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Library Programs - Foundation

“The man who does not read good books has no advantage over the man who can’t read them.”

-Mark Twain

Outreach Services, Databases and Computers, and the Young People’s Department reach beyond the traditional library services to meet the diverse needs of our Community.

Outreach Services



The Bookvan makes bi-weekly visits to Head Starts, daycares, nursing homes and retirement centers. One person praises the Bookvan as “…a blessing and a service for seniors and the physically disabled.”

Book Buddies

"My book buddy brings me Books on Tape from the Library-when I tell her what I want, she is always able to find it and… at other times she makes suggestions. On my birthday she also brought flowers! Actually, she’s much more than a buddy - she’s my friend."

Book Buddies

In 2002, our 135 Book Buddy volunteers hand-selected and personally delivered 9,300 books and books on tape to 130 homebound adults. One book buddy refers to her volunteer as, “more than a book buddy…she’s my friend”.

Adult Basic Literacy and ESL

Knowing how to read and speak English is an important step in becoming a productive member of society. A majority of the estimated 30,000 Spanish-speaking members of the community cannot speak English. Thirty percent of people in Central Kentucky are functionally illiterate. To serve the needs of this segment of our population, the library has maintained its long-standing partnership with Operation Read.

The Library provides a space at the Carnegie Center, training for staff and volunteers, and grant writing assistance to Operation Read, which in turn offers basic Adult literacy services for English and non-English speaking people in the area. In 2002, over 1000 students, representing 20 different languages, took advantage of these programs.

Advanced Literacy Programs

On its own, the Library offers programs requested by adult learners who have completed basic ESL, but need additional resources to perfect their skills. In programs such as the Learners as Teachers Internship, a graduate of ESL is employed to teach other adult learners ESL computer programs especially designed for this target group.

These literacy programs give people the skills they need to exercise their right to information. They allow all people to stand on equal ground and utilize the options given to us in our free society.

For more information on Outreach Services, visit the Lexington Public Library’s Outreach Department page.

Databases and Computers


Free Computers and Computer Classes

Technological advances have created a need for Computer literacy programs. Many people who don’t have a computer, or who lack computer skills, find help at the Library. By offering computers and computer classes to the community, the library maintains a level playing field for all individuals.

Computer Classes

"This program changes lives. With the right combination of tutors and technology, adult learners are developing the language skills they need to live, work and participate in community life. As an ESL tutor, I am continually amazed at the students’ enthusiasm, commitment and gratitude."

In the past year, over 220,000 Lexington/Fayette County residents used the library’s 202 public access computers. The Central Library computer lab is equipped with 10 computers and a workstation designed for those with special needs.

The library also provided 341 free computer classes in computer applications to 2,405 adults! These classes range in subjects from How to Use a Mouse, to designing your first Power Point presentation. The library also has two wireless mobile computer labs to teach these classes at the Branches.


While the internet is a worthy source of news and entertainment, the Electronic, On-Line Reference database collection offers more accurate sources for reliable research information.

Through the Library web page, everyone, anywhere, can access Databases containing ancestry records, local history, investment reports, encyclopedias, poem and book finders, topical searches designed especially for kids, medical help, newspapers and more!

Also found on our web page is a new and innovative addition, Live Homework Help. Now, any student with a library card and access to a computer, be it at home, school or the library, can receive free homework help from a live, professional English-or-Spanish-speaking, tutor.


Our new Spanish-English Information Kiosk opens a world of resources to the English-and-Spanish-speaking residents of Lexington. Many of our Hispanic neighbors are new to this area, and are unaware of services available to them. Using the Kiosk, they not only have access to the Library and its catalog, but to medical information, legal help, women’s issues, direct telephone lines to emergency help agencies, and other community services.

Young People’s Department

Research shows that reading as few as few as 5 books over the summer can enable a student to maintain-and improve-reading levels in preparation for the coming school year. To encourage this practice, the Library has conducted its Summer Reading Program for more than 30 years.

The mission of the Summer Reading Program is to strengthen children’s reading skills over the summer and to instill a love of reading. A trained librarian helps the Young People choose books from our reading list related to their interests and hobbies.

The Summer Reading Program also presents multicultural entertainment programs designed for entire families. Included in these events are relevant books that families can read together. Last years performances included African and Irish dancing, Stories from Ancient China, and Animals of the World, which brought live, exotic animals to the Library.