By William Croyle
NEWPORT - For 102 years there has been a public library here at Fourth and Monmouth streets.
That will end May 1 when the Newport Branch of the Campbell County Public Library system closes those doors to open a new building a mile away on May 16.
The new $4 million, 27,000-square-foot facility on East Sixth Street is across from Newport High School and will replace the current 9,710-square-foot building. The smaller building was constructed in 1902 for $26,500. It was the first in the state built with a grant from self-made billionaire Andrew Carnegie, who funded the construction of more than 2,500 libraries worldwide.
County library director JC Morgan said the architecture and history of the old building will be missed, but it's a move that is long overdue.
"There's very little staff space, very little study space and no room for computers," said Morgan. "It's just too overcrowded."
The new library will have the capacity to hold 85,000 volumes of books, tapes and DVDs on the top floor alone. The bottom floor will be used as the library's inventory expands. There will be about 30 computers (20 with Internet access), an 80-seat conference room, 70 parking spaces, handicap accessibility, and a large window overlooking Mount Adams.
The old building housed the Newport Public Library for 76 years before the county library system bought it in 1978. It's packed wall-to-wall with 45,000 volumes, five computers, and a 40-seat meeting room. There are only 10 parking spots and no handicap accessibility.
"I expect within a year the circulation in Newport will triple," said Phil Carrico, consultant on the new building's design. "We almost have a built-in clientele across the street with Newport High School, and Bellevue High School is down the road. We also wanted to be as close to the Bellevue/Dayton line as possible."
Carrico was the state's regional librarian in Northern Kentucky from 1968 to 1990. He became the Campbell County Public Library director in 1990 and retired in 1999.
Carrico was instrumental in securing a $114,000 annual grant for 20 years to help pay for the new library. Money from the sale of the old building will also be applied to the cost of the new one.
The closing ceremony for the old branch will be from 4-5 p.m. on Saturday. The opening ceremony for the new branch at 901 E. Sixth St. will be from 1:30-5 p.m. May 16. For more information, call 572-5035.
There will be no library service from May 2-15 during the move.
Features of the new library:
27,000 square feet, the largest of the county's three branches
Can hold 85,000 materials on the top floor alone
About 30 computers, 20 with Internet access
Kentucky history room with genealogy and local history Internet stations
Meeting room for 80 people
Separate circulation and reference desks
Lounge-style seating for adults and young adults
9 adult and 6 children's reading/study tables
27-foot ceiling on top floor
70-space parking lot
In compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act
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