Home » 10 public libraries receive $20M in construction grants over 20 years

10 public libraries receive $20M in construction grants over 20 years

To build new facilities, expand or renovate

FRANKFORT, Ky. (May 23, 2017) — The Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA) has awarded 10 Public Library Facilities Construction Fund grants totaling $20 million over 20 years. Each library will receive an allotted dollar amount annually for the next 20 years to assist with debt retirement.

William B. Harlan Memorial Library in Tompkinsville
William B. Harlan Memorial Library in Tompkinsville

The total amount KDLA is distributing among the libraries per year is $1 million. Yearly allotments range from $18,200 to $207,390, depending on the size of each library’s grant. KDLA is an agency of the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

Four of the libraries are building a new facility, with the remaining six libraries using the grant to expand and renovate. Grant recipients are Clay County Public Library, Corbin Public Library, Grant County Public Library, Henry County Public Library, Louisville Free Public Library, Larue County Public Library, Madison County Public Library, Marion County Public Library, William B. Harlan Memorial Library (Monroe County) and Russell County Public Library.

The Statistical Report of Kentucky Public Libraries, Fiscal Year 2015-2016 reports that the number of people who entered a public library last year in Kentucky was 18,108,790. More and more libraries are falling behind in having adequate square footage to provide for the needs of the community. As library usage continues to grow rapidly, current space remains below the minimum square footage recommended in the Kentucky Public Library Standards document.

All 10 of the grant recipients are dramatically increasing meeting space. The report found that last year 25,677 unique groups held 88,070 meetings in public libraries.

Kentucky libraries also find that they are in desperate need of additional programming space. According to the report, 97,632 programs were held in public libraries last year with a total attendance of 2,442,452 children, teens and adults.

Many of the new libraries and additions will include a new form of programming space called maker spaces. A maker space is an area that enables a variety of experiential learning opportunities such as crafting, media production, cooking, and health-related activities.

Other features included in the plans are expanded children’s rooms, new and expanded teen areas, local history/genealogy rooms, comfortable reading spaces, Internet Café’s, elevators, Americans with Disabilities Act compliant restrooms, greatly increased parking spaces and outdoor reading areas.

The Public Library Facilities Construction Fund program, authorized by the Kentucky General Assembly in 2000, was designed to improve local library facilities around the state. Thirty-seven libraries in 36 Kentucky counties are currently utilizing funds from the program. Since 2000, KDLA has awarded a total of more than $44.5 million to 48 public libraries.