New Mt Laurel library opens to the public

Mt Laurel opened its new library on June 21. (Contributed)

Mt Laurel opened its new library on June 21. (Contributed)

By CAROLINE CARMICHAEL/Staff Writer

NORTH SHELBY – The Town of Mt Laurel held a ribbon cutting ceremony on June 21 for the new Mt Laurel Public Library, the first branch of North Shelby Library.

After a brief speech by John Floyd, board member of The Friends of Mt Laurel Library, Chairman Anne Price lifted the ceremonial shears and snipped.

“She’s really the reason this has come about,” Katie Guerin, library director at North Shelby Library, said of Price.

Headed by Price, the Friends group organized the Dunnavant Valley fundraising events and collected major contributions that assisted in the construction of the library. The Friends group also acquired the donations that provided its furnishings.

“It’s a public library built entirely privately,” Vice President of the North Shelby Library Board Kay Kelley said.

According to board member Ward Tishler, the dream to build a library began with Mt Laurel founder Elton Stephens, who had hoped to have a library in the town.

The town’s first library was a wooden shelf offering a small selection of books in Jimbo’s Soda Fountain.

After seven years of fundraising, the building was finally constructed.

“The dream became a reality,” said Guerin.

The Mt Laurel Public Library, which reflects Mt Laurel architecture, features a commemoration brick entryway, upon which are inscribed the names of their donors. Art and furniture donated by the community adorn the interior.

Accompanying each donation is a card honoring the donor.

“The Tree,” a mural by Mt Laurel resident Rorie Scroggins, claims a corner in the children’s alcove. Beneath the large tree, “Oaklee,” a stuffed animal squirrel, serves as the library mascot from his log seat crafted by Mt Laurel resident Sandy Bishop.

A rentable community room will double as a second reading room.

Two computer workstations are available for research and reference.

Kristin Prickett, who is also a Mt Laurel resident, designed the library’s interior. David N. Brash Landscape Architecture designed the landscape.

“We’ve had a temporary library for years. With this one, we’ll be expanding our hours and services,” explained Price. “Beginning July 7, we’ll be open six days a week.”

For more information, visit www.mtlaurellibrary.org.