There was a little known program between the years 1935 and 1943 under FDR’s New Deal. It was The Pack Horse Library. One thousand women were hired to ride horses and carry saddlebags full of books to deliver to people. This was a way to get books into the hands of people who were poor and had no way to get to a library. It sounds like a cross between the Pony Express and the Bookmobile. Thank you Nicholas Rossis for this excellent post, which includes outstanding and rare photographs.
I first heard of The Pack Horse Library through a wonderful children’s picture book, “That Book Woman”, by Heather Henson. It tells the story of one family’s many visits by the Pack Horse Library woman.
Dusty Old Thing recently published an article by Rose Heichelbech about The Fierce Female Librarians Who Delivered Books On Horseback During The Great Depression. While everyone’s heard of the Pony Express, this is a rarely-told story. If like me, you’d never heard it, here you are!
The New Deal’s Book Women
In the middle of the Great Depression, not only was America grappling with the tightening of just about every single household budget, but the nation was also poorly connected. At the time most rural areas were without basic services like electricity and running water. As such, these remote areas were often devoid of public institutions like libraries.
Some of the most isolated areas were nestled in the Appalachian area of Kentucky, among other locations. One of the many public programs initiated by FDR’s New Deal was the Works Progress Administration, which funded the Pack Horse Library Initiative. The…
View original post 748 more words