Louisville Free Public Library
|Louisville Free Public Library|
|Reference to legal mandate||KRS 173.105|
|Access and use|
|Budget||$22,298,100 (FY '21)|
|Affiliation||AFSCME Local 3425|
The Louisville Free Public Library was created in 1902 by an act of the Kentucky State Legislature, and in 1904 it merged with the Polytechnic Society. Services began in 1905 when the Polytechnic Society's collection, held in the top floors of the Kenyon Building, was open to the public. Although the Main Library was completed in 1906, patron services did not officially begin until 1908.
Additional branches were added over time, including the Western Colored Branch, which was the first Carnegie-housed library in the U.S. built solely for African Americans. Thomas Fountain Blue was appointed head of the Colored Branch in 1905 as well as the Eastern Colored Branch when it opened in 1914; he also started the first library training program for African Americans in the United States. At one time LFPL had over 30 branches, but a number of them were forced to close due to lack of funding. Currently, there are 16 branches, in addition to the main library site. Internet services and inter-library loan have helped to make up for having fewer branches.
Flood of 1937
The infamous Flood of 1937 damaged both the Portland and Main branches. Since 1908 a museum was opened to the public in the basement of the York Street branch. After the devastating flood, the museum was temporary relocated to the Monserrat school. In 1971, the museum moved downtown to West Main Street to become the Louisville Science & History Museum.
Tax Referendum of 2007
In 2007, a proposed tax increase to pay for Louisville Free Public Library improvements and ongoing costs was soundly defeated in spite of strong support by many political and business leaders. Nonetheless, with the help of the Library Foundation and community support, a new education and technology-driven, $1.9 million branch library was completed and opened in the Newburg area (a traditionally underserved community) in August 2009.
Flood of 2009
In early August 2009 the main branch was flooded when a storm dropped 7 inches (18 cm) of water on the city in 75 minutes. The library servers, bookmobiles, offices, and processing rooms were under 6 feet (180 cm) of water. 50,000 books were destroyed, and the building severely damaged, with a total estimate of $5 million. Structural, mechanical, electrical, and computer systems damage were near complete, forcing the main library to close for several weeks. Other branches in the system in hard-hit areas were closed for a few days while damage was assessed and cleanup undertaken. The library system itself remained open for business throughout the event. The last time the main building had flooded was in the Ohio River flood of 1937. Three other branches of the library system were damaged or affected in the flooding as well: Bon Air Regional Branch, Iroquois Branch, and Shawnee Branch libraries. Despite the level of damage, library services at all branches, including the main, were able to return to near full service.
The Main Library serves as a central hub to the library system, including facilities, content management, and administration. In addition to the Main Library, LFPL has 16 branch libraries. The main library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
|Main Library||301 York St, Louisville, Kentucky 40203|
|Bon Air||2816 Del Rio Pl. Louisville, Kentucky 40220|
|Crescent Hill||2762 Frankfort Ave., Louisville, KY 40206|
|Fairdale||10620 W. Manslick Rd, Louisville, KY 40118|
|Highlands-Shelby Park||1250 Bardstown Rd., #4, Louisville, KY 40204|
|Iroquois||601 W. Woodlawn Ave., Louisville, KY 40215|
|Jeffersontown||10635 Watterson Trail, Louisville, KY 40299|
|Middletown||12556 Shelbyville Road, Louisville, KY 40243|
|Newburg||4800 Exeter Ave., Louisville, KY 40218|
|Northeast Regional||15 Bellevoir Circle, Louisville, KY 40223|
|Portland||3305 Northwestern Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40212|
|St. Matthews||3940 Grandview Ave., Louisville, KY 40207|
|Shawnee||3912 West Broadway, Louisville, KY 40211|
|Shively||3920 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40216|
|South Central Regional||7300 Jefferson Boulevard, Louisville, KY 40219|
|Southwest Regional||9725 Dixie Highway, Louisville, KY 40272|
|Western||604 South Tenth Street, Louisville, KY 40203|
The majority of LFPL's employees are employed through a collective bargaining agreement between AFSCME Local 3425 and Louisville Metro Government.
- The library's Head of Reference from its opening until 1910 was Marilla Waite Freeman, who would go on to become one of the most well-known librarians in the country.
- Bennett H. Young, founder.
- Mayor Charles F. Grainger, founder.
- "LFPL Services". Louisville Free Public Library. Retrieved April 4, 2022.
- "Page 102". The Courier-Journal. 27 July 1958. ProQuest 1866327204.
- Louisville Free Public Library Board of Trustees. Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Louisville Free Public Library (1905-1911). Louisville, Kentucky. Retrieved 20 November 2017.
- Burress, Jacob Carlton (2016). The colored librarian: Thomas F. Blue and the Louisville Free Public Library's Colored Department, 1905–1935 (MA). Louisville, Kentucky: University of Louisville. p. 3. doi:10.18297/etd/2420.
- "Mayor Leads "Sneak Peek" of Newburg Library - 2009 - LouisvilleKy.gov". Archived from the original on 2009-11-13. Retrieved 2019-07-23.
- "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Louisville Free Public Library". National Park Service. Retrieved October 15, 2020. With accompanying pictures
- Louisville Free Public Library
- Annual Report of the Board of Trustees of the Louisville Free Public Library, The Library, 1905, OCLC 1644732, OL 20486125M
- Louisville Free Public Library (1914), Some books in the Louisville Free Public Library of interest to Catholic readers, Louisville, Ky, OCLC 8107487, OL 6581880M