Librarian Women of the Great Depression Take to Horseback to Deliver Books

The Pack Horse Library Initiative, an attempt to bring some kind of literacy to Americans amidst America’s Dark Great Depression.

President Franklin Roosevelt’s ‘Works Progress Admin’ in the 1930s were committed to finding any solutions to America’s growing illiteracy and boost any chances of gainful employment for the many in need.

These isolated communities that had little to no access to employment and also the growing need for the children of these areas to grasp any kind of education and so separated from schooling communities, only a Dark epidemic this can create. Spanning 10,000 square mile area of Eastern Kentucky. In these areas there was a portion of up to 30% of people that couldn’t read and could hardly speak their thoughts. Extremely isolated mountain communities that were so cut off from the rest of the world the only way to bring learning was… horseback librarians – mostly made up of women.

Horseback librarians would ride and ride easily over a hundred miles a week in all sorts of weather and paths or (lack of paths) often completing their journeys on foot loaded up with books.

It wasn’t until well into World War II that these women weren’t required as such, as general employment dramatically lifted, hence the War.

In 1943 ‘The Pack Horse Library Initiative’ ended.

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