Hundreds celebrate temporary Mt Laurel library

Published 1:30 pm Saturday, April 10, 2010

Mt Laurel residents moved one step closer toward establishing a permanent town library April 10, as hundreds of patrons celebrated the grand opening of the library’s temporary location.

More than 135 Mt Laurel residents and visitors poured into the library’s temporary location at 33 Olmsted St. within an hour of its grand opening at 11 a.m.

The temporary library, which is a branch of the North Shelby Public Library, will serve as the town’s literary and multimedia resource until the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library raise the $250,000 needed to construct a permanent location.

“We have 1,500 books here today, and it is still a growing collection,” Kate Etheredge, manager of the new branch, said as a group of children gathered in the library for story time.

“So far today, we have issued four library cards and a bunch of books,” Etheredge laughed at about noon. “Everyone here today has been very excited.”

John Floyd, chairman of the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library, said he hoped the temporary location would give patrons a feel for what it will be like once a permanent library is constructed near the town’s center.

EBSCO, which owns the building used to house the temporary location, donated the building to the library free of charge for two years.

“Our goal is to raise $250,000 to build the new library. So far, we have raised about $110,000,” Floyd said. “But this temporary location is a great thing for the whole Dunnavant Valley. It just happened to be dropped here in Mt Laurel.

“We think it’s very important for a community to have a library,” Floyd added. “All great communities have a library.”

Because Mt Laurel lies in unincorporated Shelby County, all money raised to construct the town’s new library must come from volunteer donations, Floyd said.

“We are not Hoover. We don’t have a municipal funding source,” Floyd said. “So this is a true community project.

“Hopefully when people get here today and see what it’s going to be like once the permanent library is open, the support for it will grow,” Floyd added. “It’s been a great morning. We had a big crowd gathered when we got here to open it up.”

To help raise funds for the project, the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library is selling engraved bricks, which will be placed in the new library’s courtyard and walkway.

The group will also be hosting a fundraiser concert Aug. 29 at Mt Laurel’s Turtle Back Park. The outdoor concert will feature the band Act of Congress.

For more information about the concert, the library or to make a donation to the project, contact the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library at, or call 981-9772.