Pack Horse Librarians
October 31, 2010 1:01 PM Subscribe
posted by julen (17 comments total)
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The Pack Horse Librarian
) was a welcomed and much anticipated sight in the isolated and hard-to-reach mountains and hollers of Eastern Kentucky between 1935 and 1943. They brought books and magazines, retrieved already-read materials for delivery at another stop on the route, read to residents, took requests, and generally served homes, schools, villages, mining camps, and anywhere there were people who wanted to read.
Funded by the WPA and created by state librarians (Kentucky historically had high illiteracy rates and among the lowest library funding in the nation, but also had a tradition of traveling libraries
), the idea of packhorse librarians spread through the South and West to other similarly hard-to-reach and widely populated areas that could not be well-served by a bookmobile (which the WPA was also funding in towns, cities, and less-isolated areas).
More on bookmobiles: A brief history is in the first part of this article, The Bookmobile: Defining the Information Poor
, and there are wonderful images in this WPA Bookmobile pictures (google search)