Sunday June 26, 2022
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Mayor Greg Fischer and other local leaders today reminded families of the many free and low-cost activities to keep students active and engaged during winter break.

Camps, movies, parties and sports clinics are among the dozens of activities available during the Jefferson County Public Schools winter break, Dec. 24-Jan. 4, and throughout the month of December.

“Parents who are looking for affordable, fun and festive ways to celebrate the holidays and keep their kids active during their winter break won’t have far to turn once again this year,” Mayor Fischer said. “We want students to enjoy their time off but also keep their minds sharp and bodies healthy.”

The Mayor spoke alongside Metro Councilman Pat Mulvihill and representatives of Louisville Parks and Recreation, JCPS, the Louisville Free Public Library and the Kentucky Science Center gathered at the Cyril Allgeier Community Center in the Camp Taylor neighborhood.

Louisville Parks and Recreation has published a Holiday Event guide that contains more than 30 events taking place during the month of December at community centers, the city’s two historic homes and more. The season is capped with a free winter break sports camp offered by University of Louisville basketball legend Robbie Valentine at Cyril Allgeier on Jan. 3-4. To register for Valentine’s camp, click here. 

Also, The Louisville Free Public Library will offer more than 100 free programs for kids, teens, and families while school is out, including storytimes, crafts, film screenings, games, and more. As always, the library also offers a wide selection of books and DVDs to keep kids reading and entertained during the break—all for free. A complete list of library programs is available at http://www.lfpl.org/events.

The Southwest Regional Library will host the Winter Wonderland Train Show — presented by K & I Model Rail Road Club —Dec. 22-Jan 6. The show is free and open during regular library hours, for more information, click here.

In addition, the Kentucky Science Center is offering day camps for children ages Pre-K through grade 5. Children can attend as many days as they like or just do it a day at a time and learn about coding, robotics, engineering and more. For more information, click here. 

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced that Jim Blanton is leaving his post as Director of Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) in early November for a similar post in Asheville, N.C., to be closer to family.

“Vibrant, modern libraries are critical for a thriving city like Louisville,” Mayor Greg Fischer said.  “Jim’s leadership has been instrumental in the phenomenal, future-leaning growth of our library system over the last three years. Under his watch, we opened the state-of-the-art South Central Regional Library in Okolona and started work on the Northeast Regional Library in Lyndon, and started online registration for Summer Reading.”

Assistant Director Lee Burchfield will serve as Interim Director. Burchfield has held multiple posts with LFPL since 1997, including as an Assistant Branch Manager, Electronic Resources Supervisor, Manager of Computer Services, and Director of Strategic Planning & Technology. He has been Assistant Director since 2016. Katie Dailinger, Deputy Chief of Staff, will be helping guide the library through the transition.  “My thanks go to Lee, for stepping up during this transition time,” Mayor Fischer said.

Next month, Blanton will become Director of the Buncombe County Library in Asheville, N.C., which is closer to family.  His last day with LFPL is November 8.

“It has been an honor and privilege to serve at LFPL these past three years,” Blanton said. “I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished, including launching a variety of innovative programs, developing exciting community partnerships, and opening new libraries that truly represent the cutting edge of 21st century library services.”

“The hard work and dedication of the LFPL staff in making new programs, services and spaces come alive has been deeply inspiring.  Their passion for providing library service to the community is the heart and soul of the system, and with more exciting milestones on the way, the future couldn’t be brighter for LFPL.”

The Mayor’s Office will consult with the Library Foundation and the Library Advisory Commission on the search for a new library director.

“I am grateful for Jim’s innovative leadership and tireless energy, and wish him the best in his new position,” Mayor Fischer said.  “Our Library system has tremendous momentum, and we won’t slow down, continuing to work hard to deliver the services our community needs and deserves.”

Photo: Louisville Free Public Library

School is out for the summer, and Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding parents and caregivers that there are plenty of fun, low-cost or free learning opportunities available for Louisville area students of all ages over the next three months.

