11:23 AM

Community Impact: Hall County Library System

Within the walls of a library, there are more than just books. For library patrons, there are DVDs, special programs, ongoing classes for people of all ages, public access to computers and more. And with a library card, patrons can also access online resources, like eBooks and audio books.

A few years ago, the Hall County Library System recognized the need not only to increase public awareness of their resources, but also to serve under served populations.

“We’ve always had a vibrant outreach program with schools and assisted living facilities,” said Lisa MacKinney, library director of the Hall County Library System. “But that’s for organizations. (Our new program) will let us go to places to serve an individual.”

Starting this summer, the library system plans to roll out its mobile reading room at area festivals, community events, health fairs and more.

The concept is based on a custom-made product that uses a system of cubes to create mobile, stackable displays and benches for a mini reading room in public areas. Library staffers or volunteers can transport the cubes to outreach events, where they can encourage visitors to read or register for a library card.

“Once they have a library card, the world opens up to them,” MacKinney said.

Some people are reluctant to register for a library card or have transportation limitations, she added. By bringing library card registrations to communities via the mobile reading room, new patrons are more likely to visit a physical library or access its online resources.

The Jackson EMC Foundation recently awarded a $10,000 grant for the mobile reading room. Since 2006, the Hall County Library System has received a total of $16,897 from the Jackson EMC Foundation.