FERRIS – Members of the Ferris City Council, Library Board and city staff gathered at the site for the ground breaking of the city’s new public library Saturday morning. 

The new library is a culmination of several years’ efforts of the city’s staff and library board members.

Mayor Rick Barrett provided the audience with information about the need for the new library.

“The current library is a very used facility. The current library has 17,081 books and other resources available to be viewed or checked out. There were 2,122 current resident visitors and 2,418 other visitors. Last year, 28,964 items were checked out,” he said. “We had 728 children visit the various programs offered.”

Manning the shovels for the ground breaking were Barrett and Terri Ross, library board chairman, who worked along with other board members, city staff and librarian Kathy Harrington to define the design and resources needed.

The current library is located in what is known as the old scout building on South Mabel.

“We simply outgrew the building providing the services and resources for the community,” Harrington said. “The new library will have expanded resources providing twice the number of computers in the adult and children’s areas. We will also have conference rooms as well as more room for the various children’s programs that we provide. Another room that will be added will be a genealogy room.”

The need for a new library became more apparent when the city received the collection of Judge Grace McKnight, the first female judge in the state.

“We simply did not have room to set up the collection so it has been stored (until the new facility’s completion),” Harrington said.

The plans for the new library have been in the works for more than 10 years. After determining the old location was not the best plan, the city purchased a lot at the intersection of 10th and Park streets.

“With weather permitting, the construction should take about six months,’ Harrington said.