Christopher Graves said he used to hate going to the library, especially the Central Library in West Columbia, because he just didn't like the crowds.
"One time I had to go to Crown Books to buy one because they were out of the book that I wanted," said Christopher, 11, a sixth-grader at Owen Brown Middle School.
So when he heard a new library was to be built, he was more than happy.
Graves and his sixth-grade class joined the county executive and other community members at the groundbreaking ceremony Thursday afternoon for the new East Columbia Library. The library, which is being built across from Owen Brown Middle School, will be completed by February.
"As you know, Central Library is one of the busiest in the entire country, and we're all filled with pride because of this fact," said -- David Barrett, president of the Howard County board of library trustees. "But the bad news is that if you can find a parking space and if you can find a seat in this library, the materials will be hard to find because so many people use it."
The new library is designed to serve 60,000 patrons and will relieve pressure from the Central Library, which is now used by more than 100,000 people a year, said library Director Marvin Thomas.
The new library will include areas for an audiovisual collection, adult fiction, non-fiction and references.
There also will be a children's section, a community meeting room for citizens organizations, a senior center and nutrition site.
A drive-through station will enable people to drop off books or pick up books reserved in advance.
The contract bid for the library totaled $5.6 million.