Albany non-profit could use closed down library for college prep - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Non-profit eyes library for new college classes

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Southside Branch Library at 2114 Habersham Rd., closed by the county last summer Southside Branch Library at 2114 Habersham Rd., closed by the county last summer
County Commissioners listening to Bishop Jimmy Sneed, a Jayda Lives petitioner, during Monday's meeting County Commissioners listening to Bishop Jimmy Sneed, a Jayda Lives petitioner, during Monday's meeting
Dr. Lillian Rambeau, Jayda Lives Administrator Dr. Lillian Rambeau, Jayda Lives Administrator
Bishop Jimmy Sneed, Petitioner Bishop Jimmy Sneed, Petitioner
Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission
ALBANY, GA (WALB) -

A closed library in South Albany could again be used to teach young people.

Monday, a non-profit group asked county commissioners to use the Southside Branch to prepare students for college.  They said they would operate the facility at no cost to the county and help some students earn their associate degrees before they graduate high school.

Jayda Lives representatives are the sixth group to approach Dougherty County Commissioners about the closed down library.  They said they'll use the building to prepare high schoolers for life after graduation and give them a jump on their college career through courses sponsored by the Darton State College Accel program. 

The lonely Southside Branch library off Habersham Road could again be filled with life if commissioners approve one of the six petitioning groups hoping to move into the space.

"When the library closed last year, patrons were not able to utilize any of the resources that were available through the library...mainly the online resources.  And that's what we aim to bring back to our community," said Dr. Lillian Rambeau, Jayda Lives Administrator. 

Jayda Lives hopes to restore the southside community's Internet access for its educational programs. 

"Expand is a branch of Jayda Lives which serves high school students going to college early online.  Extend is a tutoring service that serves K-12 students in the southside community area," Rambeau said.

The idea is to use the building as a tutoring hub for kids hoping to get a head start in college.

The group says their program is free, which means the library's doors could be a gateway to a brighter future for South Georgia students.

"Accel has a wonderful program where young students can go to college while in high school, 11th and 12th grade.  And so that's what this basically do.  And so Expand basically is trying to take students online and help them through that process," said Bishop Jimmy Sneed, Petitioner. 

Commissioners like the program, but say they need to consider all applicants interested in the building.

"I'm excited that we have six different organizations that are lookin' in the building.  And there are more than one that have a focus on reading, and teaching, and having access to mentoring," said Chairman Jeff Sinyard, Dougherty County Commission. 

Rambeau said she's seen the benefits of the program through her daughter, and hopes to see it expand to other students if they're granted the space.

"We hope to see about thirty students this fall.  And if they enroll as 11th graders, they will be on track to receive their associates in the two year time span.  If they enroll as 12th graders, they will have one year of college," said Rambeau. 

But the library will remain closed until commissioners make their final decision. 

The Albany group said it will operate through donations and fundraisers.  Jada Lives started in 2009 as an abstinence based program that says it teaches teens how to make healthy choices. 

They said they don't plan to make any changes to the building, but have requested the county to return the computers that were in the library before it closed. 

Commissioners are reviewing the six applicants and developing a process to determine which group will best use the facility.

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