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Prince George’s County Memorial Library System held a ground-breaking ceremony recently.

Prince George’s County Memorial Library System held a ground-breaking ceremony recently for its new 31,000-square-foot Laurel Library building, almost twice the size of the original structure. The new building will replace the current building at 507 Seventh St. in Laurel, and both parents and young people are excited about the new structure.

“It is an investment in our young people and the belief that you never stop growing,” said grandmother and retired K-12 teacher, Marjorie Newcombe. “I am looking forward to bringing the grandchildren here so that we can continue to learn and grow together.”

The new building will be among the most child-friendly enclaves in the County, boasting lighted dinosaur footprints leading to the Discovery Island children’s room with a glass floor exposing a full-size velociraptor skeleton replica. The room will hold two children’s seating areas, one within a large dinosaur rib cage and the other decorated with volcano lava and light effects. In addition, an early literacy center with a digital learning table will help children develop pre-reading skills.

Among the elected officials who attended the ground-breaking were Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III, Prince George’s County Council Member Mary Lehman, and Laurel Mayor Craig Moe. “With its bright spacious interior, high-tech learning tools, and child-friendly dinosaur displays, the new building will offer a wide range of resources for the Laurel community,” said Kathleen Teaze, CEO of Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. “We’re excited to break ground.”

The new building will also include environmentally friendly features such as solar panels on the roof to generate electricity, two electric-car charging stations and permeable pavers in the parking lot to filter storm water. Likewise, a green plant wall will stand in a quiet room in the building.

Megan Drumgold, a new County supplant from Missouri, said she is excited by the developer’s decision to make the space multi-use and more innovative.  The recent University of Missouri graduate said the space should make research more readily accessible within the area.

“When you’re in a college town, you expect Wi-Fi to be everywhere and to have digital access to journal resources and archived materials, but you also want to be able to take a snack break without leaving the research behind, so it is great that the County has thought enough to integrate study rooms and a café-bookstore into the new space,” Drumgold said.

In addition to the café-bookstore and study rooms, the new Laurel Library will house a computer training lab, a conference room, meeting rooms with a 100-person capacity each, and a fireplace.

During construction, scheduled to finish by the fall of 2016, the library is temporarily located at 8101 Sandy Spring Rd. in Laurel. All programs and services are continuing at the temporary location, including story times, computer access, and Wi-Fi. Branch hours also remain the same.

The library renovation falls under Baker’s property tax increase proposal, providing $23.2 million in the capital budget to fund the replacement of the Laurel branch.

“You have to pay in the ‘now,’ for the future that you want for your kids and future generations,” Newcombe said.  “This library will be of great importance to the young people, so the tax sacrifice, for me, is worth it.”