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North Hall library branch now open for public use
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Brittany Dyer, right, and Hannah Countiss play a game on an Xbox 360 on Wednesday inside the North Hall Community and Technology Center.

The newest Hall County library branch is making do with what it has, pushing book carts and metal tables together to make a circulation desk until the real one can be delivered.

Even though the building is still sparsely furnished, the North Hall Community and Technology Center is now open. A grand opening celebration will be held in November.

The branch will operate during the regular library hours for the system and will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.

But don’t be fooled by the lack of furnishings, this branch is high tech and plans to stay that way.

“It’s a very technological place and we’ll change out a lot of this technology as it grows ... for the latest and greatest,” said Jarvis Sims, head of IT for the system.

For now, the branch boasts more than 50 computers in two separate labs that are able to run on either Macintosh or Windows programs, a MacPro computer lab, a gaming room with Xbox and PlayStation 3 games and study rooms.

Patrons can also check out devices such as an iPad, Nook or Kindle to use while they stay on site. Parents can check out a LeapPad learning tablet for their children to use as well. The library staff calls the selection of mobile devices the “technology petting zoo” because it gives people a chance to get acquainted with technology before making the decision to purchase it for themselves.

Once a few more deliveries are made, the center will be complete with two separate areas set up with computers, television and books for teens and children to use specifically. In addition to state-of-the-art computer systems, the library will have a 3D printer that will allow patrons to create plastic models of three-dimensional concepts designed on the computer.

The newest branch isn’t a traditional library in that it won’t have stacks of books on shelves. But patrons will still have access to any book through the statewide PINES library system. PINES will deliver books to and from any PINES library on request.

Patrons can also take advantage of classes, some of which will be geared specifically toward technology.

Since opening on Tuesday, the library hasn’t seen a large number of visitors, although people steadily dropped by to check on the progress of the facility during construction.

Kathey Cassano usually works on genealogy at the main library branch in Gainesville. Instead of driving into the city, she decided to call ahead to the North Hall branch and was surprised to learn she could start using it.

She said some of the programs she uses to trace her ancestry aren’t yet up and running but her overall impression of the facility is very positive.

Brittany Dyer, 12, and Hannah Countiss, 26, played a few video games on the Xbox 360 Kinect in the gaming room Wednesday afternoon.

Dyer said the teen center is “really cool” and hopes she’ll get to come back to visit the branch often, even if it’s not to play video games.

“I like the study area and the computers, it’ll be really good for research and studying for school,” Dyer said.

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