Please see the attached press release concerning the Kansas City Public Library’s purchase of the former Rent-A-Center property at 3020 Prospect Avenue adjacent to the Lucile H. Bluford Branch with an eye to greatly expanding the services and resources it offers the East Side community.

No plans are yet in place for how the new space will be used; the Library plans to solicit community input, perhaps through listening sessions and surveys on community needs and desires. 

Bluford is one of the busiest branches in the Library’s 10-location system. In 2022, Bluford patrons logged into more than 18,000 computer sessions, second most among the Library’s 10 locations. It also saw the second-highest use of free phone service, prompting the installation of an additional phone to meet neighborhood demand.

Offerings at the branch extend further to 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 story times, teen gaming nights, a Black Classics Book Club focusing on notable African American titles, and winter warming and summer cooling stations.

The Bluford Branch opened in 1988 and the facility’s interior was renovated in 2010.  But at 15,000 square feet, it is undersized and struggles to meet the full needs of the surrounding community. The acquisition of nearby property is a first step toward necessary expansion.

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.”