by Kay Steele Faulk
photography by Bob Lanham
Leaders and residents of Frankfort and Franklin County place a high value on the contribution a top-notch public library adds to quality of life.
Proof of this is the new 40,000-square-foot building with parking garage at 319 Wapping Street that now houses the Paul Sawyier Public Library.
According to Donna Gibson, library executive director, the new two-story building more than tripled the size of the old library. As a result, circulation has increased 25% and an average of 600 people visit the library daily to check out nearly 400,000 items a year.
“The new library has become a community gathering area,” Gibson said. “People come here for all sorts of reasons. Our collection holds 110,947 items that inspire learning, invite interaction and provide access to information and knowledge for people of all ages.” The collection includes print books, audio books, music CDs, computer CD-ROMs, magazines, newspapers and movie DVDs. “And everything checks out for three weeks, including DVDs.”
The library has computers with Internet access for free public use. “And now, we have a computer classroom and offer classes on everything from Microsoft Word and Excel to navigating eBay,” Gibson said. “We also offer specialized classes on topics such as resume writing, genealogy and online job search. We’re constantly expanding our class offerings.”
The library’s collection of movie DVDs is quite extensive and very popular with residents. To make checkout as quick and easy as possible, the library uses RFID, a radio frequency checkout system. The executive director said they’re always on the lookout for new technology that can streamline checkout even more.
Also attracting patrons to the new library are the comfortable seating areas where people can sit down, relax and read. A community room, a conference room and two study rooms are all available for free public use, requiring only a reservation.
And believe it or not, if you can’t come to the library, the library will come to you! Through its outreach program, two outreach librarians provide free book selection and delivery to Frankfort and Franklin County residents who can’t get to the library because of age, illness or physical disability. All it takes is a phone call to 502-352-2665 ext.111.
The children’s section of the new library provides children from birth to 12 with plenty of room for exploration and fun. “Making this section feel especially warm and cozy is a colorful mural painted by Kentucky artists Byron Roberts and Gayle Timmons,” Gibson said. “And the stained glass window depicting native birds of Kentucky is a stunning display of art sure to inspire creativity in the library’s youngest patrons.”
Another welcome addition in the new building that’s receiving lots of use is the spacious and colorful programming room for children and families. “The children’s programming at the new Paul Sawyier Library is simply wonderful,” the executive director said. “We always add programs for the summer months and this summer, in addition to the traditional children’s summer reading program, we’re offering an adult reading program that’s family oriented.”
The new library building even has an area that’s just for teens, and it includes computers.
For more information, call 502-352-2665 or visit www.pspl.org.
To learn about the Friends of the Paul Sawyier Public Library and how you can participate, visit www.psplfriends.org.