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Officials: Economy pushing college enrollment, library use in Paulding
by Liz Marino
lmarino@neighbornewspapers.com
November 21, 2012 05:53 PM | 1373 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Georgia Highlands College’s Paulding campus enrollment grew by 12 percent over last year, according to Campus Dean Cathy Ledbetter in an update to the Paulding County Commissioners last week.

The campus, in its fourth academic year in Paulding, has 480 students enrolled taking 3,900 credit hours, said Ledbetter.

There has been an increase in the part-time student population, she said, which is most likely due to the economy.

Although most of the Paulding campus students fall in the 18 to 21 age range, the college’s biggest increase is in students over 45, Ledbetter told the commissioners.

Sixty percent of the student population resides in Paulding County, while 22 percent travels from Cobb, she reported.

The campus, located in the Henry Winn Building and George Bagby Courthouse Annex in downtown Dallas, will soon be expanding into the first floor of the county’s old courthouse to open a library.

“This will allow us to offer greater library services,” said the dean.

The commissioners also received an update on the Paulding County libraries from Cherry Waddell, library services coordinator for the county.

She said 338,000 materials had been circulated from the four county libraries, which include the newest at Crossroads, New Georgia, Maud Ragsdale in Hiram and Paulding County Library in Dallas.

“We offer more than books,” said Waddell, “and people are taking notice.”

Wi-Fi is available at all four branches, along with public computers, for which the demand is greater than ever, she noted.

“There is an increase in use due to the economy and job market,” said Waddell. “People are coming in to look for jobs and create resumes.”

People are also coming in to take advantage of high-speed internet access, because there are areas that still do not have fast access internet, she told the commissioners.

The libraries also have added e-books, she explained, which allow people the opportunity to check out books electronically.

Waddell, just completing her first year as library services coordinator, told the commissioners that she “had a staff to be proud of.”

She added, “All worked hard and stepped up to the plate.”

Twenty-four employees work within the four library branches.

In Georgia, public libraries are funded by local governments and supplemented by the state. Paulding County, not unlike other libraries across the state, have begun to look at marketing and fundraising strategies to supplement their operational budgets.

“We are able to manage operations within our budget and are staying on target,” she told the commissioners. “But to have value-added, we have to raise our own funds.”
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