Boyd County Public Library

1740 Central Avenue
Ashland, KY 41101


Boyd County Library District: A Short History

As early as the 1870's Ashland residents expressed a need for reading. The first mentioned lending library was from the personal collection of John Means (who would later become Mayor of Ashland). Over the next four decades, various upper floors in the downtown area served as free libraries, operated by various individuals or volunteer groups.

In February 1914, a subscription library was started in the Gray and Poor Store on Winchester Avenue; the first Librarian was Miss Hilton. According to records the first book cataloged was Fisherman's Luck by Henry Van Dyke published in 1913. In 1920 the library was moved to the home of a local teacher, Miss Sallie Martin, who also used her home for a Kindergarten. This library lasted for many years and its' collection was added to the WPA library that was to be built later.

In December 1930, the Ashland Memorial Library Association was organized to establish a free public library for the city. In 1935 city commissioners adopted a resolution supporting construction of a library. The land was part of Crabbe School property that the School Board deeded. Public subscriptions supplemented the WPA grants to build the library. Ground was broken on April 22, 1935 and the building opened in December 1936. On October 7, 1936 the first meeting of the Board of Trustees of the Ashland Public Library was held in the mayor's office. At that time, the Association transferred all assets to the new organization. The first book cataloged in the records of the new library was Miss Bishop by Bess Aldrich.

Charles F. Weaver (another former Ashland Mayor) bequeathed substantial sums and property in his will to the library Association. On April 13, 1959 ground was broken for an addition to the library. This addition increased the library by 8000 square feet. This wing was in memory of the Weaver family with a total cost of $78,000.

From 1937 to 1970 all residents of Boyd County received free service from the Ashland Public Library. The Boyd Fiscal Court started contributing to the city-supported library in 1950 then in 1970 non-Ashland resident borrowers were charged an annual fee to use the library. On April 25, 1979, county petitions were presented to the fiscal court requesting that a county library district be formed. While the petitions were stalled by opponents and court cases for nearly two and a half years, it was finally accepted by the fiscal court in 1981 and the Boyd County Public Library was formed.

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