shinafelt said. "We will probably have over 70 at the end of the day."

Gainesville State students Jessica Sargent and Ashley Bailey were among some of the participants in the Read-A-Thon.

"Our Education Club is donating money for us to come out and participate," said Sargent. "It’s relaxing, and it helps out other people at the same time."

"It helps out," said Bailey. "It’s a whole 24 hours, and the atmosphere is very nice and relaxing."

Several local authors such as Malcolm R. Campbell and Jonathan Krohn shared their books during the Read-A-Thon. The authors also will give some of the proceeds from their books sales to the Alliance for Literacy.

The Gainesville-Hall County Alliance for Literacy, a partner agency with United Way, is a organization that deals with illiteracy concerns.

"Our primary concern is adult literacy," said Shinafelt. "We’re the advisory for the Adult Center that offers free education classes in basic literacy, English as a second language and GED programs."

According to statistics from the 2000 U.S. Census, 29.9 percent of adults older than 25 in Hall County have less than a high school education level.

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