Property Purchase Sets the Stage for Enhanced, Expanded Services at Bluford Branch

Thursday, January 26, 2023

The Library is thrilled to announce the purchase of additional property near the Lucile H. Bluford Branch with an eye toward expanding services there. Patron demand has grown exponentially since the 1988 opening of the 15,000 square-foot facility.

The branch was renovated in 2010, but that did not increase its size. The recent acquisition of the former Rent-A-Center space at 3020 Prospect Avenue provides space for expansion – how it’s utilized will be determined with input from the surrounding Bluford neighborhood, potentially through community listening sessions and neighborhood surveys.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who has spoken about his lifelong love of libraries, expressed excitement about the purchase and prospects for bolstering services.

The Kansas City Public Library is a trusted institution in our community and in the Bluford neighborhood, and I am delighted to see the Library's continued growth. — Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas

“This investment underscores the Library’s commitment to free, open access to critical informational and internet services,” Lucas continued, “and I share its desire to expand and enhance services in the Bluford neighborhood and throughout Kansas City's East Side.”

Librarians at Bluford tell stories of so many patrons visiting at once that there is standing room only, a thrilling challenge at any library. One look at the branch’s popular tech services area easily quantifies the anecdotes.

Bluford patrons logged into more than 18,000 computer sessions in 2022, second most among the Library’s 10 locations – only the massive Central Library had more. It also has the second-highest use of free phone service, prompting the installation of an additional phone to meet neighborhood demand. It’s the only location with two free phones for outgoing calls.

The branch also offers U.S. Postal Service services, notary assistance, free health and wellness programs, Kids Café meals for children and teens in partnership with Harvesters, children’s storytimes, teen gaming nights, a Black Classics Book Club focusing on notable African American titles, and winter warming and summer cooling stations. Not to mention books!

Karen Slaughter, president of the Key Coalition Neighborhood Association, pointed to the Library as an essential community resource that is especially crucial to the low-income households of the Key Coalition neighborhood and surrounding communities.

“This project,” she wrote in support of the undertaking, “will directly benefit the wellbeing of Library patrons and our community members who struggle with everyday needs including computers with internet, phone service, or easy access to social services beyond what is offered at the Library.”

Watch our website for more information in the coming months!