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Libraries using 'buddy branch model' to keep locations open every day

LAWRENCEVILLE -- To offset projected budget cuts, the Gwinnett County Public Library system has plans to reduce its hours, changing some of the open and closing times for locations.

Beginning Oct. 23, the 15-branch system will use the "buddy branch model" in order to keep locations open seven days a week.

Weekend hours will remain consistent at all locations. On Friday, branches will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Locations will be open from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Only the weekend hours are consistent across the system. Using the buddy branch system, libraries located geographically close to each other will pair up to alternate Monday through Thursday morning and evening hours.

For instance, the Buford and Suwanee branches will pair off. One will be open on Monday from noon to 8 p.m., while the other will be open the same day from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The two branches will alternate the hours Monday through Thursday. It had not yet been determined which locations would receive which hours.

Other pairings of library branches include Hamilton Mill and Dacula; Collins Hill and Lawrenceville; Duluth and Peachtree Corners; Norcross and Lilburn; Five Forks and Mountain Park; and Grayson, Snellville and Centerville.

The change comes after a called meeting held last week in which the library board voted to reduce from 53 hours a week to 44 hours.

Said Library Director Nancy Stanbery-Kellam: "We are at a point where we have to cut hours. Our service is suffering, and we don't have the staff."