Thursday, June 22, 2000

Erlanger library plans to almost double in size

Crowded branch is busiest in state

By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — The busiest library branch in Kentucky will be replaced in two years by a new building nearly twice as large, thanks in part to a $350,000 state grant, library officials said Wednesday.

        The grant will help pay for the proposed $5.5 million Erlanger branch, planned for a 10-acre site at 401 Kenton Lands Road.

        The new branch will have a larger meeting room, a separate children's department, a larger audiovisual section, and more computers than the present library.

        Director Wayne Onkst said the library system also hopes to put in a drive-through window — similar to the one at the public library in downtown Cincinnati — for readers to pick up books on reserve.

        “The general citizen compares the library to the service industry, places like Wal-Mart, Pizza Hut and banks,” said Jim Nelson, state librarian and commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives.

        “So if they're used to getting things more easily, then the libraries will just have to compete with that.”

        At the existing Erlanger branch, on Dixie Highway, library users have long com plained about inadequate parking and having to wait in line to use computers, Mr. Onkst said. Other problems include inadequate space for materials, children's books and meetings.

        The Erlanger library is the busiest in Kentucky, with an annual circulation of 542,486 items and more than 30,000 visitors a month, Mr. Onkst said.

        Construction of the new one-story, 30,000- to 35,000-square-foot branch is scheduled to begin in spring 2001, with completion a year later.

        The Kenton County Public Library System will borrow, or issue bonds, for half of the $5.5 million cost and seek other grants and contributions for the rest.


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