In less than a year, residents in the city of Hawesville and Hancock County, Kentucky., will have a brand new library that will be twice as large as the existing one. The new 10,000 square foot facility will provide additional space for computers with Internet access, public meeting rooms and educational classes. Perhaps even more important, patrons will no longer have to share parking with the courthouse and a local funeral home that are both located in the same downtown area.
Dozens of residents turned out on April 28 to break ground at the construction site and they were joined by local, state and federal officials to mark the occasion. USDA Rural Development State Director Tom Fern announced funding support to David Hobbs, president of the Hancock County Library Board, in the amount of $2.3 million.
“I applaud you for taking the initiative to apply for this funding and making your new library a reality,” said Fern. “You have taken advantage of a wonderful opportunity to dramatically expand access to public libraries across rural America, and as a result, you are helping to improve the quality of life for rural Kentuckians for decades to come.”
Librarian Tina Snider could barely contain her enthusiasm, knowing that her dream of a new library was finally being realized after years of searching for funding. She expressed her gratitude to Rural Development for providing the USDA Community Facilities (CF) direct loan that made it possible.
“We will be able to offer more computer classes and we’ll have a public meeting space that groups in the community can use,” said Snyder. “We get numerous calls in a month from people wanting to have a meeting space and there’s not really a lot of area here in the community to do that.”
The new library is scheduled to be completed in April 2012.
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced USDA’s Rural Libraries Initiative in December 2009, making USDA Rural Development CF loan and grant funds available to support the construction, renovation, expansion or improvement of public libraries across rural America. Since the initiative began, Rural Development has committed to helping six rural Kentucky counties build new libraries – investing more than $10.4 million in rural communities across the state.