‘The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia’ tells Great Depression-era story of the women on horseback who combated illiteracy
For Release: 04/24/22 11:40 AM
The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia, a new half-hour KET production, tells the courageous story of the women hired by the Franklin Roosevelt’s Work Progress Administration (WPA) to travel on horseback to deliver library books and magazines to people in Eastern Kentucky, braving creeks, mountains and inclement weather along the way.
The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia airs on Monday, May 2, at 9/8 pm on KET and on Wednesday, May 4, at 7/6 pm on KET2. The program will be available free and on-demand at KET.org and the PBS Video app.
Also, a free preview screening of The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia will be shown in Morehead on Sunday, May 1, from 2-3 pm at the Rowan County Arts Center (205 E. Main Street). For more info, and to RSVP for the screening, please visit KET.org/events.
In the 1930s, with the United States facing the Great Depression, President Franklin Roosevelt looked for ways to help Americans find work by creating jobs through the Works Progress Administration (WPA). While many jobs were designed for men, Eleanor Roosevelt reminded policymakers that women were also in need of work. As a result, the WPA looked to expand culture and the arts in the country, often by encouraging the expansion of libraries. The WPA discovered a project that had originated in Kentucky in 1913, and the result was the formation of the Pack Horse Library.
While people across the nation were encouraged to send books and magazines to the WPA’s newly formed libraries, the heart of the program was the Pack Horse women, who were hired to ride horses with saddlebags loaded with these books, taking this traveling library to the people living in the hills of their community.
The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia chronicles the strength and bravery of these women as they rode through dense forests and over creek beds where roads did not exist and where danger lurked around every corner, delivering the treasures they carried and bringing the world to the homes of fellow Kentuckians.
The Pack Horse Librarians of Appalachia is funded in part by a grant from the Carolyn Tassie Memorial Fund.
KET is Kentucky’s largest classroom, where learning comes to life for more than one million people each week via television, online and mobile. Learn more about Kentucky’s preeminent public media organization at KET.org, on Twitter @KET and at facebook.com/KET.
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