A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Friends of the Kenton County Library to resume book sales that cover shortfall in traditional funding

Did you know that the Kenton County Public Library District might not exist except for the work of a handful of very dedicated volunteers?

Prior to 1967, there were two libraries in the county – the Covington Library and a library in Erlanger sponsored by the Erlanger Women’s Club. There was also a state-supported bookmobile that served rural Kenton County.

The original Erlanger library (Photo from KCPL)

In 1967, Judge Executive Jim Dressman created a committee charged with getting signatures from Kenton County residents to place a proposal on the ballot to establish a taxing district to create stable funding for a library system. Clyde Middleton and Larry Grause co-chaired this committee.

These two “Friends” enlisted others to achieve their goal. The petition called for the Covington Library and the Erlanger Library to merge to create the Kenton County Public Library District. The ballot easily passed in the November election and the Kenton County Public Library District was established.

The Secretary of State approved the creation of the Friends of the Kenton County Public Library on April 7, 1980. And the Friends have been supporting the library ever since.

Annually the Friends have donated proceeds from book sales to fulfill staff requests that are not able to be accommodated through traditional funding. Examples include:

• Prizes for children for the Summer Reading Club
• Senior Thanksgiving Luncheon
• Animal upkeep/aquariums at Durr Branch
• Business Center equipment
• Engraver/embosser and embroidery machine for the STREAM Center/makerspace
• Support of the Haunted Library event (over 1,000 attendees in two days)
• Reading Garden upkeep
• Microfilm readers for Local History & Genealogy Department

Cierra Earl was the recipient of the 2021 Friends of KCPL scholarship. (From KCPL)

The Friends also give an annual scholarship to a staff member furthering their education. This year, library historian Cierra Earl was the recipient. Cierra is attending the University of Kentucky for a Master’s in Library Science.

“The Friends of the Kenton County Public Library are a small but very impactful group,” states Dave Schroeder, the library’s Executive Director. “Through their book sales and memberships, they are able to provide items that we might not be able to offer the community otherwise. The book sales, the primary source of income for the Friends, are a lot of work but it not only helps the library through the sales, it also offers an opportunity to shoppers to build their personal libraries at home. It’s also a great source of gifts as you can often find books that are nearly new.”

Books in the sale are either donated or are items that have been withdrawn from the library’s collection. Covid-19 has also affected the Friends. As people were stuck in their homes, many used the time to clean and declutter. And a lot of these items were books. Books that are donated to the library are housed in the basement of the Durr branch. At the height of the pandemic, there were approximately donated or withdrawn approximately 20,000 books and other materials. Over 1,000 boxes of books took up nearly one-third of the basement, to the point staff had to stop accepting them.

Books offered during a previous sale (Photo from KCPL

“We simply ran out of room,” said Schroeder. “The Friends are starting their sales again this fall. Additionally, we have offered teachers an opportunity to get boxes of books for their classrooms at no cost. We just need to start making space so we can start accepting donations again.”

The Friends will have a book sale at the Durr Branch library to coordinate with the Kenton County Farm Tour. The Friends will have a sale beginning Saturday, September 18, 10 a.m. to 4:30 pm. The Friends sale will continue through the week. Hours are Sunday, 1-4:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, 9-8:30 p.m., Friday 9-5:30 p.m. On Saturday, September 25, the Friends will sell a bag for $5 that shoppers can fill up with books.

“We are fortunate to have such a dedicated group of Friends volunteers,” stated Schroeder. “But we are always looking for additional Friends members. Membership is $10 annually and allows members early access to book sales. The Friends also have volunteer opportunities including working the book sales.”

For more information on becoming a Friend and for future sale dates visit, kentonlibrary.org. For more information contact 859-962-4000 ext. 4329.

Kenton County Public Library

Related Posts

Leave a Comment