Louisville officials are considering legislation that could lead to $80 million of bonds for library expansions.

The Louisville Metro Council’s work group on library expansion this week said that $100 million would be needed for expansion of the Louisville Free Public Library system. The group began its review of the system last December after voters rejected an occupational tax that would have funded library improvements. Based on its recommendations, the Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government would provide $80 million of bonds, with $20 million coming from private funding.

City Council president Jim King said in a press release that he believed the challenge in expanding Louisville’s libraries is more about what the city can afford to operate than what it can afford to build.

“Clearly, every operating dollar we have is already allocated, and there are never enough dollars to do everything we would like to do,” King said in the release. “In deciding how we will find operating dollars, it is clear we will have to evaluate our priorities.”

The work group also wants a timeline to be put in place to ensure the expansion goes smoothly and is not over budget. The bonds would be issued in time for the library expansion to begin in 2012.

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