Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives

Real Estate / Site Evaluation

​​Site Criteria to consider:

  • Is the location desirable?
    • Is it a convenient, easily accessible site that people visit frequently?
    • Will it be a highly visible site providing a good image and identity for the library?
    • Is it in a government center that patrons and potential patrons visit only occasionally?
  • Is it in a floodplain?
  • Does the site have any environmental importance that will limit usability (e.g. wetlands, etc.)?
  • Does the site have any historic value that may limit your construction options?
  • Are there any zoning or other applicable building restrictions?
  • Does the site have fill or other conditions that might make construction difficult/expensive?
  • Are hazardous materials present that would have to be remediated?
  • Are utilities available?
  • Is it in good proximity to schools--not too far or too close?
  • Is public transit available?
  • Can it provide adequate parking?
  • Can you expand your library on this site?
  • Good commercial sites make good library sites!!!
  • Have thorough geo-technical testing done on the site!!!


Renovate or Expand an Existing Building

(Review all of the above criteria when considering renovating an existing building.) 

  • Remember expanding may save money. There are no guarantees.
  • Can the floors carry 150 pounds per square foot?
  • Does the building have asbestos or lead paint that will need to be removed?
  • If expanding into a new building, will the floors and ceilings match?
  • If expanding into another building, is there a shared center wall and can it be supported to carry a large enough opening into the new space?
  • Does the building have a lot of columns breaking up the floor space?
  • Can the building be adapted to provide adequate voice, data, and power wiring?
  • Can the building be adapted to comply with ADA?
  • Can the building be adapted to provide adequate restroom facilities?
  • What will be required to provide an adequate HVAC system?
  • What will be required to provide security and fire protection?
  • Does the site allow for adequate parking?
  • Can the building be expanded again in the future?



  • Use a certified property appraiser.
  • Comparable property information should include:
    • Who comparable buyers and sellers were.
    • Total size of comparable lots.
    • Zoning for comparable lots.


Architect Site Study:

  • Use an architect you expect to use for the actual building design.
  • Cover the following issues:
    • Boundary survey;
    • Geo-technical testing;
    • Environmental testing (floodplain determination, wetlands?);
    • Need for a Phase 1 environmental assessment (for hazardous materials);
    • Availability of utilities;
    • Potential zoning issues, etc.


Real Estate Donations:

  • Is it a good site for a library?
  • Can the library sell the property if needed in the future?
    • The library doesn't want to get stuck with a white elephant that uses library funds and can't be liquidated.
    • Does it have asbestos or any other environmental concerns that need to be considered?
    • The library may have to pay to have them removed.


Leasing of Library Facilities:

  • Who will pay for immediate remodeling and repairs?
  • What is the term of the lease?
  • What will the yearly rent be? ($1.00 per year?)
  • How much notice is required to vacate?
  • How will utilities expenses be determined and divided?
  • How will yard and parking maintenance expenses be divided?
  • Who will decide on and pay for maintenance of library space?
  • Who will pay for insurance?
  • Who will decide on and pay for maintenance of common spaces?


Adding Branches:

Potential concerns:

  • Duplicate staff;
  • Double utilities;
  • Duplicate collection;
  • Double insurance;
  • Duplicate software licensing;
  • Double telecommunications hardware and access expenses.

Would enhanced bookmobile service fill the need?

Would a book drop/pick-up lockers ("Express Pick-Up") fill the need?