The Louisville Free Public Library Foundation was founded for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, supporting, and enhancing the programs and services of the Louisville Free Public Library, whose mission is to provide the people of Louisville Metro with the broadest possible access to knowledge, ideas, and information and to support them in their pursuit of learning. Through its support of the public library, the Library Foundation serves the entire Louisville Metro area.
The Louisville Free Public Library Foundation, Inc. was established as a nonprofit corporation in 1980. It was organized “for the purpose of benefiting, promoting, supporting, encouraging, and enhancing the programs and services of the Louisville Free Public Library.” The Foundation is governed by a self-perpetuating volunteer board of directors.
In 1987, the Library Foundation embarked on a five-year, $6 million New Book Endowment Campaign. By June 2013, the Foundation had granted the library $10.1 million from the fund, resulting in more than 400,000 new books for the library system.
In 1994, the Library 2000 Information Technology Campaign was begun and exceeded its $4.4 million goal with gifts and pledges of $4.57 million The net donations were expended on computer equipment, on-line service subscription fees, and emerging technology.
In the fall of 1996, the Library Foundation began its first Annual Children’s Appeal. The donations were used to purchase children’s books and to underwrite the Youth Summer Reading Program. Since that time, the Foundation has granted more than $26 million for Summer Reading and for a variety of other library services, programs, technology, books, and capital projects.
In August 2009, the Louisville Free Public Library, with funding assistance from the Library Foundation, opened the Newburg Branch Library, the first new branch built by LFPL in decades. In August 2010, the Library Foundation completed the Landmark Initiative, raising $1.75 million to restore and renovate the historic 1908 Main Library. In 2011, the Library Foundation raised $250,000 in support of the new Fairdale branch library building and the renovated and expanded Shawnee branch library. In 2013 the Library Foundation raised $3.3 million for the Campaign for the Southwest Regional Library. In 2015, we raised $2.5 million for the Campaign for the South Central Regional Library. In 2019, the Foundation completed its campaign to raise $3.8 million for the Northeast Regional Library.
Governance of LFPL and Supporting Organizations
The Louisville Free Public Library Advisory Commission is a nine-member body of citizens appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the Metro Council to represent the people of Louisville in the affairs of their public library.
The Friends of the Louisville Free Public Library, a voluntary, nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization, is made up of citizens who are interested in promoting the welfare and growth of their library, in enriching its resources, and in making its services better known to the community through special events, and book sales. Each of the Louisville Free Public Library’s 17 branches is represented by a Friends Group.