Launching Mt Laurel library

The town of Mt Laurel was calm as a windless tree this April afternoon. Sunshine warmed the stone buildings. I left the sunny bench where I’d been admiring bedding plants in front of the hardware store.

A short stroll later, I came to a storefront on Olmsted Street, seeing folks busily shelving books, organizing in preparation for the grand opening of Mt Laurel Public Library, a temporary branch of North Shelby in Cahaba Valley.

Branch Manager Kate Ethredge greeted me with a smile.

“We’ll be here two years. EBSCO donated the use of the storefront, and also a lot for our new library,” she said, pointing down the street to a lot by Double Oak Community Church.

EBSCO is the developer of Town of Mt Laurel, and a primary library supporter. Others are involved, including those busy getting a library in order. Librarian Chrissie Humphrey and Library Assistant Sherri Trippeer were in the children’s section, where bright carpet will welcome little visitors.

Ethredge explained how the community at large can support the library.

“We accept donations of books. At our festivals we sell T-shirts, and bricks for the new library. In August we’re having a concert to raise funds.”

Many businesses and residents give funds. Friends of the Mt Laurel Library have worked a few years raising money. This group is non-profit, with a board of directors who are a cross-section of supporters (legal, professional, administrative) throughout North Shelby. Architect Gary Justiss donated his services.

Anyone can help. Donations may be as a one-time pledge, or a continuing invoiced pledge, and are tax-deductible. Make checks payable to North Shelby Library, and designate funds to go to Mt Laurel Public Library. Mail to: Mt Laurel Public Library, 33 Olmsted Street, Birmingham, Ala. 35242.

One doesn’t have to be an avid reader to appreciate that libraries lend more than books. Computers offer free Internet access. Reading rooms and coffee shops bring peaceful refuge. At Mt Laurel Library, starting April 14, a children’s storyteller will entertain little ones every other Wednesday at 10:30 a.m., with puppets and word play, songs and dances, bubbles and make believe. I’ve seen the storyteller in action, and her program is exciting enough to make a person want to be a child again. Reserve a place on the floor for your tot by calling 991-1660. See Mtlaurellibrary.org for information hours of service and events.

Gladys Hodge Sherrer can be reached by e–mail at gsherrer@hotmail.com.