There's a new library open for business in the Kansas City, KS, Argentine neighborhood and it took the whole neighborhood to build it.
It started out just as an idea seven years ago but, with hard work and determination, community volunteers raised nearly $2 million to make their dream come true. Now students can hit the books in their brand new library.
After a morning ribbon cutting, the South Branch Library was officially opened for business and families said they were excited to check out the brand new building for the first time.
"I think it's awesome and I like it because it has a lot of books and movies," Anna Rios said.
"Oh my God. They got everything here. You got new e-readers, new computers. It's going to be a place I'm going to come to a lot," Angel Dreadfulwater said.
The new building located at Strong Avenue and 31st Street is three times the size of the previous Argentine library which was built in 1917. The old building was an obstacle for seniors like Ruth Sullivan.
"I think that's what we we've needed for several years. It (the previous building) had steps and I couldn't get up those steps," Sullivan said.
Accessibility was one of the reasons community volunteers set out to raise $2 million through fundraisers and grants and it wasn't easy.
"When we started raising money, the stock market had taken a dip and foundations were concerned about how much money they had and how much was available. We convinced them this was the right project and a benefit to a lot of people and they believed in us and supported us," Library Committee volunteer Ramon Murguia said.
The Kansas City, KS, School District put in another $4 million to complete the project.
"I think it's unprecedented. A lot of people will point out things that are not right, but not a lot will step up and say 'I'll be a part of the solution.' The committee worked tirelessly with bake sales, zumba parties, whatever it took to make this happen," KCKPS Superintendent Dr. Cynthia Lane said. "We're all so grateful to them,"
There were a lot of smiles Wednesday and it was all for a good reason as families will enjoy a new chapter at the South Branch Library.
"All the years of work and talking about the idea, seeing it on paper and seeing it as a reality," Delia Marin-Hernandez said. "We are so excited and happy for the community."
A lot of people have fond memories of the old library and worried about what will happen to that building. School board members will meet with community volunteers and they said they are not going to tear down the old building. They are looking for new ways to use the historic library.
Copyright 2012 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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