Palm Beach County unveils plan for new library in Belle Glade

BELLE GLADE, Fla. - The Belle Glade Library is too small, too out of touch and too old for the new demands of being a library in the modern age. That's what Palm Beach County said as they unveiled the plans for a brand new library in Belle Glade.

"I'm just over the moon that this day has finally come,  it's been years in the works," Glades Library Branch manager Phyllis Lilley said.

The library will go off of Northwest 4th Street in Belle Glade across from the Lake Shore Middle School.

Students from the middle school such as 8th grader Fantcha Louis use the old library about three times a week, she said.

"I go there to hang out with friends and sometimes check out books," Louis said.

It's tough to do, but sometimes she even gets on a computer at the current library off Main Street.

"It has some, but you wait for hours to get on one," Louis said.

To be exact, there are five of them for teens and 10 for adults, according to Missi Luikart, the assistant manager of the current Belle Glade Library.

Luikart says that's not nearly enough now that the unemployment rate for the city has reportedly gone up to 40 percent.

"Mondays and Tuesdays are the filing dates to claim your checks and it is packed solid," Luikart said.

But the inside isn't the only squeeze, the outside is as well. There isn't but six parking spaces and two of them are handicapped ones.

Tuesday's groundbreaking at the site of the new facility promises to change that by 2013.

A new 17,000 square feet facility full of an array of meeting rooms, study rooms, parking spaces and about 50 computers.

"Out here we do the best we can so what's going to be nice is you'll have more computers," Luikart said.

Part of the money from the demolishing the old civic center damaged in Hurricane Wilma will help in the cost of building the new library, Palm Beach County Library Director John J. Callahan III said.

It's expected to cost $7.85 million to build the library and employee 100 people temporarily to construct it.

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