During a news conference at the South Central Regional Library in Okolona, the Mayor and partner organizations outlined a number of programs designed to keep kids engaged and prevent summer learning loss, including the Louisville Free Public Library’s Summer Reading program and the 2018 Cultural Pass presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with Metro Louisville, the Free Public Library, the Arts and Culture Alliance, and Fund for the Arts.

“Lifelong learning means year-round learning. And with our Summer Reading Program, Cultural Pass, and other programs, parents and children have plenty of fun options this summer to keep kids’ minds active so they’re prepared for success in school and beyond,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “I’m grateful to so many important partners in this effort, from Churchill Downs to the Fund for the Arts.”

In celebration of both the Library’s Summer Reading Program and the Cultural Pass, the Mayor announced the Main Library will host the Summer Reading Kickoff and Cultural Pass Showcase on Saturday, June 9, from 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will offer a host of activities, performances, and crafts featuring more than a dozen members of the Arts and Culture Alliance. Participating groups will include the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and more. For more information, please visit http://LFPL.org/Kids or call (502) 574-1620.

The Cultural Pass supports and encourages lifelong learning by providing free access to 50 Greater Louisville’s arts and cultural institutions for children and young adults to age 21.

New this year, residents in three surrounding counties—New Albany/Floyd County, Jeffersonville Township, and Bullitt County—will also be eligible to participate in the 2018 Cultural Pass through their public libraries. Southern Indiana residents are eligible for the Cultural Pass for the first time thanks to support from Bales Foundation, Duke Energy, and Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County.

The Pass is valid from June 1 to August 11 for one-time general admission at each of the 46 participating institutions. Also new this year, the Office of Advanced Planning developed an interactive map for enhanced user experience that can be found:https://fundforthearts.org/venues-cultural-pass. 

“Our community is fortunate to have one of the most unique initiatives across the country to fight summer learning loss,” said Tonya Abeln, Director of Community Relations for Churchill Downs Inc. “Churchill Downs is proud to continue supporting arts & cultural experiences that make our city stronger.”

“This Cultural Pass is a passport for Greater Louisville kids and families to unlock boundless creativity at our world-class arts & cultural institutions,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “We are deeply grateful to our donors and partners who make this one-of-a-kind initiative possible. This is a critical investment for our region that allows kids to learn, play, and grow all summer long.”

The 2018 Cultural Pass and Summer Reading Program materials are available now at any Louisville Free Public Library branch. Pass holders can register and track the progress of their Cultural Pass online at LFPL.org/culturalpass and are encouraged to visit as many venues as they are able during the summer. Children with 5 or more documented visits are entered into a drawing for prizes, including a free stay at 21C Museum Hotel, tickets to area performances like The Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre or Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker, family memberships to Bernheim Forest, the Frazier History Museum, Gheens Science Hall and Planetarium, and more.

“The Arts and Culture Alliance is proud to be the part of the Cultural Pass that provides access to arts and culture,” said Kim Baker, Chair of the Arts and Culture Alliance. “We invite our community and the new surrounding counties participating, to experience all our amazing arts and cultural organizations have to offer!”

To learn more about the Cultural Pass, please visit http://fundforthearts.org/culturalpass.

With shovels in hand, Mayor Greg Fischer, Library Director Jim Blanton, Councilwoman Marilyn Parker, the Library Foundation, and members of the community officially broke ground today on the new 40,000-square-foot Northeast Regional Library located on Bellevoir Circle off Ormsby Station Road near the Northeast YMCA.

The Northeast Regional Library is similar in size and scope to the recently built Southwest and South Central Regional libraries and is the final of three regional libraries included in the Louisville Free Public Library’s Master Facilities Plan. Replacing the much-smaller Westport branch (located in Westport Middle School), the Northeast Regional Library will enhance service for more than 170,000 people in eastern Jefferson County.

