In the early 1954, a public library was established in Hancock County. The library was housed in a small room in a building across from the courthouse. Years later, in 1965, the library needed more space and moved into the Boling Building, which was located on Main Cross Street.
In 1966, members of the state library met with our library board and explained that unless our county voted a tax to provide funds to keep and maintain the library, there would be no more state funds. A petition was circulated and on Monday, March 11, 1967, a special taxing district was established. It was set up as a taxing district per KRS 173.710. It is a non-profit per IRS code 170 (c ) (1). It is through this taxing district that the library gets ninety-one percent of its operating budget.
In 1968, a two story library building was built in downtown Hawesville on land donated by Father C. P. Riney and the Immaculate Conception Church parish. This 5,500 square foot building served as the main library for forty-one years.
In June 2005, the Lewisport Branch Library moved from a small space in the Lewisport Community Center with 888 sq. ft. into a new location with 1800 sq. ft. Thanks to the suggestion of the Lewisport City Council, the current building is adjacent to Lewisport City Hall on Second Street and sits where the old Lewisport Fire Station was housed for many years. A great partnership was formed between the City of Lewisport and the library to make this enlarged space a reality. The library signed a ten-year lease with the City for the use of the building as the Lewisport Branch Library. It will soon be time to renew that lease, of which the library intends to continue. The response from the public on the new branch location has been great.
In June 2006, we completed a Long Range Plan for the library system. An important goal in this long range plan included taking steps toward building a new main library due to lack of interior space, lack of adequate electrical capacity for the library’s current and future technology needs, lack of programming area, and meeting space.
We moved into the newly constructed 10,000-square-foot Main Library in May 2012. This new space offers a large meeting room/programming space, study room, family restroom, storage, staff office area, teen space, and an inviting modern space. With this construction project complete, we have seen an increase in the number of people getting library cards and the community is pleased with what is available.
In January 2014 our board approved a new Strategic Plan for 2014- 2016. This new plan causes us to readjust our focus. We have a paradigm shift from determining success by the number of people in the door to determining success by the number of people we serve not only in person, but remotely by their access to our services online and through their mobile devices. The new plan also lists a need to increase our marketing opportunities within our county.
As part of that plan, we began construction on a new Lewisport Branch location in June 2020 and it opened June 2021. Hancock County Public Library is an important piece of our community and as we move forward, our library system will continue to be a community asset for many years to come!