MT LAUREL, Alabama -- Ann Price remembers in 2006 or so whenthe "library" in the small planned community of Mt Laurel in north ShelbyCounty consisted of a couple of shelves in Jimbo's Soda Fountain shop.
"There were some temporary shelves in Jimbo's, just some books and it was like an honor system," Price said,recalling how people would come in and find an old paperback to borrow.
This spring, Mt Laurel will have a new librarythanks to the dedicated efforts of many in the community who have worked overthe last seven or eight years to raise money to build the new facility.
On a vacant plot of land on Olmstead Street amid the manystores, restaurants and other businesses in the heart of the community, Friendsof Mt Laurel Library board members along with Shelby County officials andresidents gathered today to celebrate the groundbreaking of the new1,664-square-foot facility.
"What began as a dream about eight years ago is real,"board member John Floyd told the crowd.
Floyd credited many for their involvement in achieving thefundraising goal of more than a quarter-million dollars, but one individual stood out. "If it weren't for Ann's efforts, we would not bestanding here today," he said.
Price expressed joy about the new library's development. "Wewill be able to expand our collection of books and services. We will beexpanding our hours," she said.
The new library represents the work of the communitycoming together to build the facility, she said. "This is truly a grassrootseffort -- a lot of individual donations, some corporate and many fundraisers,"she said.
Fundraising started around seven or eight years ago toconstruct a library for the community located a few miles off the U.S. Highway280 corridor toward Chelsea. As Mt Laurel grew, so did its need for a library, which moved into a temporary storefront location on Olmstead Street in March 2010.
"This is really what I consider a neighborhood library,"said Katie Guerin, director of library services for the North Shelby Libraryand the Mt Laurel Library. "It's everything you would expect at North ShelbyLibrary, but on a little smaller scale."
The Mt Laurel Library serves residents and othersthroughout the north Shelby County area, Guerin said. "We have a lot of peoplewho come to Mt Laurel" from points along Highway 280 and further east toWestover, she said.
The permanent library location for Mt Laurel will be aboon for the community, Guerin said. "I just think it has a really personalfeel," she said.
Mt Laurel's facility is receiving support from the NorthShelby Library located on Cahaba Valley Road near Indian Springs Village. MtLaurel's facility is a branch of the North Shelby Library.
Guerin is grateful for the many donations that have madeplans for the permanent location come to fruition.
"I can't stress enough how much the Friends of theLibrary helped. This library would not exist without the Friends of Mt Laurel,"Guerin said, referring to the temporary location. "Although the county has notkicked in any money, they have really been really supported by the county."
Another major supporter of the project is EBSCOIndustries, which donated the land for the new building.
Guerin hopes the new building will be up and runningbefore the summer reading program starts. Last summer between 6,000 and 8,000people attended programs at North Shelby and Mt Laurel libraries, she said.
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