Library renovates with focus towards future

A woman approaches the entrance of Warren County Public Library on State Street, reading a sign regarding how all branches of the library will be closed on Monday Aug. 28.

Griffin Fletcher

The Bob Kirby Branch of the Warren County Public Library system located on Scottsville Road is undergoing its second expansion since being built in 2008.

Renovations started in late February 2017 and are expected to be finished in a few months. Renovations include more floor space for book collection, a larger room for Educational Delivery Services and a “maker’s space,” where people will be able to work on individual projects. The maker’s space will provide basic tools and supplies, sewing machines and potentially a pottery kiln.

Branch Manager Ashley Fowlkes believes the maker’s space will modernize Bob Kirby Branch and be a great addition to the Warren County community.

“We want to provide as much service to the community as possible,” Fowlkes said. “Libraries aren’t just a place to come and read anymore. It’s a place to create.”

Fowlkes was born in Louisiana, but came to Bowling Green in 1997. As Branch Manager, she saw Bob Kirby Branch through its first renovation in 2013, which included the creation of a children’s room and community meeting rooms.

These community meeting rooms are free of charge and open to non-profit businesses and organizations.

The Children’s Room not only contains books and a brightly colored wall mural, but also hosts various programs designed for families and kids, including yoga and Spanish classes.

The library recently started its own “seed library,” as well, as written about in a past Herald article.

With further renovations and expansion, Bob Kirby Branch looks to continue impacting the community in a positive way.

Bowling Green local and SKYCTC student Kristine Riggsbee regularly attends and studies at the library. She believes its calm and comfortable atmosphere keeps Warren County secure.

“I believe it has a positive impact on the community because it is a safe and fun place for families and kids,” Riggsbee said while seated at one of the library’s many isolated desks.

Aside from the multiple desks and narrowly separated rows of books, DVDs and magazines, the library’s constant rhythm of clicking keyboards and scrolling desktop mouses indicates free wifi and many computers.

The computers are housed at a large desk near the center of the library and can be used to rent and secure items from the library, or simply to browse the web.

Shelby Gore is from Bowling Green and graduated from WKU in December of 2016. She worked at Bob Kirby Branch throughout high school and came back upon graduating from college.

Gore is enthusiastic about the library’s future and in-progress renovations.

“I think we’re all excited about the renovation,” Gore said. “We need the room to grow, because we’re doing great things.”

Bob Kirby Branch is hosting its Annual Book Sale event from September 15 to September 17 and is advertising for the first ever Young Adult Southern Book Con, or YAS Book Con, scheduled from October 20 to October 21.

The book con will take place in downtown Bowling Green and will include book signings from over 30 authors of Young Adult Literature, food trucks and various presentations and workshops.

Gore hopes renovations at Bob Kirby Branch please the public and reveal libraries’ true potential.

“A library is so much more than what we think it is,” Gore said with a smile.

Griffin Fletcher can be reached at (270)745-2655 and [email protected].