LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - The proposed city budget includes more than $20 million for the Louisville Free Public Library. But as the city faces unexpected pension costs and continues work on a $17 million east end library, big changes could be coming to the main downtown branch.
Over a half a million people have walked through the downtown library doors in the last 10 months. Jessie Cline comes every day to use the computer.
"It helps me look for a job and everything, that way I can actually try to get money to get a place instead of being out on the streets wondering where I'm going every day," Cline said.
Cutbacks could leave people like Cline fighting for space at the downtown library.
Over the next few months, everything on the second floor will be moved to the first floor and they'll lose some books and computers in the process.
While downtown prepares to downsize, $17 million continues to feed construction of a new branch across town. Half of the downtown staff will be asked to transfer there, and if they refuse, they will be out of the job.
The library anticipated money to fill jobs at the new Northeast Library. That money never materialized, forcing the library to spread its staff to cover the vacancies.
Library Director Jim Blanton said they're doing the best they can with the budget.
"It's hard to anticipate those types of changes," Blanton said. "It really is. You never know what the future's going to hold, you have to plan for what your needs are, try to address those as best you can I would say that."
Leaving a library with a population in need of their help isn't easy for some downtown employees.
"It's frustrating for me to think about our urban families," library assistant Melanie Knight said. "If the staff transfers out to northeast then these are resources that are moving to the more affluent white neighborhoods of our county."
The space on the second floor of the downtown library will be used for special programs and community activities. Despite the changes, the downtown location will have the most books and services to offer, according to Blanton.