Barry-Lawrence Regional Library breaks ground for new Monett facility

Published: Aug. 24, 2021 at 8:15 AM CDT
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MONETT, Mo. (KY3) -The Barry-Lawrence Regional Library will be breaking ground on Tuesday for a new facility.

The Monett library has been a work in progress for several years. Administrators released the first plans for this facility in 2008. There have been many obstacles that the library has had to overcome before it could start building.

“Ultimately, what kind of derailed the process was our tax levy was rolled back,” said Library Director Gina Milburn. “It took several years to get back on track, where we would have enough money to do this project along the way as well. We had other big fundraising things that went on in the Monett community so, we didn’t want to all be vying for the same dollar donations.”

Last year, voters approved to increase the tax levy allowing the library to finally have the funds needed to build the $6 million facility.

“I don’t even know how to contain my excitement when I talk about the building plan,” said Milburn. “I told the architect when the families come in, I want the kids to be so excited they can’t wait to run through the building and get to the children’s area.”

The current library building was built in the 1970s in the downtown district, making it a target for break-ins and vandalism. The new facility will have an updated security system, and library administrators hope it will be less targeted in its new location.

“I’m really excited that we’re going to have an area of the community that’s on the main thoroughfare,” said Milburn. “The downtown location has been great. I mean, there are lots of houses and so forth here, but it’s just like any other community. We’ve had so much growth away from this area that I think that’s going to be a good location close to the schools.”

The new building will be 20,000 square feet and have unique features like a drive-through window and kitchen for cooking classes. The project should be complete in the fall of 2022.

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