Plans advance for new library branch in Shell Knob

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Land donation for new site pushes plan to forefront

A new branch building for the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library will move forward in 2015, thanks to the donation of three acres of land for a new site.

Charles Singleton III, and Danny and Catherine Street, completed the donation of three acres at the library board's November meeting.

Roger Pinnell represented Singleton in presenting the board with a warranty deed, plus a trustee's deed from the Danny Street and Catherine Street Income Only Trust. The land, appraised at $158,000, is located next to the Red Barn antique mall, and the storage units and extends back from the bluff.

Singleton, according to Karen Foster, president of the Shell Knob Friends of the Library, grew up in Kansas City. He and his sister attended private schools because of the high priority his parents placed on education. Singleton made the donation for the Shell Knob community, Foster said, so that everyone may have educational opportunities. He asked to have the future library named for his parents, and the library board agreed.

According to Gina Milburn, library director, the library will vacate its branch at the Bridgeway Plaza after construction of a new building. The present facility has 1,500 square feet on each of two floors and offers no room for growth. The collection is located on the upper floor, which is so full that there is no place to sit, other that two reading chairs. The lower floor is primarily a community meeting room.

"We've been talking about building a new branch for a couple years," Milburn said. "The Friends of the Library wanted to do it, knowing we couldn't grow where we were. The land donation pushed the project back to the forefront."

Milburn estimated a new branch would cost around $500,000, depending on the facility's resources. Board members agreed they wanted to have wireless Internet access, a meeting room and "something with a log cabin lake house feel."

"The Friends of the Library came forward a year ago proposing a fundraiser," Milburn said. "The community is enthused about it. The big question was where to do it."

The Friends will now proceed with their efforts.

The Shell Knob Lions Club donated $1,000 to the project and pledged another $1,000 for 2015.

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