GAINESVILLE - Instead of no Hall County libraries open on Saturday in a tight economy,three of them would be open half a day beginning next month in a plan approved Tuesday night during a called meeting of the Hall Library System Board.
On a motion from board member Sandra Cantrell, the Board chose an option that allows Gainesville Library to open Saturday from nine a.m. until one p.m. with North Hall and Spout Springs Library to rotate half a day Saturday openings.
"It seemed to be the most fair," Cantrell said. "We want to serve all the taxpayers as much as we can."
Cantrell added that because December has a fifth Saturday, the libraries would not be open that day.
"We want the public to be able to follow the schedule as closely as possible so that they're not confused and drive a great deal," she added. "Gasoline is too expensive for anybody to make that trip and find their branch was closed."
The Board plans to take another look at the Saturday schedule in December.
System Director Adrian Mixson said some system savings amounting to $47,586 are making the Saturday openings possible. System manager transitions including retirements with one manager leaving her position made the money available.
He stressed that funding is still tight and may get tighter.
Mixson told board members the state intends to increase health insurance rates and cut funding by another three percent or $10,690 this fiscal year.
"This was voted on in March to change the schedule and see what dollars we can capture to make a change in the schedule," Mixson said. "It's always been kind of temporary and we've been making money off of people."
Mixson said the Saturday schedule starts October 15th when the new North Hall library is ready enough to receive patrons. Ex-officio board member County Commissioner Billy Powell suggested looking into cutting back on programs to loosen up more money for operating hours.