Major State Grant Allows New South Central Regional Library to Move Forward

November 5, 2014

Mayor Greg Fischer announced today that the new South Central Regional Library in Okolona will be able to start construction within a year thanks in part to a major grant announced today.

The grant comes from the Public Library Facility Construction program of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives (KDLA).  The Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) is one of ten libraries statewide that were awarded KDLA grants, representing the largest funding for library construction in Kentucky history.

“Libraries are an invaluable investment in the lifelong learning of this community,” Fischer said.  “That’s why it is so exciting to be able to provide the increased capacity and services that come with building regional libraries.”

The South Central Regional Library will be built on a site owned by the city at Jefferson Boulevard and McCauley Road near Jefferson Mall and will serve more than 160,000 people in a five mile radius.  Like the state-of-the-art Southwest Regional Library just opened on Dixie Highway, the new South Central Regional will stock more than 100,000 books and other materials and will include more public computers, community meeting rooms, and space for homework and quiet study.  A large children’s library and a dedicated area for teens are also planned.

Fischer and the Metro Council set aside $400,000 for the design phase of the South Central branch in the 2014-15 budget. Over the next three months, the Louisville Free Public Library will begin soliciting community input from library patrons and other residents of south central Louisville at three scheduled public meetings and online at LFPL.org.

“Our goal is to bring first-rate, 21st century libraries to every corner of our community,” said Library Director Craig Buthod. “Constructing a world-class facility in such a central location gets us one step closer to fulfilling that goal.”

The total price tag for construction, books, computers and furnishings is estimated at $14.5 million, with $6 million coming from the state, $6 million in capital funds proposed by Mayor Fischer, and the additional $2.5 million to be raised from private donors. The state grant will provide $460,000 annually for the next 20 years and will be used to pay debt service on bonds issued by the city.  Construction of the library is slated to begin in 2016. 

The South Central Regional Library is the second of three regional libraries included in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Updated Master Plan, which was approved by the Metro Council in 2009.  The Southwest Regional Library opened its doors on October 5.  The third planned regional library is slated for northeast Louisville. 

Funding for Library Construction Grants was proposed by Governor Steve Beshear and approved by the 2014 General Assembly.

Members of the community are invited to attend the following Public Meetings:

  • Tuesday, November 18, 6:30 p.m. in the Okolona Library Meeting Room, 7709 Preston Highway
  • Wednesday, December 3, 6:30 p.m. in the Okolona Library Meeting Room, 7709 Preston Highway
  • Tuesday, January 27, 6:30 p.m. hosted by Councilwoman Madonna Flood at Okolona Fire Station #1, 8501 Preston Highway