(WBIR-Briceville) Opening a public library has been a six-year-long project that is finally a reality in Briceville, and the community is using a friendship chain to get the shelves stocked.
Friday, students at Briceville Elementary lined up, passing books one by one from the school to the new library. The wooden shelves slowly filled as 118 kindergarten through fifth-grade students handed off hardbacks.
Until now, the community had used a tiny 420 square-foot space at the Friendship Center. The room wasn't large enough to stock all of the books.
"This is a lot nicer," said Austin Hatmaker, a fifth grader. "Because this one is the new library and that one has been sitting there and not a lot of people have been there."
"Briceville has not been treated well. They needed a library," said Marshall Hackworth, co-chairman of the Briceville Project Building Committee.
Hackworth was at the new library during the friendship chain. He said the $400,000 facility was a much needed upgrade.
"I've got a lot of praise for the people of Briceville. The fact that they got involved. Community involvement was extremely important," said Hackworth.
The community raised $75,000 through different events to help build the 2,000 square-foot brick library.
Teachers joined in on the excitement.
"Kids need to read more," said Melissa Fleming, a first grade teacher. "They need to have more choices. A lot of students don't have books in their home so it's great that they can have a place to go and read and have their parents read to them."
While students formed Friday's chain, on Saturday, community members are invited to join another friendship chain. Over 150 people are expected to line up and help pass 4,000 books from the Friendship Center to the library, which will open next month.