Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Posts Tagged ‘Pack Horse Libary’

Library Books Delivered By Horseback

Posted by terrepruitt on November 13, 2019

I have mentioned a few times that my husband and I listen to books via Audible. My husband has a long commute that gets longer each school year. What used to be 45 minutes is now pushing 90. He is the driving force regarding Audible. He is a sci-fi fan, he likes books about aliens and fighters, spaceships and black holes. I have shared a few of his picks before. And actually he does have a lot of different types of books in his library, but a big portion of it is the sci-fi and part of that is because we have gotten hooked on a few series. He has read three series by J.S. Morin. I have only read two. I think some of the books in his library were free or he thought they were such a good deal he didn’t want to pass them up. I had just finished one book – I think it might have been a free one – and it was a bit gruesome. So I wanted something light and quick. I didn’t want to start another series. He pointed me at one he got for free and it was really short and enjoyable. But I still wanted something else. So I looked at Audible’s “Discover” and I came across a book I decided I wanted to read. I texted him and he when he answered he said, “It’s in the library.”

So I started reading “The Giver of Stars”. I was interested in the story and also that it was going to be made into a movie. I figured it would be a movie I would want to see and I like to read the books before the movies so I thought I could get a jump on things.

Dance Exercise, Nia, Nia in the City of San Jose, Nia classes in the South Bay, Nia Teacher, Nia Class, San Jose Nia, Nia San Jose, Nia workout, Nia, Gentle Yoga, Group Ex classes, YMCA, Zumba, Nia Technique, SJ City Fit, SJCityFit, City of San Jose Exercise Classes, Cambrian Yoga & Cardio Dance, CYCD, Yin YogaWell, the story was fiction but it had some truth to it. I don’t think the main character’s story is actually true, but the job she takes on was real. And I am sure that some of the situations in the story happened. The story is about a short period of the lives of the some of the women of the Pack Horse Library. I was happy to learn of such a thing. Of course I want to know more.

During the Great Depression there was an initiative paid for by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) that set out to delivery books to people settled in the remote areas of the Appalachian Mountains, between 1934 and 1943. The Pack Horse Library was a group of women that would deliver books and other reading materials to people that might not have the means to make it down into a town to visit a library. Many of them couldn’t even read. They would have their children read to them or the librarians would sometime take time to read to them. Even though little over 30 percent of the population in eastern Kentucky couldn’t read in 1930 many of them understood that learning to read might help allow them to improve their economic status.

Many locals participated in the “libraries” themselves as anyone that had the means was encouraged to store the books for lending. In addition to storing books, many places needed to help by storing the supplies and things the Pack Horse Librarians would need. There would be a head librarian that worked at each place and she would give the books to the riders to take them to the various homes and schools. The head librarian would also make any repairs that may have been needed on the books themselves.

Some books would get in too bad of shape to lend out so the librarians would keep what they could save and create new books. They would use binders to hold stories and pictures that had been salvaged. They created recipe books and binders of quilt patterns.  These patched together books were very popular among the clients.

The Pack Horse Librarians would use their own horse or mule. Some were leased. It’s been documented that a woman would average walking or riding almost 5,000 miles a month. Each book pack could hold up to 100 books. The Pack Horse Librarians would ride out at least twice a month and cover 100 to 120 miles a week. Their salary was $28.00 a month. The books and reading material they delivered to the people on their assigned routes had been donated from multiple sources.

There were about 100,000 people that were the recipients of the work of the Pack Horse Librarians and by 1937 they were also bringing books to 155 public schools.

In 1943 the program stopped due to no more funds and the end of the WPA. For nine years there were woman who rode out in the cold, in the rain, in the snow, in the heat – whatever – just like mailmen, to deliver reading material to people wouldn’t have had access to it normally.

I thought that was pretty interesting. The story had a few of those details and a lot of information, but when reading a story I don’t always know what is true and what is fiction. I was very happy to learn that there really had been such a thing as the Pack House Librarians.  Oh, and the story, it was good too!

Did you know about the Pack Horse Librarians?

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