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Packhorse Librarians

The packhorse librarians of the Appalachia, an article I wrote a few weeks ago, have patrons asking what info the Warsaw Community Public Library has on these brave women. Below are three books in our collection.

“That Book Woman” by Heather Henson is a picture book for children. It is about a family living in the Appalachian Mountains in the 1930s that gets books to read during visits from the “Book Woman”, a librarian who rides a packhorse through the mountains, lending books to the isolated residents.

“The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek” by Kim Michele Richardson tells the story of blue-skinned Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare blue people of Kentucky. She joins Roosevelt's Pack Horse Library Project and becomes a traveling librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her mule to deliver books and other reading material to the disadvantaged hill people of Eastern Kentucky. Along her route, Cussy faces pessimists at every turn, but is determined to bring the joy of books to the hardscrabble Kentuckians.

For those who’ve not heard of the blue skinned people, they were known as the “Blue Fugates” who settled in Eastern Kentucky in the 1800’s who were notable for having been carriers of a genetic trait that led to the disease methemoglobinemia, which gives sufferers blue-tinged skin. The last known descendant of the Fugates was born in 1975 who lost his blue skin tone as he grew older.

 “Giver of Stars” by Jojo Moyes is a breathtaking story of five astonishing women and their incredible journey through the mountains of Kentucky. When a call goes out for a team of women to deliver books as part of Eleanor Roosevelt’s new traveling library, these women answer the call to become the horseback librarians of Kentucky. While facing danger, they are committed to their job, bringing books to people who have never had any, sharing the gift of literacy that will change their lives. Based on a true story in America’s past, the Giver of Stars is humorous at times, and tragic at others. It is a splendidly rewarding novel, a captivating tale of love, friendship, and self-actualization.

If you’re interested in the reading about the valiant librarians who brought literacy to the Appalachia on horseback come in check us out.

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