By the end of 1960, total circulation reached 129,853 for the year, with a daily average of 433 items borrowed.
In 1961, the Library Board decided to replace the old wooden front doors of the Carnegie Library with new aluminum framed glass doors and place a new sign in the front of the building. The Board also decided to install air conditioning in the children’s room and in the staff offices.
By 1963, the beautification process of the Covington Library continued when 1,200 tulips were planted in the front of the Library. Also in 1963, adult book circulation had more than doubled over the previous two years and books most in demand included science and biographies.
The popularity of the Erlanger/Elsmere Library continued to grow. Only in its new quarters on Bartlett Avenue for a short time, the library already needed additional space. Due to this rapid growth, the Bartlett Avenue house was purchased in 1962 and an addition to the building was constructed at a cost of $12,250. Once again, the community supported the library with donations of materials and time.
During the 60’s the popularity of the Bookmobile continued to grow. In 1962, the Bookmobile Board decided the Bookmobile would increase the number of stops at in the community such as shopping centers and neighborhoods. The Bookmobile served all parochial and public schools in the county and made 28 different community stops at places such as Pleasure Isle, the Winston Park Fire House, the Park Hills Civic Building and St. John’s Orphanage. By 1964, more than 150,000 books were circulated by the Bookmobile. That same year a small library was established in Crescent Springs Presbyterian Church. This library was open only once a week for six hours, but it circulated more than 4,000 books in 1964.
By 1966, the Library began losing patrons to the Cincinnati Library. The Covington Library, which seated only 78 people, had less than one book for each of the city’s 60,326 residents. The Library was not adequate for the growing community. In an evaluation, the Covington Library was well below the minimum standards set by the American Library Association. The Covington Library had a staff of only 8 people, while the standard was 48. The Covington Library added over 3,000 books each year while the standard was 25,000 each year. The Library had only 100 periodicals and no films, while the standard called for 400 periodicals and 250 films.
Galvin and Associates, library consultants from North Carolina, conducted a survey for the Covington Library in 1966. The consultants reported that the Library had only 11,000 square feet, whereas the amount needed was 46,000 square feet. This survey also made recommendations for the type of library needed for Kenton County.
In January of 1967, the Library liberalized some of its circulation policies. Rather than a limit of six books, an adult could now check out an unlimited number of books. Children could now check out six books instead of just four. The loan period was extended from 14 days to 28 days. Fines for overdue adult books were increased from $.03 to $.05 a day and non-resident library card fees went from $3 to $5 a year.
In April of 1967 the Library began a campaign to form a county library district and establish sufficient reliable funding. A county system, unlike the city library, would be eligible for state and federal aid. Thousands of free books, records and films from the Kentucky Department of Libraries would be available to a county system. The new public library system would allow for the construction of a new $1.1 million main library, expansion of the Erlanger/Elsmere Library and an addition of another Bookmobile. The library would be free to everyone in Kenton County. Prior to this decision residents living outside Covington had to pay $5 per year to use the Library. The new main library would also have a collection of 240,000 books and seat 530 people.
The petitions called for the Library District to be funded by a tax, .06 for every $100 worth of property, which was only .01 more than the existing .05 tax for the Covington Library. The Library District could be established in two different ways: the Library could collect 100 signatures in order to put the proposal on the ballot, or the Library could obtain signatures of 51 percent of the voters casting ballots in the last election. The Library opted for the second method in order to create community awareness and get people involved.
Clyde Middleton and Laurence Grause were co-chairmen of the committee that asked for 1,000 volunteers to help obtain signatures from the county residents for the petition drive. The week of April 23-30 was designated as Library Week. During this time, businesses placed messages about the campaign on their outdoor signs and volunteers went door to door asking for signatures. The petition would require 14,865 signatures.
On April 25, a 20-ft. bookmobile owned by the Kentucky Library Department arrived in Covington to show the voters what they would get free from the state if they approved the $1.1 million library plan.
The Library campaign received excellent publicity from the Kentucky Post, Enquirer and the Dixie News. Reporter Bob Fogarty of the Kentucky Post published two articles each week concerning the campaign.
The campaign was successful and in the summer of 1967, over 16,000 signatures were obtained. The Kenton County Fiscal Court accepted the petition and the Library tax would appear on the October County tax bill.
Also in the summer of 1967, the Covington Library constructed a gallery in the reference room on the second floor for a collection of Frank Duveneck paintings. The Frank Duveneck Art Museum Society and the artist’s son and his wife, Frank Boott and Josephine Duveneck donated several of the paintings to the Library. The Cincinnati Art Museum also loaned some paintings to be used in the gallery. The gallery was named, “The Duveneck Memorial Art Gallery.” At the opening of the art gallery 250 people attended including Gov. Edward T. Breathitt, who was one of many speakers. The Duveneck Gallery was the first public art gallery in Northern Kentucky.
By October of 1967, the Covington City commissioners approved the agreement to transfer the Covington Library operation to the Library District. The new District combined the Covington Library, the Erlanger/Elsmere Library and the bookmobile to form the Kenton County Public Library. Judge Dressman then appointed a new Library Board with Joseph Gausepohl, Mrs. Harry Carl, Mrs. Ruth Eubank, Laurence Grause and George Weidner as the new board members. By January of 1968, Mary Ann Mongan had been appointed the head librarian and the name of the Covington Public Library changed to the Kenton County Public Library. Also that year, a new $21,000 bookmobile was given to the Library by the state.
The end of 1967 proved tragic when on New Year’s Eve six of the oil paintings in the Duveneck Gallery valued at $22,000 were stolen. The thief also took $50 from the cash drawer and an electric typewriter. A few days later, however, police recovered all six of the paintings. The artwork was found wrapped up in a dirty blanket behind a Covington apartment. The thief was identified and sentenced to five years in the state penitentiary. The paintings were returned to the Library.
Toward the end of the decade, there was much discussion by the Board and the community as to where a new Covington Library should be located. In 1969, architect Robert Ehmet Hayes presented plans to the Board for the design of the new Library. Also that year, the Library received a beautification award for the plantings outside of the Carnegie building.