The new Union branch of the Scenic Regional Library has set the date to celebrate its grand opening.

A ceremony has been scheduled for Saturday, July 20, at 11:30 a.m. at the new library. 

Missouri Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at event.  The secretary of state oversees the Missouri State Library. 

Since his election, Ashcroft has been a strong and vocal advocate for Missouri’s public libraries.

 The event will also include a ribbon cutting with the Union Area Chamber of Commerce, other guest speakers, food, children’s activities, and a 90-minute concert by the band Alderwood. 

The new Union facility is expected to open in late June.

The building is being constructed between Anytime Fitness and The Pasta House off Independence Drive. A service road will be extended to the new library.

The location was chosen after exploring several sites along the Highway 47 corridor, downtown, the library’s current location and sites in the area of Prairie Dell/East Central College, east of its current location off Highway 50.

The new Union branch will be massive compared to its current facilities. The library purchased nearly 3 acres for the building and plans to use the space.

The building will include the library, bookmobile and administration offices, which now are housed in a separate building at the Union branch site.

Plans call for the building to be approximately 23,000 square feet — 17,200 square feet for the Union branch and 5,800 square feet for the administrative offices and bookmobile. The current size of the library is 7,000 square feet.

The new library will have 106 parking spaces, more than double at the current building. Meeting room space will triple.

The building also will feature new furniture and more amenities for visitors.

Plans call for more outdoor space, a children’s area and even a place for teens. More space also means more books.

Total costs are expected to be between $6 million to $6.5 million.

Construction on the library started last summer. A formal groundbreaking was held in May.