Public Library goes green
follows LEED standards
for long-term cost-effectiveness
Helen E. McKinney
LA GRANGE, Ky. (January 2009) When the doors
open Jan. 11 on the new Oldham County Public Library at 308 Yager Ave.,
in La Grange, patrons should be delighted at what confronts them. Gone
are the cramped spaces and waiting in line to use computers, all replaced
by a streamlined, eco-friendly aesthetic structure.
Were building our library to be a green library,
said Library Director Susan Eubank. The new structure is 30,000 square
feet, three times larger than all three Oldham County branches put together.
It is located on Yager Ave., behind the Oldham Plaza on Hwy. 53.
Eubank has been waiting patiently for this day to arrive. She worked
for the Oldham County Public Library system for 16 years before becoming
Library Director in 2001.
The new library is a culmination of hard work, community support and
answered prayers. The facade is reminiscent of the 1930s arts and crafts
style, using lots of stone, wood and colors found in nature.
An open house is tentatively planned for the community from 2 p.m. to
6 p.m. on Jan. 11. In addition to childrens activities and musical
entertainment, tours will be given of the library.
The $7.2 million building was designed to have a lodge-like feel, said
Eubank. Im excited about it for the community. The county
hasnt lacked for service in the past, just space.
In the former building, known as the Duerson Library, the childrens
programs had to be held in the collection room. In the new library,
a spacious childrens area is complete with 12 computer stations,
books and nooks and crannies for library personal to store and organize
their materials. There will be a separate teen space for young adults.
Since children frequently sit on the floor for childrens programs,
the floor employs radiant heating. All lights are occupancy censored
and will go out 10 minutes after the last person leaves the room, an
energy saving feature, said Eubank. Several of the rooms contain pendant
lights that will dim down automatically by working in conjunction with
clear story windows.
A central, double-sided floor to ceiling propane fireplace is surrounded
by a lounge area complete with café tables, magazines and a vending
area nearby. The mantel for the fireplace was made from old growth poplar
beams taken from a historic building in downtown Louisville.
by Helen E. McKinney
new $7.2 million Oldham County
Public Library has spacious rooms
and better computer access with its
30,000 square feet of eco-friendly space.
Eubanks recalled that when her father died, her mother
often visited the Boyle County Public Library. It was a place where
her mother could relax and be surrounded by friendly people and not
feel so alone, said Eubank. She hopes this lounge area will be just
as relaxing and calming for Oldham County residents.
Many recycled items have been used in the building of the new library.
This way of thinking will help the library achieve LEED (Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, which is what we
are going for, said Bethany Morse, Outreach Librarian. LEED is a rating
system with specifications established by the U.S. Green Building Council.
The Oldham County Public Library will be the first in the state to be
A rainwater catchment system has been installed. Rainwater is collected
through the roof and directed through building gutters to a 15,000-gallon
underground tank. The water is filtered for toilet use and landscape
A rain garden will let water soak into the ground slowly and aid with
storm water runoff. I hope the facility will be a teaching facility
about being green, said Eubank.
The building project was kick started with a $1.5 million local development
grant that State Sen. Ernie Harris facilitated for the project. Due
to a building fund that was begun nine years ago, the library was able
to save $1 million on its own and has sold local obligation bonds for
The State Department for Libraries, through the Public Library Construction
Fund Act, granted $120,000 a year for the next 20 years for debt retirement.
As many trees as possible were preserved on the 8.5-acre lot. A one-third
of a mile walking trail winds along the property amidst redbuds, elms,
walnuts, oaks and sycamores. Boone Gardiner Nursery is landscaping trees,
plants and grasses native to the area, complemented by two rustic bridges
that cross a few creeks on the property.
For those patrons in a hurry, a drive-through bookdrop and pickup window
will be available. All administrative offices will be moved from their
former small space in Buckner to the new library as well.
A reading terrace complements the outside of the building. This space
may be used for childrens programming during warmer months. Engraved
pavers can be purchased for $50 for this space.
Robert Ehmet Hayes & Associates of Fort Mitchell, Ky., was the architect
for this project. The Morel Construction Co. Inc. of Louisville, Ky.,
was the construction contractor.
The Duerson branch closed Nov. 29 with a Passing of the Book Ceremony.
There were about 80 people present from the community, said Morse. The
crowd walked from the old library to the new one, picking up individuals
along the way.
Several community leaders and long-time library patrons were interspersed
along the route, said Morse. Certain individuals were chosen to
bear a symbolic book from the Duerson branch to the new Main Library
on Yager Avenue. The Duerson branch was built in 1968 as part of the
county wide library system. This site is currently for sale.
Back to January 2009