Dreams become reality: Joplin Public Library breaks ground on new location


Kristen Hanna | Contributor

Members of the Joplin community help break ground on the new Joplin Public Library construction project Sept. 12 off of 20th and Connecticut Street. The project is expected to be completed spring 2017.

After years of anticipation from board members, library staff and Joplin residents, the Joplin Public Library groundbreaking ceremony took place at the facility’s new location off 20th and Connecticut last Saturday morning.

“Five years ago, it was only a dream. And now it is a reality,” said Jacque Gage, library director. “We are excited about the new opportunities being afforded to our patrons and anticipate continued growth as more citizens become aware of many the new services we’re able to offer.”

The groundbreaking celebration featured activities for the entire family, including face painting, sand digging for children and much more.

The current public library’s 35,000 square feet will be expanded to 57,000 square feet on the six-acre site. The construction plan will be completed by spring of 2017.

Drawings display an open, spacious one-floor building with large windows providing natural light throughout the day.

Also included in this plan are outdoor event spaces and reading areas, a drive-up book drop, larger children’s and teen’s areas, larger meeting rooms and additional parking.

The library will feature updated software programs, reading programs and e-book access for all patrons. With more space to add state-of-the-art technology, the Joplin Public Library will be one of the more technologically advanced libraries in Missouri, according to Gage.

Joplin Public Library was the one of the first libraries in Missouri to offer its patrons access to a computer, Gage said. This one computer was used by both the library staff and the patrons. Now the new library will include computer services for video production and/or editing, audio recording, 3D printing and self-check kiosks.

“As community members, you joined others in discussing ideas, wishes and what you would like to see in this new facility,” said Mike Seibert, mayor of Joplin. “And today, we’re taking the next step from dreaming to digging — and making it a reality.”