“The Northeast Regional Library will bring resources for education and lifelong learning to a part of Jefferson County in which the demand for the Library’s services has outstripped its resources,” said Mayor Fischer. “And I’m really pleased that when this Library opens, my administration will have fulfilled our commitment under the Library Master Plan to provide a full-service library within five miles of 90 percent of Louisville residents.”

(Learn more about the Northeast Regional Library) 

Library patrons in the Northeast service area checked out more than 1 million books and other materials in the last fiscal year —representing nearly 25 percent of the library system’s total annual circulation. And of the 170,000 residents within this service area, 40 percent are active library cardholders. Despite this tremendous use, the northeast region of Jefferson County falls well below state library standards. The new Northeast Regional Library will more than double the area’s square footage per person.

“I am very excited to see the Northeast Regional Library break ground, fulfilling the ambitious library master plan developed by the partnership of Metro Government and the Library Foundation and propelled forward by the state’s $4 million contribution to the project,” said District 18 Councilwoman Marilyn Parker. “This new library will replace one of the most utilized libraries in the system, adding much needed capacity for this area and a host of new amenities with more community meeting space, expanded materials collections, and the latest technology. This project will be complemented by the major improvements being made to the adjacent A.B. Sawyer Park, so families can easily walk between the new library, the YMCA, and the park.”

The state-of-the-art building will feature an expanded collection, including more bestsellers, DVDs, large type, and books for children and teens, and will provide the latest technologies.  The design will include comfortable, quiet spaces for reading and studying, several meeting rooms, an auditorium, a large children’s area, and a separate teen space. New to LFPL, the Northeast Regional also will feature an innovative, hands-on “makerspace” with audio/visual lab and demonstration kitchen, plus outdoor teaching and programming space.

“The Northeast Regional Library will be a hub for educational and community engagement and a cultural centerpiece,” said Library Director Blanton. “Its location near the Northeast YMCA, U of L Shelby Campus, 70 independent cities and municipalities, and more than 50 schools will provide convenient access to a vibrant community, eager for improved library services, collaborative events, and robust programming.”

The design team includes JRA Architects of Louisville, Meyer Scherer & Rockcastle Ltd. of Minneapolis, MKSK of Ohio, and staff from the library.

All aspects of the building’s design have been planned to incorporate advanced, eco-friendly technologies and architectural design to save energy, reduce waste, and improve quality of life. In addition, LFPL is committed to preserving the scenic beauty of the site and to minimize environmental impact. The landscape plan will include adding more trees, walking paths, and usable outdoor spaces to take advantage of the site’s park-like setting.

The total price tag for construction, books, computers, and furnishings is estimated at $17.8 million, with $14 million coming from Metro government and the state, and the additional $3.8 million to be raised from private donors through the Library Foundation. To date, the Foundation has raised 60 percent of its goal, including gifts of $500,000 from the City of Lyndon and $200,000 from LG&E/KU. Library Foundation vice-chair Bill Dunbar also announced today a $400,000 challenge grant made by The James Graham Brown Foundation.

“It is because of the support of organizations like the James Graham Brown Foundation, LG&E/KU, and the City of Lyndon, and passionate community members just like you, that we can make more possible at LFPL,” said Dunbar. “I thank you and our community thanks you for helping make the Northeast Regional Library a reality.”

“Bringing a larger, more updated library to East Louisville has been a priority since joining the Metro Council,” said District 17 Councilman Glen Stuckel. “Early on I worked with the LFPL director to find viable sites for a regional library. Although those didn’t turn out to be the final location, my desire to make this idea a reality has never waned. I am excited the time has finally arrived. The educational and recreational resources available through this project will provide outstanding opportunities for residents of all ages.”

Construction of the Northeast Regional Library is to be completed in early 2019.

