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Where Gainesville library patrons will go during renovations
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Stacks of supplies and cardboard boxes are stacked in the hallways of the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System. The library staff is excited about a $4 million renovation that will create more space at the branch. - photo by Nick Bowman

When the Gainesville branch of the Hall County Library System relocates early next year for renovations to the current building, library patrons will not have to travel far — they can just cross Main Street.

The library’s collections will be located in the current Turner, Wood & Smith building at 100 Brenau Ave., across the street from the library.

Turner, Wood & Smith, an insurance agency that employs about 40 people, sold the building to the city of Gainesville last year and is now leasing it back while the company builds a new office next to the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center. The city hopes to use the current office site for a parking deck, although that project would not be complete for a few years.

Brett Fowler, vice president with Turner, Wood & Smith, said the company hopes to move in to the new building in January 2019. The library would relocate its services once the building is available.

Gainesville will rent the building to the library system for $1 a month for 12 months.

“We are glad to offer this space to the library, so that patrons can continue to enjoy library services downtown while the main building is under construction,” City Manager Bryan Lackey said in a statement.

Hall County Library Director Lisa MacKinney said Hall has the smallest library headquarters facility in the state for a community this size. Some needs include a new community room, private study rooms and improvements to the children’s area, she said.

The library system has gathered input on the renovations through focus groups, public meetings and seeking staff input. MacKinney said details of the renovations are still being planned.

MacKinney said the goal is for renovations to be finished within a year, but work could take up to 18 months depending on factors such as weather and contractors.

In May, Gov. Nathan Deal approved $2 million in state funding for the renovations of the Gainesville branch. The other half of the $4 million project is being funded by city of Gainesville impact fees and special purpose local option sales tax, or SPLOST, dollars from Hall County, which operates the library.  

The Gainesville branch was built in 1970 and last updated in 2000.