Library History

In the spring of 1946, a group of interested citizens met to establish Nelson County Memorial Library. The library opened part-time over what is now the Crystal Building with a staff of two and Operating fund of $3,220.

Eight years later, the library moved to the second floor of the old county building, current site of the Sutherland Building, with a collection of 6,000 books and a growing circulation: 14,148, up from the previous year's 12,835.

In 1967, Nelson County passed a 1.5% library tax and the Nelson County Memorial Library became a part of the state and regional system and changed its name in 1968 to the Nelson County Public Library. A five member Board of Trustees was appointed to oversee the operation of the main library, five branches and a bookmobile.

The library as we know it today was "created" on June 29, 1967 under KRS 173.710. A petition containing the names of 51% of the number of people who had voted in the previous November election was certified by the County Clerk and presented to Fiscal Court, creating the Nelson County Public Library Taxing District. Upon establishment, the library purchased the old Bardstown Post Office, built in 1914, and renovated it into the current library facility. The new library opened for business in April 1970. A couple of renovations, mostly for cosmetic purposes, have been made in the ensuing thirty-five years.

On September 8, 2005, the library board purchased the old Flaget Memorial Hospital with plans to renovate the building for future use as Nelson County Public Library. We had outgrown the 90 Court Square building with its 3000 square feet and 10 official library parking spaces. In November the library's application for a 1.3 million dollar loan from the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives was approved. On June 16, 2006 a ceremonial groundbreaking took place on a 24,000 square foot facility that would have 73 parking spaces.

Open house on the new library was held April 15, 2007. It was complete with the latest furnishings and features. A beautiful stained glass window by Kentucky artist, Laura Mentor, tells the history and culture of our area in a glass tapestry to complete an outstanding structure. The addition of a second community room, children's garden, and drive-up book deposit were completed in 2008.