Library expansion

Project puts Carroll County
library on the move

Collections will be temporarily kept
at former Parkview IGA

By Helen E. McKinney
Contributing Writer

CARROLLTON, Ky. (June 2005) – A decade ago, members of the Carroll County Library Foundation knew that the public library would need to expand some day. At that time, the foundation purchased an adjoining property that will soon be converted to additional library space as soon as funding becomes available.

Carroll County Library Plan

Photo provided

The future renovated library will have a downtown cityscape look to it.

“This is a project that has been in the planning stages for nearly three years,” said Ruth Baxter, chair of the Board of Trustees for the Carroll County Library Foundation and head of fund raising efforts for this project. A marketing study was conducted in 2004 by Woodburn, Kyle and Co. of Madison, Ind., to determine what patrons would most like in a library facility.
The present space the library occupies has “become obsolete for today’s technology and the services that are offered,” said librarian Jarrett Boyd. The current 6,000-square-foot building will expand into 12,000 square feet of space.
The library will expand northward by demolishing the adjoining building, which housed the Port William Antique Mall, and formerly a Dollar Store. It will expand back toward Fourth Street and include an entrance at this end, across from Jefferson Community College. College students will have easy access to the public library, said Boyd.
The building that housed the former antique mall was rented to Linda Johnson for six years, and the rent money was used to pay off the debt incurred from buying the property. The next step is to raise enough money to cover the cost of this $2 million renovation and expansion project, Boyd said.
Bids for the construction phase of the project will be let by Sept. 1.
A Spring Gala fund raiser has been planned for 6 p.m. on June 2 at the Gen. Butler State Resort Park Conference Center. The Gala will include a reception of Kentucky authors Ed McClanahan, David Domine and Byron Crawford. The goal of this event is to encourage prospective donors to pledge financial support to the Library Foundation, said Baxter.
The library has borrowed $1.5 million from the USDA Rural Development. Local banks will provide interim financing, and a capital campaign is underway to raise $800,000 locally, said Boyd.
Industry support in the county includes North American Stainless, which began fund raising efforts by presenting the library with a check for $100,000 in January 2005. Boyd said she hopes other industries will be encouraged to follow suit.
Other local companies that have already contributed to the project are First National Bank of Carrollton, with $10,000; Crawford and Baxter Attorneys with $10,000; and the Nugent Sand Co. with $5,000.
Carroll County Fiscal Court and Judge-Executive Harold Tomlinson have agreed to support the project by making a contribution of $100,000 in next year’s budget, said Tomlinson. Fiscal Court was split on the issue at first but voted 3-1 in favor of the contribution. Funding will become available after the new fiscal year begins on July 1.
There is not enough tax base to raise $800,000 for such a major project, said Tomlinson. Several private individuals have made significant contributions. Those names will be released at a later date.
The foundation had applied for grant funding for this project, but nothing materialized, said Tomlinson, who also sits on the foundation board. He cited the neighboring counties of Grant and Gallatin as having secured grants for similar projects. The lack of a state budget in the past has contributed to the hindrance of receiving any grant money.
The project is expected to take 12-14 months to complete. The temporary location will be the former IGA grocery store in the Parkview Shopping Center. “We’re really looking forward to housing the library at that site,” said Boyd.
The library staff doesn’t know the exact date of the move, but Boyd guessed it to be fall. The library will be closed approximately one week to make the transition. Boyd is considering hiring professional library movers for the relocation job.
In 2001, the foundation board narrowed its selection of five architectural firms whose plans they felt were best suited for the libraries needs. Brandstetter Carroll Inc. was the final choice since it had designed several other libraries.
Baxter cited the leading roof, worn carpet and limited space for educational programs as the biggest problem with the current facility.
An entirely new facade will be created – one that will blend with the 20th century architecture around the Courthouse square, said Boyd. Other amenities will include a local history and genealogy room, a 60-seat meeting room, a children’s wing with computers, and an activity room.
Boyd said she hopes to double the number of adult computers now available to the public, by installing 12 for public use. When the current facility was built, nobody dreamed that computers would someday be included in library reference materials, said Boyd. Audios, DVDs and similar equipment add greatly to the library's permanent collections, so that “not as many reference books are needed,” said Boyd. The new facility will include several online databases.
The new community room will be wired for video conferencing, an addition that is sure to attract use from local industries, Boyd said.
“The entire library will be a “hot spot,” she said. It will be wireless, so that anyone wishing to bring a laptop computer to the library can work from anywhere in the building and be connected to the Internet.

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