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Hall’s mobile library ready to hit the road
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A $10,000 grant from Jackson EMC will allow the Hall County Library System to construct and operate a "pop-up" mobile library for use at public events and to reach out to underserved neighborhoods. Pictured, left to right: Mark Pettitt, chairman of the library board of trustees; Lisa MacKinney, library director; and David Lee with Jackson EMC.

A pop-up mobile library will soon be making the rounds thanks to a $10,000 grant the Hall County Library System recently received from Jackson EMC.

“We were fortunate to get it,” said Mark Pettitt, chairman of the Hall County Library Board of Trustees.

The “open-air” traveling library will be available for use at public events, school socials and to serve areas of the county that may not be located near a brick-and-mortar library branch.

It’s just the latest in a string of good news for local libraries as funding bounces back from years of budget cuts.

Last month, state lawmakers approved $2 million to support the planned renovation of the downtown Gainesville branch.

“We really have come a long way ... now we’re building it back,” Pettitt said.

The $4 million project to add space, expand programs and upgrade research capabilities will also be funded with special purpose local option sales tax, impact fees on new development locally and a capital fundraising campaign soon to launch.

“We feel really good,” Pettitt said. “Now we’re looking forward to moving some walls.”

The pop-up library, meanwhile, will be equipped with Wi-Fi, staffed with a librarian and allow users access to the system’s online materials, books on hand and even distribute library cards for new sign-ups.

The grant is funded by Jackson’s Operation Round Up program, which allows customers to voluntary have their electric bill rounded up to the next whole dollar amount to serve charitable causes.

Jackson officials said the pop-up library allows the entire library system to “expand their community outreach, creating more awareness and use of the library’s materials.”

Pettitt said that while the mobile branch is not yet ready, he’s “already getting requests” for its use.

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