Two new Mt Laurel Library projects begin in 2018


MT LAUREL – Mt Laurel has been home to the Southern Living Idea House in 2016 and Birmingham’s first Southern Living Inspired Home in 2017. Both homes raised funds for local charities, including the Mt Laurel Public Library.

After the library’s volunteers hosted both homes, they chose several ways to use their additional funds to benefit the library and ultimately the Mt Laurel community.

With funds raised from the 2016 Southern Living Idea House, the Friends of the Mt Laurel Library have purchased 50 books for the library to begin a Native Plant and Landscaping Reference Collection. These funds were also used to build additional bookshelves in the library.

In addition, funds raised from the 2017 Southern Living Inspired Home will purchase five laptops and establish educational programs for all ages.

The new book collection, which will cover a range of subjects important to creating a native landscape and supporting wildlife, will be housed in the library’s Community Room and will be available for checkout. The collection includes books on native plant landscaping, plant information, shade and fern gardens, butterflies, birds, insects, ponds, wildflowers, trees and more.

The idea of the collection, valued at over $500, came from library patron and Friends board member Larry Church who has long-admired the nature library collection at the Birmingham Botanical Gardens. When he suggested the Mt Laurel Library establish a natural landscaping collection, the board felt it was a perfect fit for the Mt Laurel community and surrounding areas and readily agreed to fund the project using some of the funds raised from the hosting the Southern Living Idea House in 2016.

With the assistance of the Mt Laurel and North Shelby Library staff, the books were located and purchased. The library staff and Friends hope that the collection will grow over time through further fundraising and donations.

The Native Plant and Landscaping Reference collection was introduced at a Wine and Cheese reception at the library on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and is now available to check out.

From the $4,900 raised from the Southern Living Inspired Home, the library is purchasing five laptop computers and will establish educational programs for all ages using the laptops, according to Ann Price, chairman of the Friends group.

New programs will include ABC Mouse for pre-school, Minecraft challenges, middle school and teen coding classes, Hue Animation, 3-D print design, and teen and adult database training.

The laptops will also be used to in enhance the library’s other regular programming and will be available for patrons to use in the building.