Carpenter Foundation grant makes library construction a reality
By Jim Turner

Posted on January 1, 0001 12:00 AM

The call that leaders of Logan County Public Library had been eagerly awaiting came recently. Librarian Linda Kompanik was notified that the Carpenter Foundation has awarded a $500,000 grant for the construction of a much anticipated new library.

That half million, combined with $700,000 the library has accumulated for the project, will allow construction on the $3,3-million facility to begin this October if all goes according to plans, Kompanik said this week.

The new building, which will cover 15,000 square feet, is to be built on a 5.43-acre site which adjoins both Armory Drive and Frances Avenue. It will face U.S. 431 near Sav-A-Lot. Over 100 parking spaces will accompany the building, which is a major selling point for replacing the parking-deficient current structure on West Sixth Street. The library as we now know it was built in a residential area in the mid-60s. It was made possible by a $75,000 match grant from another benefactor, the late Thomas P. deGraffenried, whose 'Legacy' has had an immeasurable effect on culture and education in the Russellville area.(See a history of the library below.)

The library already owns the property where the new facility will be constructed. In fact, $100,000 of the $125,000 purchase price was paid by an earlier grant from the Carpenter Foundation. Twenty years ago in 1992, the Carpenter Foundation donated $10,000 to the library for the purchase of computers and related equipment. In 1998, the library held a reception to honor the Carpenter Foundation and its representative, the late Don Peters, for funding that allowed the library to become more automated and the Auburn branch to open.

The money which the library board has in the building fund has come primarily from donations and estate bequests, ranging from a few dollars to $200,000 from Mathilde 'Til' Perry. Board President Obie VanCleave has donated $5,000 himself. One woman writes us a check for $100 every month.

Kompanik says. “Now is the time to dig deep and make a tax-deductible donation to the library. Our financial advisor explained it this way: If one gives $10,000 before we sell bonds that is like a gift of more than $17,000 to the library; the savings in the $10,000 and about $7,300 we would pay in interest on that money over the 30-year life of the loan. Hard to beat a return on investment of that magnitude, both financially and for the betterment of the community.”

Present plans are for 30-year bonds to be sold in September to cover the remaining cost of the facility, although Kompanik says a local bank has asked to make a presentation about providing the financing through a loan.

The time has arrived for intensive fund-raising, says retired Regional Librarian Evelyn Richardson, an enthusiastic supporter of the new facility.

Board Vice President Tom Noe spoke to the Russellville Lions Club about the project Thursday, and the recently revitalized Friends of the Library will be making similar appeals for support in the next few weeks. Noe's mother, the late Lillian Rhea Noe, was the first librarian when the current building opened.

Some of the facts Noe and others will share about the new facility:

1. Everyone will have attractive, safe, and welcoming spaces to meet and interact with others or to sit quietly and read.

2. Children birth to five will have materials and programs designed to help them enter school ready to read, write, listen, and learn.

3. Everyone in Logan County will have high-speed access to the Internet.


Easy access vs. small residential street

  • More than 100 parking space
  • Increase in size = 35%

· Streamlined design for modern library needs

· Increased early children resources (early literacy computers, etc.)

  • Dedicated young adult area
  • Expanded genealogy space

· Large meeting room with audiovisual equipment

  • 2 small study / meeting rooms
  • Energy efficient, ADA compliant building

· Increased lavatory facilities including children's and family restroom

  • Expansion capabilities

The E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation was formed in 1975 as the E. Rhodes Carpenter Foundation by E. Rhodes Carpenter, founder of the Richmond, Va. based company now known as Carpenter Co.

During Mr. Carpenter's lifetime, the Foundation made a few substantial gifts but for the most part it had minimal assets. In accordance with Mr. Carpenter's wishes, the Foundation received significant funding following his death in 1980. His wife, Leona B. Carpenter, died a year later, leaving substantial assets to the Foundation. In 1982, the name of the Foundation was changed to the E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Foundation. The Foundation operates independently of and has no connection to Carpenter Co.

