Wednesday, July 11, 2001

Ground broken for new Erlanger branch library




By Cindy Schroeder
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ERLANGER — In its 87-year history, the public library has been housed in everything from a bank to a church to a department store.

        Now, Kentucky's busiest branch library will soon have its eighth home in nearly a century — a $7 million, state-of-the-art single-story facility, complete with a reading garden and a drive-through window for picking up materials on hold, paying fines, and other quick transactions.

ERLANGER LIBRARY
[photo] The $7 million library.
(Artist rendering)
| ZOOM |
    • Location: 10-acre site bordered by Hulbert Avenue, Riggs Road and Kenton Lands Road across from the Baptist Village retirement center.
   • Cost: The $7 million project will be funded through grants, library savings and a bond issue. The library board is seeking financial contributions from community leaders and businesses.
   • Special features:
   37-foot clock tower; 6,400-square-foot children's department that includes a separate entrance for children and special areas for toddlers and preschoolers; audio visual area that accommodates 15,000 materials; computer lab; reading garden/courtyard accessible from inside; separate reference area, as well as a young adult area, a quiet room, a study room that can be used for small study groups or tutoring, and a 2,000 square foot meeting room.
   • Opening date: Fall, 2002
   • Information: Visit the library's wWeb site at www.kenton.lib.ky.us for construction updates and pictures.
        More than 100 library supporters attended a ground breaking Tuesday for the new Erlanger branch of the Kenton County Public Library. Among those wielding shovels at 401 Kenton Lands Road were eight children from the library system's summer reading program.

        “It is for them and for our future that we're building this library,” said Patti Richards, coordinator for children' services for the Kenton County Public Library system.

        Scheduled to open in fall 2002, the 34,294-square-foot library is more than twice the size of the current landlocked Erlanger branch at 3130 Dixie Highway.

        “I can't wait,” said Anita Carroll, the head librarian at Erlanger. “It's going to allow us to do our jobs 100 percent better.”

        At the current Erlanger branch, there isn't enough room to shelve all of the books, patrons often have to stand in line to use computers, and users frequently complain about the noise and lack of parking, staff members say.

        Despite its cramped quarters, the Erlanger branch is the highest-circulating library in the state, said Robin Klaene, the library's public relations director. In the 1999-2000 fiscal year, the Erlanger library circulated 535,966 items — more than either of the main libraries in Lexington and Louisville.

        The new library will include a separate children's department, a computer lab, a reference department, a large audio visual area, 152 parking spaces, and meeting space for 250 people.

        The library will be built by Quantum Construction. It was designed by the architectural firm of Robert Ehmet Hayes & Associates, which also designed three other Kenton County library branches.

        At Tuesday's ceremony, John Toelke, president of the Kenton County Library board of trustees, recalled how library supporters had spent the past two years looking at more than two dozen sites in search of one that was accessible, buildable and affordable.

        “This is a special day for the library, for Erlanger and for all the residents of Kenton County,” said library director Wayne Onkst. Besides providing quality library service, he said, the new Erlanger branch “will serve as a community center, a landmark, and a showplace that will attract development for the area.”
       



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