Despite below-freezing temperatures and high-wind advisories, more than 50 residents of Hardinsburg and Breckinridge County, Kentucky, turned out recently to celebrate the groundbreaking of a new public library. The crowd included local high school students, city and county officials, library board trustees and members and local law enforcement.
USDA Rural Development awarded the library board a Community Facilities direct loan to construct a new 10,000 square foot building to serve the more than 18,000 residents of rural Breckinridge County. The new facility will have ample parking and offer community access to public computers with Internet access. There also will be public meeting space available for use by local organizations.
“No community is complete without a vibrant public library, which provides small town residents with access to tools to improve their quality of life,” said Tom Fern, State Director for Rural Development. “Libraries play a vital role in bridging the digital divide between our urban and rural communities by providing computers with Internet access for public use. Oftentimes, the public library is the only place in a rural town where people can do research for school, take advantage of distance learning opportunities, look for a job or market a product or service.”
The library’s current facility – which was built in 1971 – was outdated and could no longer adequately meet the needs of the community.
Wayne Onkst, state librarian and commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Library and Archives, also was on hand to mark the occasion.
“It’s nice to see so many people here today because this truly is a partnership,” said Onkst. “Projects like this are a lot of work – but for Holly and her staff, it’s a dream come true. It is money well spent and will improve the quality of life for this community.”
To learn how your community can benefit from USDA’s Community Facilities program click here.