Louisville Free Public Library branches were closed for a time in the spring of 2020 and then reopened for curbside pickup and technology appointments. On March 26, 2021, the library will begin offering in-person “Grab and Go” access to library materials. (Check here for the latest on openings) This will allow book lovers to return to the Northeast Regional branch which was designed with light, people, and books in mind. One of its most unique features is its river of books which visitors can walk up and down; this design was intentional according to communications director Paul Burns. “One of the goals [was] to put books front and center,” he says.
This branch, which opened in 2019, has consistently had very high circulation rates. Paul says in its first month, the branch moved 65,000 items, which is almost two-thirds of its total collection. In comparison, the next highest circulation rate is at the St. Matthews branch, with a circulation rate of around 35,000.
Another feature of the Northeast branch is the Maker Pavilion, which consists of a demonstration kitchen, an audio/visual lab, and the maker lab. “The library is all about learning,” Paul says, and these sections allowed library users to learn in fun and interesting ways. Some patrons used the recording booth to record oral histories with family members, while others attended cooking demonstrations hosted by 4H in the kitchen. Patrons regularly visited the maker lab where they could craft, sew, and design. “It was definitely a lively and well-utilized space in the library,” says Paul.
For those not ready to return in-person, the library will continue to offer curbside pickup, and assistance with technology issues and questions. The technology appointments that patrons can make by calling 502.574.1611 aren’t just for people who want to use the library’s branch computers. Someone who needs help learning to use Libby for book downloads or LibroFM for audiobooks can call to get assistance.
By Carrie Vittitoe | Photos submitted