Movin’ On Up … Changing Times at the Jessamine County Library

Jessamine Co. Public Library, Nicholasville, Ky. Jessamine Journal.

When was the last time you moved?

Packing up all of your belongings and making sure that they are secure for even a short haul is an exhausting process.

When I moved into my current home several years ago, a friend helped me to relocate a few dozen boxes of books. Afterward, he volunteered to never help me move my books again.

That awkward sofa is really a piece of cake? The insanely heavy armoire is somehow manageable, even down a flight of stairs.

But an unending stream of books is just too daunting.

So when I heard that the Jessamine County Public Library was packing up its entire collection of books (and more), I thought of my friend and of all the books I’ve moved.

But then, all of my books probably fit in less than 100 square feet floor to ceiling. The library’s Main Street location has 22,000 square feet.

This is a big and daunting job. Fortunately, the heavy lifting isn’t being done by library volunteers or staff. A moving company that specializes in commercial relocation has been hired to move all of of those books.

The books will remain on their shelves during the process, shrinkwrapped into place. The shelves will then be loaded onto a truck and moved to the library’s temporary digs on Computrex Drive. All of this will be welcome news to those at the library who won’t have to re-catalog each and every volume. Still, it will be an arduous process requiring the library to close its doors for about a month.

All of this is necessary because the existing South Main Street library has simply grown too small for the library with the eighth largest circulation in the state. The facility, built in 1996, has previously been expanded.

Of course, the library itself is a century older.

Sarah Rice Whithers
McLean Co. (Illinois)
Museum of History

Begun in 1896, the Acme Book Club was formed as a literary society with a collection of 600 books for members to borrow. Three years later, Sarah Rice Whithers left the Nicholasville Presbyterian Church money for the establishment of a public library.

The two merged into the library which operated from the church at Maple and First Streets until 1906 when a two story library was constructed at Main and Oak Streets where Central Bank is now located.

In the 1960s, the library relocated to Second and Chestnut Streets and then-named Whithers Memorial Public Library again moved into its home at Second and Maple Streets in the mid-1970s.

Finally, the library found its present home in the 1990s. It was renamed to the Jessamine County Public Library in 2001.

For over a century, a free book library has served the people of Jessamine County. During that time, the library has expanded to meet the growing community and the ever-changing demands.

The shelves aren’t just stacked with books. The temporary move to Computrex Drive will also include the music, the video games, the movies, and the other collections available from our library.

And in a little over a year, all those collections will be packed up again and returned to an expanded facility at South Main Street.

Rendering of the Expanded Jessamine County Public Library. JCPL via Jessamine Journal.

Significantly expanded. Square footage of the library will nearly double to 42,000 square feet. This will over increased space for a larger collection as well as space for all of the programming which occurs each week at the library.

I’m really looking forward to seeing the finished product when the library returns from its temporary location on Computrex Drive.

But I’m also really happy that I don’t have to move all of those books!

A version of this column originally appeared in the Jessamine Journal on October 2, 2014It should not be republished without permission.