On May 8, the Hall County Library System received official word: Governor Brian Kemp had signed the fiscal year 2024 budget for the state of Georgia, and Hall County will be able to proceed with construction on a new East Hall library branch. The $3 million state construction grant award will supplement $3 million available in local funding allocated through SPLOST VII.
“East Hall has been without a library for more than ten years, so to get a new library in this community is both an exciting and important venture for our community,” said Hall County District 3 Commissioner Gregg Poole. “The dedication of our legislative representatives and staff in securing the funding to provide this valuable resource speaks to Hall County’s commitment to providing excellent local government services.”
The East Hall library branch closed its doors in 2011 due to budget cuts amid the Great Recession, leaving the community without a library and facing a steep challenge to open a new one.
Hall County Library Director Lisa MacKinney echoed those sentiments.
“As everyone is aware, construction costs have skyrocketed over the past several years. Without this crucial state funding, it would be an enormous challenge to build a library big enough to truly meet the substantial needs of the East Hall community. The library board and staff are extremely grateful to our legislative delegation for their hard work in bringing this funding home to Hall County,” said MacKinney.
State Representative Matt Dubnik, who is currently serving on the House Appropriations Committee, and freshman State Senator Shelly Echols were instrumental in obtaining the state construction grant.
“I am extremely passionate about our community, and I believe public libraries are one of the most important resources we can provide to the citizens of Georgia,” said Rep. Dubnik. “Bringing this library back to Hall County is something I’m proud of, as I know how it critical it is due to the increasing number of Hall County residents and students that are in need of such an establishment.”
“I am a huge supporter of public libraries and access to the resources that they offer to our citizens,” added Sen. Echols, former Hall County District 3 Commissioner. “It is incredibly important to me that residents in my district have access to books, children have a place to engage with literature, and all people have a community space to learn. I am grateful to have the support of the legislature and the Governor in order to complete the funding so that we can move forward with this project. East Hall needs a library and more importantly, East Hall deserves a library.”
The Hall County Library System was fortunate to receive smaller state construction awards in 2006 for the construction of the Spout Springs Library and again in 2016 for the renovation and expansion of the Gainesville Library. The $3 million grant for East Hall is one of only two state grants of this size awarded to public libraries in 2023.