The Erlanger Branch of the Kenton County Public Library is celebrating the 20th anniversary of having a permanent home.
In 1914, the Erlanger Library was established by the Erlanger Women’s Club. Volunteers and a librarian operated this library. The community has embraced the Erlanger branch library despite having moved to several locations over the years. On October 13, 2002, the Erlanger branch opened at 401 Kenton Lands Road.
The Kenton County Public Library would not be the number one system in the state, and the Erlanger branch would not be the busiest library in the state without its staff and volunteers. Six people who opened the branch 20 years ago still work for KCPL; Kari Jones, Program Coordinator – Covington Branch, Lise Tewes, School Services Coordinator – Outreach, Jennifer Beach, Outreach Programmer – Outreach, Monica Robertson, Collections Specialist – Administration, Steve Stotts, Collections Services – Erlanger Branch and Pam Baker, Systems Technician – Erlanger Bifurquer.
Jones started at the library when the Erlanger branch was located on Dixie Highway. “I put the books on the shelf in the current building,” said Jones, who started working for KCPL at 17.
Jones isn’t the only one to have worked her way up from part-time to supervisory.
“I love working at the library and making a difference in the lives of children and families,” Tewes said. It’s so rewarding but also so much fun. I’ve thought to myself many times over the years, ‘I can’t believe they’re paying me to do this; It’s so much fun!’ Tewes worked part-time at the old location and went full-time when the library opened on Kenton Lands. “The opening of the new building in 2002 was a big step for me personally and for the whole community. The way the community responded to this building was amazing. They were truly grateful and so excited to enjoy such a beautiful facility and all the great programs we could do in this wonderful space.
Baker started working for KCPL just weeks before the permanent site opened and still works at the Erlanger branch. “I like working at the library because I like helping people. I have made many friends at the library, both colleagues and clients. I also love learning new things, and the computer world is constantly changing. Every day is a new and different day at the library.
In 2018, the Erlanger branch expanded to add larger meeting rooms and a creative space known as the STREAM Center. The branch now has an auditorium that seats 450 people, allowing the branch to host concerts and other large events.
The roots of the Kenton County Public Library date back to 1899 when several distinguished citizens of Covington, Kentucky met to discuss the need for a public library for its citizens. In 1901, a newly appointed library board passed rules that declared free library service for every man, woman, and child in Covington, making the Covington Library one of the first in the south to provide racially integrated service. On March 22, 1953, residents of rural Kenton County received bookmobile service. Covington Library, Erlanger Library and Bookmobile merged under the new Kenton County Public Library District in 1967. Kenton County Public Library now has five branches – Erlanger, Independence, Covington Outreach (including a book mobile) and the online branch.
Visit kentonlibrary.org for more information.
The library will be celebrating like it’s 2002 throughout October with several programs at the Erlanger branch:
Lunch and learn
Oct. 13, 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the Erlanger Branch’s Kenton Lands Road location with a talk from Dave Schroeder, Library Executive Director. A packed lunch from the Kremer market will be provided.
Happy birthday: dance party
Oct. 13, 6-8 p.m.
An old-fashioned birthday party highlights the month-long celebration of the Erlanger branch building’s 20th anniversary. Join other guests and staff with a DJ dance party, photo booth, refreshments, and family-friendly activities to celebrate this great space!
2000s game night
Oct. 24, 4-5 p.m.
To celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Erlanger branch, we will play video games and board games from the 2000s.
Elevation: the U2 tribute show
Oct. 29, 6:30-8 p.m.
Since 2002, Elevation has been paying homage to the sounds of U2, performing around the world. This show celebrates two twentieth anniversaries – Elevation’s 20th concert anniversary and the Erlanger branch’s 20th anniversary at its current location. Have a great time with this special U2 tribute! U2 costumes are encouraged but not required. Registration is required at kentonlibrary.org.
Kenton County Public Library