FORSYTH TOWNSHIP — The community of Forsyth Township got together today to celebrate the groundbreaking of its new library.

“Our current library is 1,800 square feet, and we knew in the early 2000s that we were outgrowing it,” Forsyth Township Public Library president Donna Adams said.

A donation of $255,000 from Dr. Robert Goodman in 2007 got the ball rolling on the construction of a brand new and significantly expanded library. Over the past year, the library gathered numerous contributions from local businesses and patrons, including a $150,000 gift from the Cliffs and Eagle Mine Marquette County Community Fund, to pay for the construction of the new building just two doors down from the current facility.

In addition to more space, the new library will include a study room, a community room, and a bigger area for kids to enjoy story time.

“In the past, we’ve had to do story time when we’re closed because we’re all sharing the same space, and also we’ve had computer classes that we’ve offered, but again they’ve had to be when the library is closed,” library director Pamela Withrow said. “With the meeting room, we can gather there and do the instruction while the library is open.”

Officials hope the new facility will be another asset in Gwinn’s thriving downtown area while helping the library to maintain and improve the many services it offers to the surrounding community.

“Two weeks ago, we had somebody get a job because of being able to use our Internet, our computers,” Withrow added. “A lot of people come in to check their e-mail because they don’t have internet at home. We also offer free research and educational materials. Libraries are a great equalizer when it comes to education.”

“If we didn’t have a public library, our patrons would have to travel into Marquette for library use, and every time you have someone travel outside the community, they’re not spending their money here, and they’re not participating or engaged in the community,” Adams said.

The Forsyth Township Public Library will be working to raise more funds to furnish the new building, which is expected to be complete near the end of January.