Inside the 8 million Main Library transformation

Expect an upgrade come June 2025.

LOUtoday_Main Library

The Main Library was built in 1906 thanks to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie.

Photo by LOUtoday

Last Friday, Mayor Greg Fischer swung a sledgehammer into a wall of the Main Louisville Free Public Library.

The destruction was welcomed and denoted the beginning of an $8 million transformation of the historic building built in 1906.

The Main Library at 301 York St. downtown is Kentucky’s largest library and serves as the heart of the 17-branch library system in Jefferson County — which will soon be 18 after the construction of the Fern Creek branch.

Loutoday_Main Library lobby

The Carnegie lobby features barrel-vaulted ceilings, marble columns, neo-Renaissance murals, and staircases with bronze and iron railings.

Photo by LOUtoday

The transformation will include:

  • Improvements to the 1969 exterior additions and landscaping
  • Possible addition of a public art installation
  • Reopening the third floor which closed in 2018 due to budget cuts — to include interactive learning spaces and labs
  • The six floors of library shelving with ~230,000 books will be reimagined into a 16,000-sqft public space

The renovations are being funded by Metro government via the American Rescue Plan and are expected to be finished in June 2025.

Over the last 12 years, Metro has invested $55 million in the library system, having constructed three new regional libraries and renovated 10 neighborhood libraries.

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