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Louisville Free Public Library Western Branch
604 S 10th St
Louisville, KY 40203
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venue type: Community Center
venue style: Historic
catering: None Provided - None Allowed
max venue capacity: 49
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Venue Description

The Library's mission is to provide the people of Louisville and Jefferson County with the broadest possible access to knowledge, ideas, and information, and to support them in their pursuit of learning.

There are no fees charged for meeting room use.  

The Western Library, one of the nine original Carnegie libraries of the Louisville Free Public Library, was the first library in the nation to serve and be fully operated by African Americans. Today it is also home to the African American Archives, featuring resources dedicated to African American history, including papers of the poet Joseph S. Cotter, Sr., and librarian Thomas F. Blue. 


The Western Library is steeped in historical tradition. At the creation of the Free Public Library system in Louisville during 1902, several African-American leaders, including Albert Meyzeek (Central High School Principal), passionately championed for library services for African-Americans in Louisville. In 1905 the Western Colored Library opened at 1125 West Chestnut Street, the first free public library in the nation for African-Americans staffed entirely by African-Americans. On October 28, 1908, the newly constructed Carnegie Library opened at its current location. The branch was led by pioneering African-American librarian, Reverend Thomas F. Blue. His focus on serving the community was equally important as his work in educating African-Americans in the science of librarianship. His apprentice program for librarians lasted into the 1930s and attracted students from across the south.

The Western Library has re-opened after a major renovation with the most significant change being the addition of the African-American Archives Reading Room, which will house the papers of Rev. Thomas F. Blue and the papers of Joseph S. Cotter, Sr. and his son. Mr. Cotter, Sr. was a renowned poet and local educator who sponsored an annual children's storytelling competition. In addition to the historical papers, the African-American Archives Reading Room will house an extensive collection of material focusing on the African-American experience, some items having been published over a century ago. The renovation of this historic building was funded through a combination of federal and state funds, with additional support from the Library Foundation.

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