After more than 70 years in operation, the original Boone County Public Library’s Chapin branch has closed its doors in Petersburg, Kentucky — well, sort of.
Due to staffing issues, Executive Director Carrie Herrmann said the library will be turned into Kentucky’s first express location; it will include an honor book system, where attendees can take a book of their choice that they will have the option to keep, return or bring back a different book for another visitor to enjoy.
“Chapin has always been difficult to staff because we only had two employees who often worked alone,” Herrmann said.
Opened in 1948, the Petersburg Christian Church collaborated with the Boone County Public Library in 2006 to move Chapin from the church to its current location in the Petersburg Community Center, at 6517 Market St.
Herrmann said the express location is scheduled to open in 2023. The community center is not open to the public during regular hours — instead, the public can rent it for things like birthday parties. The library would likely require patrons to order books online, and they would be deposited in a locker, then the patron would use their library card to open the locker. Details are still being worked out.
The closest full-service library is in Hebron – approximately 20 minutes from Petersburg. Commissioner Cathy Flaig said the people of Petersburg spoke to her about their concerns and feel the town is losing a major lifeline.
“Southern Boone County is under served when it comes to extra-curricular options for education,” Herrmann said.
Boone County is hoping to remedy that by collaborating with the city of Walton to construct a 25,000 square-foot library.
The new library will provide youth, family and senior programs for community members. The library will also include outdoor spaces, a demonstration kitchen and a sensory-inclusive restroom with dimmer lighting and softer sounds.