An improved Shawnee Library will open Saturday after being closed eight months for a $1.3 million upgrade.
The project has nearly doubled the space for the west Louisville branch, which is located on 40th and Broadway, adding news books and computers, and a children and teenage area.
The work included a two-floor expansion that added 6,000 square feet to the historic structure, which was first built in 1938. Funding was secured through a federal grant allocation and private donations from the Library Foundation.
Louisville Free Public Library Director Craig Buthod says residents have missed the branch, but renovating the 73-year-old structure was important because of growing demand.
“The library serves a community that is eager for library service. We’ve learned that both from the years we’ve operated there and from the short period when we’ve been closed. We’ve heard from people that they need and love their Shawnee library. Getting this library updated and expanded has been part of our master plan from the beginning. It feels good to have one more piece of the master plan accomplished,” he says.
Buthod says the next big project for the city’s library system master plan is to renovate and expand the historic Western Library located on Tenth and Chestnut Streets.
“The Western branch is an especially historic building there and the library has been in use for 100 years. We’re going to be renovating all the interior spaces and creating a new African-American studies center in the lower level,” says Buthod.
The public is invited to the Shawnee branch’s grand reopening to take a tour of the new facilities Saturday at 11 a.m.