The selection for the fourth session of TRLN’s Remote Rap Sessions will be an episode of The Kitchen Sisters podcast called “The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky”. This episode is available on multiple podcast platforms, but can also be streamed from kitchensisters.org. Registration helps with our planning and is much appreciated. You can register before and during the discussion and will receive the meeting link as soon as you register.
During the Depression, those horrible years after 1929, the Appalachians were hit hard. Coal mines were being shut down. Many people were living in dire poverty with no hope. In 1936, as part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal, the Kentucky WPA began to hire pack horse librarians, mostly women, to carry books to isolated cabins, rural school houses and homebound coalminers. The routes were rugged and treacherous. The “bookwomen” followed creek beds and fence routes through summer heat and frozen winters — their saddlebags and pillowcases stuffed with Robinson Crusoe, Women’s Home Companion, Popular Mechanics. Many people were illiterate and the women often stayed and read to them. The pay was $28 a month. Each woman was required to supply her own horse or mule, their food and boarding. When the program closed in 1943 as America entered World War II, nearly one thousand pack horse librarians had served 1.5 million people in 48 Kentucky counties.http://www.kitchensisters.org/2018/09/24/the-pack-horse-librarians-of-eastern-kentucky-the-directors-cut/
The Kitchen Sisters episode is less than 30 minutes, but these are some alternative formats to learn about this topic for the discussion on June 10th.
Donna Cornick, Retired, Head of Electronic Services, Reference Department, UNC Libraries (and Roosevelt aficionado), Sonoe Nakasone, Community Driven Archives Mellon Grant, Southern Historical Collection, and Chaitra Powell, African American Collections and Outreach Archivist and Project Director, Community Driven Archives Mellon Grant, Southern Historical Collection will co-facilitate this discussion.