Groundbreaking ceremony marks new Mt Laurel Library

Published 6:04 pm Thursday, January 9, 2014

The Friends of the Mt. Laurel Library broke ground for the town's new library Jan. 9 (Reporter Photo / Cassandra Mickens)

The Friends of the Mt. Laurel Library broke ground for the town’s new library Jan. 9 (Reporter Photo / Cassandra Mickens)

By CASSANDRA MICKENS / Associate Editor

Mt LAUREL — Energized schoolchildren played on the site where the new Mt Laurel Library will be built Jan. 9, as guests gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony seven years in the making.

The Mt Laurel Library, a branch of the North Shelby Library, is currently housed in a temporary location at 33 Olmsted St. The new permanent location, just down the road at 111 Olmsted Street between Mt Laurel Grocery and Double Oak Community Church, will be built on property donated by EBSCO Industries, said John Floyd, who serves on the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library board.

The new library will primarily serve Shelby County’s Dunnavant Valley region.

“What began as a dream about eight years ago is now real,” Floyd said. “This has really been a project we’re all proud of.”

Floyd recognized county officials, including Shelby County commissioners Daniel Acker, Rick Shepherd, Mike Vest, who were in attendance, and fellow Friends member Ann Price, who led the fundraising charge for the library’s construction.

“If it weren’t for Ann’s efforts, we would not be standing here today,” Floyd said.

Price said construction will begin next week. She anticipates a spring opening.

“We are just thrilled this day has come,” Price said. “It has been a real grassroots effort.”

The Friends of Mt Laurel Library, a nonprofit group, raised $268,000 for the library’s construction. Most of the construction funds came from individual donations and fundraising activities such as ice cream socials, raffles, 5K runs and even “kids who contributed pennies,” Floyd said.

Fundraising will continue throughout the construction phase to complete, furnish and landscape the library, Price said. Once built, the 1,664-square-foot library will be staffed, maintained and operated by the North Shelby Library, and will offer a more extensive library collection and services. In addition, Friends of the Mt. Laurel Library will shift its focus to support library programs, Price said.

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