The E.R. Carpenter plant (now Carpenter Co.) came to Russellville as the 1970s began on a 40-acre site. By 1980 at the time of Mr. Carpenter's death, the plant had grown to 950,000 square feet and 700 employees, the largest in the company which is a leading manufacturer of comfort cushions.

The LoJo

The following is a copy of the letter which Kompanik wrote to Carpenter Co. Manager Jim Guthrie on Oct. 13, 2011

Dear Mr. Guthrie,

The Logan County Public Library has been housed in a building owned by the City of Russellville for more than 44 years. During that time the role of public libraries has evolved and demand has increased exponentially every year since the advent of the Internet. While we welcome the growth, the physical facilities have become inadequate for existing services and stymie the implementation of new services.

Expansion and renovation are not possible for us. The Library is located in an historic residential neighborhood and landlocked between homes and a public street. In 2008 we purchased a little over five acres of land on Armory Drive adjacent to Dollar General Market and Sav-A-Lot. We are eager to build a new library on that plot and have raised $500,000 for that project.

We recently finished a strategic plan facilitated by a professional library planning consultant. That process revealed that our community's first priority for the library is a welcoming place to gather.

We have hired an architect who has designed a library that will allow traditional and emerging services while providing a comfortable place for people to gather, meet, work, and learn individually and collectively.

The estimated cost of the construction is $3,300,000. We would like to request a Carpenter Foundation Challenge Grant of $1,000,000. I hope the grant committee will consider this a worthy project. Thank you for the opportunity to apply.

Linda Kompanik


History of Logan County Public Library

Public library service in Logan County began as a WPA project in the late 1930s. The first library was located at Russellville High School until Jan. 1, 1941, when it was moved to the Byrne Building on East Fourth Street. Members of the first library board raised the first local funds for the library by raffling a table for $9.10 in October 1940 and in November of that year began to receive small grants for $10 to $20 per month from the city and county governments and boards of education.

The county took over the operation of the library on July 1, 1942 and employed a librarian. At that time, the library was moved to an upstairs room at Fifth and Main Streets. Early in 1946, the library moved to the Old Armory where it remained for about a year before relocating to the old bank building on Sixth and Main Streets. It remained there until May 1967. During all these years it continued to be financed by small grants from the city and county and from the Russellville Board of Education, the county school board having discontinued its financial aid in the 1940s.

In 1964, soon after the city of Russellville received a bequest of $911,940 from the Thomas P. deGraffenried estate to be used for educational purposes, the library board requested that a portion of the money be used for a library building. At the same time, they took steps to apply for federal and state aid for construction of such a building. In

January 1965, the Russellville City Council passed an ordinance authorizing the use of $75,000 “to match Federal and/or County funds…for constructing a library building within the city.”

In order to qualify for federal and state aid, it was necessary to establish a Public Library District and a tax to guarantee operating funds for the library. During a three-week period in November 1965, approximately 4,500 people signed a petition requesting that this district be formed. On Jan. 4, 1966, a resolution of the Logan County Fiscal Court

established the Logan County Public Library (LCPL) District and set a tax rate of three cents per $100 of assessed property valuation.

On Jan. 27, 1966, a newly created Board of Trustees voted to sign a contract with architects to design a building. Construction began in July 1966 at a total cost for the building, furnishings and equipment of $193,620. This money came from a federal grant of $100,000, plus $18,620 from the state and $75,000 from the deGraffenried bequest. The new building opened on Aug. 6, 1967, with more than 1,000 people attending the dedication ceremony. In 1974, an addition was built, adding 4,820 square feet for a total of 11,200 square feet. Cost of the addition was $167,826, with all funds for construction, furnishings, and equipment coming from a loan and state grant.



LIBRARY BOARD: The library is under the control and supervision of an autonomous five-member Board of Trustees The Board is chosen from two candidates nominated by the Board and submitted to the Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, who sends the two names to the Logan County Fiscal Court .The Fiscal Court chooses one of the two and that person is appointed to an unexpired term or a new four-year term. The Board has all authority to hire a library director, establish library policy, and adopt the annual budget .

LIBRARY DIRECTOR: The library director reports to the Library Board at its monthly meeting. The director is responsible for administering the library and the hiring or all other library personnel .

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