Lexington Public Library

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Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s African American Heritage Sites. 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 1.7 miles.

The music clips used in this tour are from “Walking Barefoot on Grass” by Kai Engel, and are used with a CCBY license. It is available here: http://freemusicarchive.org/music/Kai_Engel/

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s African American Heritage Sites. 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.

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.

Digital Archives - Collection

The True American was an anti-slavery newspaper started by Cassius Marcellus Clay in June 1845. He ran the paper in Lexington until August of 1845, when he published an article deemed so incendiary that a court injunction was issued against his printing, and his press shipped to Cincinnati. An advocate of the right to a free press, and his right of free speech, Clay continued printing the paper through 1847 in Cincinnati. The paper was distributed in Lexington. While focused on advancing the cause of emancipation, Clay also published poetry, agriculture, labor, and commercial news. There are also marriage and death notices from the surrounding area, some national.

Cassius Marcellus Clay was a fiery figure in Kentucky history. He often fought in duels and in street fights, generally in response to arguments against his emancipationist views. Later in life, he often had shootouts with the Madison County Sheriff at his home, Whitehall.

After the publication of his incendiary editorial (August 12, 1845, page 3 columns 1-4), he is said to have armed his printing shop with two brass cannons and myriad other weapons to fend off any attacks. The committee charged with removing his press did so while Clay was incapacitated with a fever, avoiding what surely would have been a deadly counterattack from Clay. In the March 18, 1846 paper, Clay addresses the attack, and continues his fiery rhetoric, finally offering a discount to non-slaveholders in slave states.

Clay is featured in an episode of the Library’s podcast "Tales from the Kentucky Room", which is linked below.

The Library only has a short run of The True American. It has been digitized from the microfilm, which can be accessed in the Kentucky Room. Several issues have significant mildew damage, so in some cases the OCR quality may be poor, though the print itself is still legible.
 

Primary Page

Wonderful podcasts and walking tours have been created by our staff. Please enjoy!

Are you just starting your family tree, or have you run into a brick wall tracing a distant ancestor? Join us to share tips and learn new research strategies. All levels of experience are welcome!

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
Kentucky Progress magazine

The Publications Collection contains runs of historical Kentucky newspapers, almanacs, and magazines. 

Lexington, Kentucky (February 1, 2024) – This February, Lexington Public Library is proud to join the nation in celebrating Black History Month, a time dedicated to honoring the achievements, contributions, and rich cultural heritage of African Americans.
 

Lexington, Kentucky (February 1, 2024) – This February, Lexington Public Library is proud to join the nation in celebrating Black History Month, a time dedicated to honoring the achievements, contributions, and rich cultural heritage of African Americans.
 
Throughout the month, the library will host a variety of events, programs, and resources that highlight the importance of Black history in our community and beyond. These offerings aim to educate, inspire, and foster a deeper understanding of the significant impact Black individuals have had on various aspects of society.
 
"Lexington Public Library proudly embarks on a journey of celebration and reflection as we honor Black History Month,” said Library Executive Director Heather Diefenbach. “Throughout February, we invite the community to join us in exploring the profound impact, rich heritage, and enduring contributions of African Americans through a diverse array of events and resources. Let us come together to learn, appreciate, and commemorate the inspiring stories that have shaped our shared history."
 
Lexington Public Library is committed to creating an inclusive and welcoming space where all members of the community can come together to learn, celebrate, and reflect on the richness of Black history. By offering a diverse range of events and resources, the library aims to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of our shared history.
 
For a complete listing of Black History Month programs at the Library, please visit lexpublib.org/bhm.   For general information on Lexington Public Library, their programs, and their partners, please visit www.lexpublib.org and their social media pages @lexpublib. 

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
Fayette County History

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.

 

Secondary Page

Find out what's happening at our locations.  Browse upcoming events and discover our dedicated learning spaces.  Reserve a meeting room.  Explore our galleries and special collections.

Board Member
Advisory Board

DeLaine Bender, CAE, is the Vice President of AMR Management Services, a Lexington-based association management company serving national and international associations and professional societies. Her responsibilities include marketing and business development, support for new clients, and management of association staff. A career nonprofit executive, she served as Executive Director of several associations before joining the AMR executive team in 2017.

DeLaine is an active member of the American Society of Association Executives and earned the Certified Association Executive (CAE) credential, the highest professional credential in the association industry, in 2012. She earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. She lives in Lexington with her husband and together they have five adult children.

E-mail DeLaine Bender

Board Member
Advisory Board

Daryl R. Privott, Ph.D. is a Kentucky Colonel, a member of the American Library Association and has been a fan of libraries since his youth growing up in Washington, DC. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Adult & Higher Education Graduate Program at Morehead State University. Prior to his faculty appointment at Morehead in 2013, he has experience managing higher education campuses, university libraries, working for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in Washington, DC. and working as a Sign Language interpreter. Daryl moved to Lexington from Las Vegas, NV in 2009 with his wife and two children. Daryl enjoys learning, movement and music.

Podcast Episode
Mariam interviews Doug Tattershall, author of Belle Brezing: American Magdalene, about his book. They discuss Belle Brezing’s early life, her years as the nationally known brothel owner, and the generally unknown final years of her life in seclusion.
Board Member
Board of Trustees
Treasurer

Stephanie has been in the financial industry since 1993 and has a bachelor’s degree in finance is from the University of Kentucky.  She is passionate about community involvement and that includes current board positions on the Lexington Public Library and a member of the finance council of the Diocese of Lexington. She is a past board member of Surgery on Sunday, Bluegrass Rape Crisis Center, the Lexington Chapter of the American Red Cross and a past Trustee for Lexington Catholic High School, which she chaired for several years. She served on the Saint Paul Catholic Church finance council, which she also chaired for many years, and a past member of the formation committee.  She has been involved with Rotary and the Lexington Forum.  She has lived in Lexington since 1977 with her husband Joe.  They have two sons, Joseph III (Danielle) and Miles, both of Lexington.

E-mail Stephanie Nallia