The Lexington Public Library opened in 1905 in Lexington, Kentucky. It incorporated the collection of the former Lexington Library Company (est.1801) and the former Transylvania Library (est.1795). Today the main location of the Lexington Public Library system is Central Library along East Main Street connected to Park Plaza Apartments. Its facade includes rose-colored granite, with large spacious windows facing the street and Phoenix Park. A rotunda in the lobby, the focal point of the building, spans all five floors. Included within the complex is a 144-seat auditorium, meeting rooms and an atrium reading lounge. A cafe and an art gallery are located on the ground floor, and the Friends of the Library book seller is in the basement.
The library currently helps its patrons in many ways. There is a book van to help reach homebound citizens, as well as a Book Buddy program that pairs a homebound adult with another adult willing to pick up library materials for them. Materials are available in multiple languages and multiple formats. The library also subscribes to several databases in a wide subject range. One of the more popular areas for researchers is the Kentucky Room on the reference floor, which houses records of Kentucky census information and Kentucky history, which often aids researchers. It also contains microfilm of the Lexington Herald-Leader, as well as its forerunners, the Lexington Herald and the Lexington Leader, along with some other Kentucky newspapers.
Central Library is complemented by five branches. The largest branch, at 22,000 square feet (2,000 m2), is the Tates Creek branch, located on Walden Drive, just off Tates Creek Rd. It replaced the Lansdowne branch in 2001. The Eagle Creek branch is on North Eagle Creek Dr, near Richmond Rd, and this branch replaced the Eastland branch in 1992. The Beaumont branch on Harrodsburg Rd. replaced the Southside branch in 1997. The oldest existing branch, Northside, was built on Russell Cave Road in 1984, and its opening was further distinguished by the presence of Barbara Bush, then the wife of Vice President George H. W. Bush. Village branch, the newest - and smallest - branch, was opened in 2004. It also boasts the distinction of being an English-Spanish bilingual branch, with a completely bilingual staff.