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Discover unique resources in our Digital Archives that tell the story of Fayette County. Visit cemeteries throughout Central Kentucky using our cemetery maps. Contact our resident experts in the Central Library's Kentucky Room with questions.
The Kentucky Room collection is strongest in Fayette County materials, though we do have a limited amount of materials for most counties in Kentucky. We do not have out-of-town newspapers, or microfilmed county records for counties other than Fayette. The largest libraries for genealogy research are located in Frankfort at the Kentucky Historical Society, and the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives; and the University of Kentucky has a great collection of Kentucky newspaper archives.
Library staff can respond to only the most specific requests. We cannot compile lineages, determine parentage, locate missing persons, or undertake extensive copying projects from books or microfilm. We will provide a free copy of a list of private researchers who can undertake more extensive research on a fee basis.
We are happy to be able to provide this service to everyone, including those living outside of Fayette County and Kentucky. If you would like to show your support, donations can be made to the Lexington Public Library Foundation.
Fayette County, Kentucky, has changed enormously since it was created in 1792. This collection contains government documents for the city of Lexington, for Fayette County, and for the merged Lexington-Fayette Urban County Government, as well as funeral notices, club directories, scrapbooks, image collections and a history of Lexington Public Library.
These tours are guided audio walking tours with a variety of topics focused on Downtown Lexington, KY. Music will play in between each stop, and the listener can pause the track while walking between stops.
Want to learn about new tours as they become available? Subscribe to our Genealogy & Local History newsletter.
The Lexington Public Library’s Digital Archives provide open access to researchers and students to learn more about the rich history of Lexington and Fayette County. It contains a fraction of the Library’s physical holdings, which are housed and available for reference in the Kentucky Room at the Central Library. New material is being digitized and added constantly, so there's always something new to find.
The archives have a simple keyword search, and it is possible to browse the collections by subject, area, or decade. The Lexington Public Library actively reviews and labels materials in our archives with statements that indicate how you may reuse the images, and what sort of permission, if any, you need to do so. Please check the information for each image to determine its legal status.
The Kentucky History collection contains Kentucky-related documents not specifically related to Fayette County.
This is your gateway to our most popular resources. Search for books and eBooks, access tools for research and learning, and discover our unique collection of genealogy and local history materials.
The Lexington History Museum began in 1999, and opened its doors in the Old Courthouse in 2003. Its purpose is to educate Fayette County about its rich history, and preserve pieces of that history for future generations. The Old Courthouse closed in 2012 for extensive renovations. The History Museum still creates exhibits and works on school and film collaborations to create an understanding and appreciation of local history.
The History Museum's Community Collections currently contains part of the exhibit "Our Fair City: The 1999 Lexington Fairness Ordinance," which was displayed in the summer of 2019 at the Lexington Public Library, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the ordinance's passage.
The Kentucky Pioneer Genealogy and Records Magazine published various articles about early Kentucky history as a quarterly publication from 1979-1985, then annually 1986-1988. It later became the official publication of the Society of Kentucky Pioneers.
All issues have been digitized. Most of the submissions focus on tax records, early military and militia records, family cemeteries, newspapers, and transcriptions of early vital records. They are word searchable.
Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s historic LGBTQ+ places. The full tour is available as a single MP3, or you can download individual tracks. For the single MP3, music will play between the stops. You can pause the track while you walk between stops.
This tour covers a walking distance of 1.6 miles.
You can request a "Bag of Books" to access our materials when you're unable to browse in person. Complete the form below, and we'll pull up to 10 items that match your specified interests. You can help us locate more items by keeping your requests general. Some examples of requests we can accommodate include:
- Cozy mysteries
- Vegan cookbooks
- Picture books about space
- Books on CD by James Patterson
- British TV series on DVD
Please note: While we will do our best, we may not be able to locate 10 items that match your request.
To use this service, you'll need a library card. Find out more here.
Need to request specific titles instead? Log into your account.
Library staff will contact you if they have questions about your request.
Requests are typically filled within 2-3 business days. You'll receive notification when materials are ready to pick up at the location of your choice. Need to change your notification method? Log into your account or give us a call at 859-231-5500.
Once ready, we'll hold your items for 7 days.
Questions? We're here to help! Ask us.
The Luna Library, a program of Believing in Forever, collects and distributes children's books with an African American history or Black character focus. It is an alternative for African American parents looking for books that provide context and knowledge to understand the stories of the African American experience in this country for their children. Believing in Forever is a champion of diversity and inclusion, and the positive impact books have on children of all races.
The Publications Collection contains runs of historical Kentucky newspapers, almanacs, and magazines.
The library has a variety of directories and yearbooks with local information. In the library's current digital collection, there is a selection of residential and street directories, yearbooks, school directories, and organizational directories. These are all fully word-searchable.