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Hall library board to take another look at branch hours
Board members to revisit issue at Jan. 22 meeting
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Lauren Tennyson, Spout Springs library assistant of youth services, works at her desk in the children’s section at the South Hall branch Wednesday afternoon. The Hall County Library System’s board will soon be deciding on operating hours at its branches and whether to continue a Saturday rotation of the Spout Springs and North Hall branches. - photo by Scott Rogers | The Times

Library hours

Blackshear Place branch: Noon-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday
Gainesville branch: Noon-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday
Murrayville branch: Noon-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday
North Hall Community and Technology Center: Noon-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the second and fourth Saturdays of the month
Spout Springs branch: Noon-8 p.m. Monday and Thursday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. the first and third Saturdays of the month

Source: Hall County Library System

The Hall County Library Board plans to revisit operating hours at its branches at its Jan. 22 meeting, but patrons shouldn’t expect officials to push for changes.

“My recommendation is to leave hours alone,” said Adrian Mixson, director of the Hall County Library System.

“Consensus from staff is (that) constantly changing hours was as confusing as floating weekends and flip-flopping days and nights,” he said, referring to past scheduling moves.

“I do not see us adding any additional hours at this time and if we forced people to work every weekend and night, we would not keep anybody.”

Making ends meet has been particularly challenging for the library system during the economic downturn, forcing officials to scale back hours and cut staff by 30 percent.

The system eliminated weekend hours starting Sept. 1, but soon after reconsidered the move.

Since Oct. 15, the Spout Springs branch at 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch, has been open the first and third Saturdays of the month. And the North Hall Community and Technology Center at 4175 Nopone Road has been open every second and fourth Saturday.

Also, the main branch at 127 Main St., Gainesville, just off the downtown square, is open every Saturday. The Blackshear Place branch in Oakwood and the Murrayville branch are closed on Saturdays.

Saturday hours at the three open locations are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Since the Saturday adjustment, “nothing has changed (with personnel),” Mixson said. “We have no more bodies. If you go into any of our facilities, you will not recognize most of the faces at the circulation desk. They are new.

“Right now, we are struggling through the flu bug, hoping we (don’t have to close) a facility because we do not have the staff to operate it.”

Angela Glowcheski, branch manager at the Spout Springs library, said the Saturday rotation started slow but picked up over time.

“I think people are catching on and realizing that we are here ... and we’ve done a lot to let people know the Saturdays we are open,” she said.

One thing that’s certain, Glowcheski added, is “the people who come in on Saturdays are thrilled we are here.”

April Kunis, a South Hall resident visiting the Spout Springs branch Wednesday with her 4-year-old twin daughters and 8-year-old son, said she thinks “it’s sad” the library system has to be so restrictive with hours.

“We come here at least once a week ... and they’ve got some great programs for the kids,” Kunis said.

“We’re just trying to teach them to be involved with and enthusiastic about reading. Doing the work that I do, I know that (library services) also are important to other people in the community.”

Kunis is a child and family therapist.

She said she also understands the library system’s financial pressures.

“It’s a hard situation and you have to do what you’ve got to do,” Kunis said.

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