What other Metro Councilmembers had to say about the new Northeast Regional Library:

“Libraries are an important cornerstone of a healthy community.  I am excited for this new edition to the Louisville Free Public Library system in Northeast Louisville. This amazing library will give people the opportunity to find jobs, experience new ideas, get lost in wonderful stories all while providing a sense of place for gathering as a community. I am especially thankful that funding for several different features to be included as part of the Northeast library have come through partnerships with some of the suburban cities in this area.” – Angela Leet, District 7

“Lifelong learning is so important to our community and I am happy to see the third of the three regional libraries break ground.  The Northeast Regional Library will serve a huge part of Louisville Metro.  I am grateful to everyone for their efforts in making it happen and especially thankful for the work of the Library Foundation, which has done so much to make each of the regional libraries come to pass.” – Bill Hollander, District 9

“As a teacher, I understand how the need for — and use of — free public libraries have evolved. These gems have been supported all across America dating back to a time before the Declaration of Independence.  Benjamin Franklin and friends opened the first lending library in Philadelphia in 1731. Modern libraries serve a much more diverse population with services unforeseen just a generation ago. I am very proud of the work done by the Friends of the Library, and am really grateful to see that the Northeast regional library will be built in accordance with the library master plan.”  – Kevin Kramer, District 11

“I’m very pleased that this much needed library will soon be available for public use. It will be a valuable resource to those seeking knowledge in this Information Age and I am proud to have supported its funding.” – Scott Reed, District 16

“This library will be a wonderful addition for our community. It will increase multiple opportunities for children and adults alike.” – Julie Denton, District 19

“As a Metro Councilman, it is exciting to see the hard work and dedication to expanding our library system come to fruition.  This new library is furtherance of our commitment to expanding learning resources throughout our Metro.” –Brent Ackerson, District 26

Photo: Louisville Free Public Library

The Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness and the Louisville Free Public Library will offer the class, Heroin Hurts Louisville on Tuesday, Sept., 26 at 7:00 p.m. at the South Central Regional Library at 7300 Jefferson Blvd. and again on Tuesday, Oct., 24 at 6:00 p.m. at the St. Matthews Library at 3940 Grandview Ave. The 90-minute class is free. Registration is required. Phone 574 -1623 or contact the Library @LFPL on Twitter or @LouisvilleFreePublicLibrary on Facebook to register.

Heroin Hurts Louisville is taught by a certified drug and alcohol counselor.  It includes educational information, video testimonies from young people and facilitated discussion. Participants will receive a toolkit with information and available resources.  The class is intended to provide parents and other caring adults with valuable insights on why children and teens use drugs and how to start a dialogue about the dangers of substance abuse.  It is also intended to empower parents with steps to take if they suspect or know someone at risk of using drugs.

“This class is a tool for parents to open up a dialogue with their children around the issues associated with drug use,” said Dr. Sarah Moyer, director of the Louisville Department of Public Health and Wellness. “Many of our initiatives to battle the opioid epidemic in Louisville have, by necessity, been reacting to the needs of people caught up in drug use and protecting our community from infectious diseases such as HIV and hepatitis C,” she said. “But it’s also important that we take proactive steps to prevent substance abuse in the first place.”

“We are happy to be teaming up with Public Health and Wellness to be bringing these classes to our community,” said James Blanton, Director of Louisville Free Public Library.

As school wraps up for the summer, Mayor Greg Fischer is reminding parents and caregivers that there are plenty of learning opportunities for Louisville students of all ages over the next three months.

During a news conference at the Newburg Library, the Mayor and others outlined a number of programs designed to keep kids engaged and prevent summer learning loss, including the Louisville Free Public Library’s Summer Reading program, and the 2017 Cultural Pass — presented by Churchill Downs in partnership with the Mayor’s Office, the library, the Arts and Culture Alliance and the Fund for the Arts.

“As parents, we all know that a week or so after classes end, the kids complain, ‘I’m bored!’ Well, there is no reason for any young person in Louisville to be bored this summer,” the Mayor said. “Thanks to partners like Churchill Downs, there is a long list of activities and learning opportunities to keep kids engaged.”

