By Carrie Vittitoe

Public libraries have long been a gift to local communities, but the Louisville Free Public Library is adapting that gift to improve how people read, learn, interact with technology, and engage with others. One of the ways it is doing this is through the creation of three new 40,000-square-foot regional branches to help fulfill its mission of bringing 90 percent of the local population to within five miles of a library.

Individual branches have also been renovated or built, including a free-standing branch in Newburg and renovated space in Shawnee. “Neighborhood branches reflect the specific dynamics in the community in which they are located and hone in on their specific community needs,” says LFPL director Jim Blanton.

Chandra Gordon, executive director of The Library Foundation, says one of the gifts the foundation tries to give the community in its partnership with LFPL is “real access to information, software, and classes.” While the buildings themselves are gifts, it is what is in those buildings, such as free ACT prep classes, research tools, and the South Central Regional Library’s COLLIDER artist-in-residence program, that really make the library system a special place in the community for people from all walks of life.

Read about Chef SpaceWhiskey Row, the Speed Art MuseumScarlet’s Bakery, the Parklands of Floyds Fork, the Thrive Center , and the Louisville Metro Police Foundation as part of our Community Gifts feature.