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Mayor Greg Fischer Newsroom

Mayor Announces Plans For New Fairdale Library and Addition to Shawnee Branch

Wednesday May 26, 2010

Projects are part of Abramson’s proposed 2010-2011 budget

Mayor Jerry Abramson announced plans today to build a new library in Fairdale focused on technology and to construct a modern addition to the historic Shawnee branch on West Broadway.

The projects are part of the mayor’s proposed budget, which he will unveil Thursday during his annual speech to the Metro Council.

“The people of South Louisville deserve a new, state-of-the-art library — and today we are delivering on that promise,” Abramson said. The mayor also said he has wanted for years to expand the cramped Shawnee branch and “and the time has come to do it.”

The Fairdale branch will be constructed at 10620 W. Manslick Road, on a city-owned site just northeast of the current branch library. The new library will be approximately 7,000 square feet, more than double the existing branch.

Modeled on the successful Newburg Library, the new Fairdale branch will make extensive use of technology, including many public computers, and will take advantage of the open floor layout that has worked well in Newburg.

A large children’s section will support use by pre-school children and students at the elementary school next door, Library Director Craig Buthod said. Space for teen computers and homework support will fulfill a community need for constructive activities after school.

“The new library will be developed with green building construction methods and materials as at Newburg, and will be designed to save energy and operating costs,” Buthod said.

A public meeting has been scheduled for 6:30 p.m. June 8 at the Fairdale library to get community input on the library’s design and amenities.

The $2 million project includes $1 million from the city’s 2010-2011 capital budget, $1 million from the current year’s capital budget, which was set aside for the future branch.

The expansion of the Shawnee Library, 3912 W. Broadway, will cost $1.8 million and comes from the federal Community Development Block Grant — money set aside for investment in low-income neighborhoods.

The Shawnee branch was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression.

The original 7,000 square foot building will be renovated and interior finishes will be upgraded. Some exterior repairs are also planned, in keeping with historic preservation standards.

An additional 3,000 square feet will be constructed to the rear of the building, providing additional study space, a teen space and a reading area for adults. Additional public computers will be provided, and the children’s area will be completely transformed with new children’s collections and furnishings.

Metro Council members who represent the Fairdale and Shawnee areas joined the mayor at today’s announcement.

“I am excited to bring this news to the people in the Fairdale area,” said Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch. “This state of the art library will be a welcome addition to our whole district.”

“The Shawnee area is experiencing a rebirth as a community, “said Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton. “With its long history of service, the Shawnee Library’s presence is key to the continued efforts we are making in the community.”

“The Metro Council is committed to the continued growth of our libraries,” said Councilwoman Judith Green. “I am especially pleased because these announcements will help our children and the community with educational opportunity.”