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The New Shell Knob Library is Moving Forward

Providing improved Library Services to the community of Shell Knob is the shared goal of the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library and the local resident stakeholders alike. We all also agree the Library's current building isn't meeting the community's needs. The most crucial consideration for the Library District regarding this project is optimizing every cent of community funds (donations, grants, and taxes) for the most significant positive impact. Due to many factors, it is the determination of the BLRL Board of Trustees to decline the offer of an extension for the proposed building site located off Highway 39 in Shell Knob. 

The proposed building site was donated to the Library District with the stipulation that the New Library would be built on the site within a given time frame, and in November of 2023, an offer to extend this timeframe was generously made. However, during the Library's ownership of the building site, the following factors have come to light, necessitating "a pivot" to the plans for the Shell Knob Library. 

  1. The architecture firm planning the project noted possible challenges to building on the site that would significantly increase the construction cost, including the need for infrastructure like water, septic systems, and easy drive access.

  2. Many local Shell Knob Community Members voiced their opposition (both publicly and privately) to building on this site. This concern caused fundraising for the project to take longer than anticipated.

  3. In late 2023, a different property was donated to the Library District that would allow the District to improve the library facilities in the community faster and more cost-effectively. 

  4. Geotechnical Engineering Surveying showed several additional problems hiding under the ground, including inconsistent bedrock formations, undocumented fill materials, and the need for extensive excavation to assess the feasibility of building on the site fully. 

Due to the primary factors mentioned above and other minor concerns, the Barry-Lawrence Regional Library Board of Trustees unanimously agreed to decline the offer to extend the agreement on the original proposed build site. The BLRL hopes to honor the prior naming rights agreement made with the donor of the original building site.

Along with the individuals that have made land donations, the entire community of Shell Knob needs to be recognized for their consistent and enthusiastic support of this project. Shell Knob Resident and BLRL Board President Regina McIlrath said, "The new and improved library is coming soon to Shell Knob; this is the Library District's highest priority project."


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