In a knowledge-based economy, libraries have a central role in helping rural residents learn and communicate. I stressed this point at a recent groundbreaking ceremony for the Lake Odessa Community Library.
Libraries are increasingly important for rural communities. They have expanded their role from lending books to offering meeting spaces and providing high-speed internet connections, the latter often being difficult to obtain away from urban centers. The expansion of the Lake Odessa Community Library is an investment in new economic opportunities for the area.
Our USDA Rural Development programs have helped many libraries in Michigan, but few if any enjoy the central location and role of the Lake Odessa Community Library. Located in the heart of the Village of Lake Odessa’s downtown, it's housed in a building that once served as a movie theater.
The library serves Odessa Township and the Village of Lake Odessa and also contracts with Sebewa Township for library services. USDA Rural Development provided a $625,000 Community Facilities loan to support the project, which includes separate areas for children and teenagers, expanded technology space and a meeting room.
Demolition work to prepare for the expansion is already underway – in fact it continued throughout the ceremony, with workers removing windows as the townspeople shoveled the first official dirt. The goal is to have the new facility open for business early next year.
I firmly believe that a library is every bit as important as the local post office; it's part of the pulse of the community. We're proud to be a part of this important project.