The Western Library, a first for Kentucky

Date: 
Sat, 1905-09-23

On this date in 1905, the Western Library of Louisville, KY, opened.

Founded by Albert Ernest Meyzeek, it was the first library to serve Louisville's Black community, and one of the first of its kind in America. Western’s first librarian was Thomas Fountain Blue, Sr., who was assisted by Ms. Rachel Harris. Joseph S. Cotter, poet and playwright, was involved with its early programs and is credited with the early storytelling contests for young people.

The Western Library was built on Louisville’s West Chestnut Street with funds from Andrew Carnegie, a philanthropist. It was one of eight Carnegie-endowed libraries built in Louisville in the early 20th century and was a success right from the beginning.

Western's present building opened in 1908 and Thomas Blue held his librarianship until his death in 1935. While there he designed a training program in library science for African-Americans that in time was adopted on a national scale. Western has always been a center of culture and learning.

The building underwent a massive renovation in 1994 and today is a state-of-the-art facility offering traditional library services and Internet and computer technology.

Reference:
Western Library

African American Historical Postcards

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