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Our History

1930 - 1957

Although a circulating library collection for recreation existed in Winchester from 1930-1950, Kentucky Wesleyan College owned the only full library building collection in Winchester until 1950.  Prior to 1950, the Fine Arts Club, a women's study club, managed a small circulation collection among members.  No record exists of the housing of the collection, only the fact that each year the collection was sold in its entirety to purchase the next year's books.  

After the Methodist Church relocated Kentucky Wesleyan Collage from Winchester to Owensboro in 1950, Mrs. Evelyn Strode hosted a called meeting of the Fine Arts Club to form the Children's Free Public Library.  A room in the county courthouse was used for the project.  Club members took turns weekly as librarian with two members on duty at a time. 

On April 22, 1953, after the success of the Children's Free Public Library, the Clark County Advisory Council made the decision to develop a public library for all ages.  The Council requested that the Children's Free Public Library, Inc. file an application for state aid in the amount of $5,000 for two years.  The first named Public Library was housed in a railroad car donated by Codell Construction Company, leading to the still-used informal name of the "Boxcar Library."  It was located at 23 South Maple Street on a city-owned lot.  The formal opening took place on April 30, 1953.  

Members of the Winchester Church of Christ and Members of the Library Board began considering the purchase of property for a Public Library on September 14, 1957.  The Library Board had previously prepared plans for the building of the new Library on Belmont Ave. with bids due on September 25, 1957.  The Church of Christ had previously purchased property on Belmont and was interested in buying the Library's lot on Belmont as well.  As plans between both entities developed, and with the consent of Public Library donors, the lot was exchanged, and the Library Board purchased the existing Church of Christ property at 109 South Main Street.  

This building was occupied by the Presbyterians from 1857 until 1909; after this the building was used as a fruit market and, at a later date, a skating rink.  The Winchester Sun was printed in the building while it was owned by Colonel Lucian Beckner until the building purchase in 1920 by the Church of Christ.  The existing stained glass windows were installed by the Church of Christ prior to 1925.  (excerpted from a document written by Mrs. Lynne A. Boxley, Director, 1959-1973)



The Public Library at 109 South Main Street was formally dedicated at 8 pm CDT on Thursday, March 27, 1958.  Jane Tebbs was named Librarian, with Lynn A. Boxley as Assistant Librarian.  Mrs. Boxley took the position of Librarian in 1959, and watched the library triple in size before her retirement on April 14, 1973.  Danby Elizabeth Osborn Williams was named as Acting Head Librarian upon Mrs. Boxley's retirement in 1973.  

Mrs. Williams saw the incorporation of the Public Library as the Clark County Public Library District in 1974, and in 1989 made the recommendation that the library's name be changed formally from the Public Library to the Clark County Public Library.  

In October of 1990, the Board of Trustees first discussed the acquisition of property for a new library.  Although there was brief discussion in regard to using the building located at 109 South Main Street, the Trustees, Director Danby Williams, and Regional Librarian Sarah Kelley concurred that there was no way to adequately renovate the building.  No other buildings were available for purchase in the 100 block of South Main Street, leaving the building at 109 landlocked; no additional floors could be added to the building, which had suffered roof damage from fires; and finally, the electrical system of the building would not allow adequate cabling and conduit to support increasing demand from staff and patrons for internet access.  

In February 1996, Mrs. Williams and the Board of Trustees completed an Application for the State Public Library Construction program for fiscal year 1997 for a total amount of $2, 355,856 to cover the acquisition of the current site at 370 South Burns Avenue, the demolition of an existing building (referred to variously as the Winchester High School building, Belmont Junior High School, and Belmont Alternative School), architect's fees, construction of an 18,200 square foot facility, moveable equipment and furnishing.  


The construction Program granted the amount requested, and on December 08, 1998, the building at 370 South Burns Avenue, the former site of the Belmont Junior High School, was opened to the public.  A 24% increase in circulation and use was immediate, reflecting the needs of a growing public with diverse needs for recreation reading materials and information for lifelong learning.  

2008 - Present

The Clark County Public Library served its patrons well through the first decade at 370 South Burns Ave.  The second decade began with the opening of a new expansion for a new children's wing and renovating the rest of the building.  The grant-and donation-funded project took about four years to move from planning stages to completion and added approximately 9,000 square feet to the facility.  


On December 8, 2008, under the leadership of  director Julie Maruskin and the Board of Trustees, the Lynne A. Boxley Library for Young People opened.  The new children's wing was named for the late Mrs. Lynne A. Boxley which was the library director for 14 years, and saw the the library move twice in her tenure.  

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