Samples were first collected during the 1920's and stored at the Survey offices, located in the center of the University of Kentucky campus. A fire in 1948 destroyed many of the Survey's records. The undamaged samples were moved to a building at 628 South Limestone. Within a short time the building was filled to capacity, and the library was again moved in the early 1950's to 371 Rose Street. This location offered 1,172 square feet of storage space. In 1960, when the Rose Street location could no longer support the weight of the samples, the library was moved to the Reynolds Building, 670 South Broadway. The initial space allotted for the sample library was 1,968 square feet on the first floor of the building. In 1960, the core library was established in the basement, using 1,230 square feet. Additional space was added in 1967 and 1968, increasing the size to 5,918 square feet by 1969. Sample space was increased by 1,312 square feet in 1972, core space was increased by 1,458 square feet in 1975, and sample space was again increased by 1,968 square feet in 1978. The library in 1980 occupied a total area of 10,656 square feet; of this total, the core library occupied 5,408 square feet and the sample library occupied 5,248 square feet. By 1985 additional space was assigned, increasing the library to 22,000 square feet.
The library eventually outgrew the Reynolds Building. The basement floor also began to sink, causing shelving to collapse. The University purchased a warehouse from the American Tobacco Company adjacent to the main campus in July 1986. After funds were made available to the Survey, the Well Sample and Core Library began to move into the American Building. After two phases of renovation and new construction, the move was completed in August of 1991. In the American Building the Survey occupied 54,000 square feet. Approximately 44,000 square feet was used for storage of rock materials, and 10,000 square feet was used for examination areas, a rock-processing laboratory, and office space.
Unfortunately, the facility in the American Building was eventually deemed inadequate to house the Library and provide the services that industry, research, and the public required. Despite the extensive renovation, problems developed and continued to return even after repairs. The problems included a leaking roof and walls, and collapsing and uneven floors. There was a possibility that the building would flood as it had in 1992, causing more than $400,000 in damage to the boxed cores and well cuttings, as well as to KGS publications that were also stored at the facility. In addition, the flood damage made the facility unavailable to the public for an extended period. Several years of effort will be required to carefully rebox and repackage the damaged materials for future use. The flood damage also resulted in extensive delays in washing, packaging, and indexing new materials for research.
In July 1994 the University made the decision to demolish the American Building and build a parking structure on the site. The KGS Well Sample and Core Library was therefore moved during April and May of 1995 to a temporary location at 554 South Forbes Road, Warehouse 23, occupying 60,000 square feet of space, until a proposed new, permanent facility could be built in about 2 years. Construction on the new facility began in October 1996, and the Survey moved into the building in March and April of 1997. The new library is located on University property at 2500 Research Park Drive, off Iron Works Pike, near the Kentucky Horse Park. The new facility provides adequate storage space and shipping and receiving areas. It is a metal-sided structure providing 48,000 square feet of space, including approximately 24,000 square feet for core and sample storage, and shipping and receiving. A large, well-lighted area with examination tables is provided for visitors to study the materials. In addition, space for processing rock materials, core photography, petrographic examination, porosity and permeability determinations, and geochemical studies of materials is provided, as well as adequate dry storage for publications and field equipment. Already this facility is nearly filled to capacity. Future expansion to 72,000 square feet of space is needed as funds become available.
The library was expected to be open for public use by December 1997. The contractor made errors in construction, however, and had to replace the concrete floor of the mezzanine to comply with the building design specifications. The resulting also damaged more than 22,000 boxes of core that had to be stored outdoors. Construction was completed in January of 1998. Additional damage resulted from a record-level snowfall in March 1998. The facility was finally opened to the public, on a limited basis, in late spring of 1998.
All cores and well samples are organized to allow easy identification by farm name, county, operator, location, and permit number. The cores and cuttings are available for public inspection from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.