Lexington Public Library

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Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s historic 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 1.1 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 historic 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.

Walking Tour

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.

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.

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

Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s public art. 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 mile.

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/

This tour has been updated to include the new mural at Stop #5, "In-Finito".

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s public art. 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.

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Download eBooks, audiobooks, magazines, and more – free with your library card.

In the summer of 2019, the Lexington History Museum exhibited a 20th anniversary timeline and historical materials exhibit titled, Our Fair City: the 1999 Lexington Fairness Ordinance. The ordinance, Local Ordinance 201-99, passed on July 8th, 1999, and added sexual orientation and gender identity as explicitly protected classes against discrimination in Fayette County employment, housing and public accommodations.
 
From June 17 - July 19, 2019, the Lexington Public Library hosted the exhibit and several community events surrounding the anniversary. The exhibit also featured a community response section titled, "What Does Fairness Mean To You?" with an opportunity for attendees to give their own response. After the exhibit, the notes were collected and digitized, and are now available for viewing.
 
To view the 3D interactive exhibit, click here.
 
Digital Archives - Collection
The Lexington Public Library opened a Carnegie library in 1905. It incorporated the collections of the former subscription Lexington Library Company (est.1801) and the former Transylvania Library (est.1795). The library became a free library in 1899, shortly before moving locations. When the city outgrew the Carnegie building, the Central Library was built and it opened in 1989.
 
The system contains six branch locations. The largest is the Central Library, located on E. Main St. The Beaumont Branch, located on Fieldstone Way just off Harrodsburg Rd., replaced the Southside Branch in 1997. The Tates Creek Branch, located on Walden Drive, replaced the Lansdowne Branch in 2001. The Village Branch, located on Versailles Rd. at Village Dr., opened in 2004, and is an English-Spanish bilingual branch, with bilingual staff. The Northside Branch, located on Russell Cave Rd., replaced the previous Northside location in 2008. The Eastside Branch, located on Blake James Dr., replaced the Eagle Creek Branch in 2016. 
 
The contents of the library's digital collection contain some images and brochures at various points in library history. The typed library history by Mary K. Bullitt was a part of the library's cornerstone collection, which was buried in 1902, during the construction of the Carnegie building. It was opened in 1989 when the library moved locations. The other images depict the construction of the Central Library from 1987-1989.
 
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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.

Digital Archives - Collection

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.

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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.

Digital Archives - Collection - Group
historic frankfort kentucky

The Kentucky History collection contains Kentucky-related documents not specifically related to Fayette County.

 

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.

 

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The Undesign the Redline project unearths the deep and systemic history of structural racism and inequality in the United States. This interactive exhibit explores policies like Redlining, their implications for today, and what we can do to undesign them. 

The exhibit was created by social impact design studio designing the WE and has been invited to dozens of cities across the country. A local advisory group has helped to produce local history and stories about Redlining in Lexington. 

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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.

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Join us for Kentucky Legends: a series of programs exploring Kentucky culture, history, and lore. Programs include author visits, Chautauqua performances, live music, activities and crafts, and more.

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 - Group
group of children in Grade 5B at Constitution School
The Community Collections consist of objects shared from local community residents and organizations. Individuals have lent items of local significance to the library to give the larger community awareness and access. The original objects are not owned by the Lexington Public Library. 
 
Submissions for the Community Collections are open. If you are an individual or organization interested in possibly lending items to be digitized by the library, please contact elibrarian@lexpublib.org. We consider item age, location, content, relevance, privacy considerations, and item condition when determining items to add. Content donors must be the legal copyright holders if the item is not in the public domain.
 
Kentucky History Awards Icon noting this collection received the award in 2019.

 

Until 1974, Lexington and Fayette County had two separate governing bodies. Lexington itself was founded in 1775 and chartered in 1782 by an act of the Virginia General Assembly, since Kentucky itself did not achieve statehood until 1792. Fayette County was formed in 1780, and spanned what is currently about a third of the state, before achieving its current boundary lines in 1799. 
 
The Lexington Fayette Urban County Government became a consolidated government in 1974. The digitized items in this collection are primarily Lexington city documents or merged city-county documents. The earliest digitized item is Lexington’s 1858 city charter and ordinances. 
 

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!