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Officials revamping plan to convert libraries

LAWRENCEVILLE - Library officials are revising a recently approved plan to convert three branches into computer labs.

Agency spokeswoman Michelle Long said the labs are now being called "library and technology centers," and officials are devising a plan in which the centers will have books.

Long said leaders are working on the details and more information will be available next week.

The plan, which sets up three regional branches to be open 43 hours a week, nine community branches to be open 35 hours and the three labs, also to be open 35 hours a week, has drawn ire from local residents.

The three centers include the current branches at Lilburn, Snellville and Dacula, where a now-defunct move to close the local branch spurred community activism.

Many of those activists lobbied commissioners Tuesday to withdraw support from the library board of trustees, who are appointed by commissioners.

"We all feel that closing a library or having a building with just computers will have an enormous impact on our community," said Dacula Business Association President Chad Parson.

He said library officials told the group to ask commissioners for more funding, but he did not comply.

"For us to come to you and ask to cut everywhere else but the library is not fair," he said. Instead, the leaders asked for a more equitable solution and for books to still be available in each community.

In a letter dated Tuesday, Commissioners Mike Beaudreau, Kevin Kenerly and Bert Nasuti implored the board to rescind the regional library decision and find a solution the impacts communities equally, involving the public in the process.