And in celebration of both the Library’s Summer Reading Program and the Cultural Pass, the Mayor announced, the Main Library will host the Super Summer Reading Kickoff and Cultural Pass Showcase on Saturday, June 3, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. This free, family-friendly event will offer a plethora of activities, performances, and crafts featuring more than two dozen members of the Arts and Culture Alliance. Participating groups will include the Louisville Zoo, Kentucky Science Center, Frazier History Museum, Kentucky Shakespeare, and more. For more information, please visit LFPL.org/Kids or call (502) 574-1620.

The Cultural Pass supports and encourages lifelong learning by providing free access to 38 of Greater Louisville’s arts and cultural institutions for children and young adults to age 21. The Pass is valid from June 3 to Aug. 12 for one-time general admission at each of the participating institutions.

“The Cultural Pass is an incredible asset for our city,” said Churchill Downs Inc. CEO Bill Carstanjen. “Churchill Downs is proud to sponsor such an important endeavor that enriches our great city.”

“The Cultural Pass turns our world-class arts and cultural institutions into summer classrooms for our community’s children and families,” said Christen Boone, Fund for the Arts President and CEO. “Churchill Downs’ support has been remarkable as we work together to reduce barriers to the arts for every child, parent and citizen of our community.”

The 2017 Cultural Pass and Summer Reading materials are available now at any Louisville Free Public Library branch and any Metro Louisville Community Center.

Pass holders can register and track the progress of their Cultural Pass online at www.lfpl.org/culturalpass and are encouraged to visit as many venues as they are able during the summer. Children with 5 or more documented visits receive a Cultural Pass giveaway prize and will be entered into a drawing to win additional prizes, including a free stay at 21C Museum Hotel, tickets to area performances like The Christmas Carol at Actors Theatre or Louisville Ballet’s Nutcracker, family memberships to Bernheim Forest, the Frazier History Museum, Gheens Science Hall and Planetarium, and more.

“The Arts and Culture Alliance is delighted to once again participate in this program, providing access to our arts and cultural organizations for thousands of youth in our area,” said Kim Baker, President and CEO of the Kentucky Center, and Chair of the ACA Executive Committee. “Our participating members look forward to providing memorable experiences this summer as we work together to make our community a vibrant place to live, learn, work and play.  We’re grateful to Churchill Downs, Fund for the Arts and Louisville Metro for this unique opportunity.”

To learn more about the Cultural Pass, please visit www.fundforthearts.org/2017culturalpass.

On Saturday, April 15, Hunter S. Thompson fans from all over will gather at the LFPL’s Main Library at 301 York St to celebrate the life, work, and legacy of the Gonzo journalist creator.  Expanded panel discussions, spoken word and poetry performances, and an all-local musical lineup set this year’s festival apart from previous years.

GonzoFest Louisville will host two different panel discussions on the topics of The Literary Impact of Hunter S. Thompson and Freedom of Speech/Media Literacy.  Dr. Lee Remington Williams JD, PhD, of Bellarmine University will lead a 45-minute lecture titled Politics:  Decadent and Depraved, followed by a question-and-answer session.

Journalist Michael Lindenberger will moderate the panel discussions and lecture.  All panels and spoken word performances will take place inside the Main Library.

GonzoFest Louisville will also feature an all-local lineup with music by Nellie Pearl, Otis Junior, Brother Wolves, Satellite Twin, Brooks Ritter, and Sativa Gumbo.  All bands will perform in the library parking lot on York St.  Juan Thompson, Hunter’s son, will be here as well, signing copies of his book Stories I Tell Myself:  Growing Up with Hunter S. Thompson.  Additionally, the festival will host a screening of Where the Buffalo Roam, the semi-biographical film based on the experiences of Hunter S. Thompson starring Thompson’s friend Bill Murray.  Dean Otto, Curator of Film for the Speed Art Museum, will introduce Where the Buffalo Roam.

The 2017 GonzoFest Louisville celebration is from noon until 8 p.m. on Saturday, April 15.  The festival will take place both on the exterior grounds of the Main branch and inside the library.  Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to make a $10 donation when entering the festival.  A portion of the proceeds will benefit LFPL.

Learn more at GonzoFestLou.com.

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