Louisville Leader Named Librarian of the Year

by ekramer on January 11, 2010

Today, a leading library publication has chosen Louisville’s public library director for an award. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

The Library Journal named Louisville Free Public Library Director Craig Buthod its Librarian of the Year for 2010. Buthod appears on the magazine’s cover this month.

The award comes after a year when a flood devastated the main branch’s basement and the building’s heating and cooling systems. Buthod says the experience was crushing at the onset.

“That was really, really rough, but that was about 24 hours,” he says. “And then there was a turning point were all of us saw — well, this is a big project, we’ve got to solve this. And it became a work project.”

The branch is now undergoing a nearly $8 million renovation with insurance and FEMA funds covering most of the cost.

The award also comes two years Buthod said he would press on with plans to renovate many of the system’s buildings [pdf] after voters rejected a tax that would have benefited the library. The library opened a branch in Newburg in August.

Buthod says work on the main branch should be completed in about 90 days and that the replacement of heating and cooling systems will save the library money.

“We will cut the utilities in this building by 30 to 50 percent,” he says, “which is a terrific way of using technology. And it’s unusual in a building this old to be able to do that because we had to change everything all at once because it all works together.”

Buthod says the award is something earned by the library staff as well as Louisville citizens.

“They have been very demanding and have set an expectation of excellence library service that is very difficult to meet,” he says. “And that’s exactly what we need from the public. They need to demand the best of us.”

He says that meeting the public’s increased demands during recession with no increase in funding has been a challenge.

Buthod, who is from Tulsa, Okla., has led the library system since 1998 and in 2007 saw the public vote against a tax proposal that would have funded library improvements.

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