Lexington Public Library

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Walking Tour

Join us for a walking tour of Downtown Lexington’s African American Heritage 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 1.7 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 African American Heritage 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.

Free program being offered at Northside and Village Branches

Lexington, Kentucky (December 20, 2022) – Lexington Public Library announced today that its popular LPL After School program will return in 2023, beginning January 2. 

LPL After School is a FREE drop-in program for kids aged 5-12 that takes place after regular school hours, Mondays through Fridays from 4-6pm.  The Library, in partnership with God’s Pantry, will provide snacks for all participants as well as STEAM and enrichment activities, homework help, and reading recommendations. And there’s no need to register—just show up!

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

The True American was an anti-slavery newspaper started by Cassius Marcellus Clay in June 1845. He ran the paper in Lexington until August of 1845, when he published an article deemed so incendiary that a court injunction was issued against his printing, and his press shipped to Cincinnati. An advocate of the right to a free press, and his right of free speech, Clay continued printing the paper through 1847 in Cincinnati. The paper was distributed in Lexington. While focused on advancing the cause of emancipation, Clay also published poetry, agriculture, labor, and commercial news. There are also marriage and death notices from the surrounding area, some national.

Cassius Marcellus Clay was a fiery figure in Kentucky history. He often fought in duels and in street fights, generally in response to arguments against his emancipationist views. Later in life, he often had shootouts with the Madison County Sheriff at his home, Whitehall.

After the publication of his incendiary editorial (August 12, 1845, page 3 columns 1-4), he is said to have armed his printing shop with two brass cannons and myriad other weapons to fend off any attacks. The committee charged with removing his press did so while Clay was incapacitated with a fever, avoiding what surely would have been a deadly counterattack from Clay. In the March 18, 1846 paper, Clay addresses the attack, and continues his fiery rhetoric, finally offering a discount to non-slaveholders in slave states.

Clay is featured in an episode of the Library’s podcast "Tales from the Kentucky Room", which is linked below.

The Library only has a short run of The True American. It has been digitized from the microfilm, which can be accessed in the Kentucky Room. Several issues have significant mildew damage, so in some cases the OCR quality may be poor, though the print itself is still legible.

Throughout the fall of 2023 and into the winter for 2023, the Lexington Public Library will be embarking on a strategic visioning process that will guide library programs and services for the next three years.

The Digital Studio provides people of all skill levels the tools for filmmaking, photography and digital art, music making, and media preservation.

Primary Page

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

Destination Kindergarten

Destination Kindergarten is the library’s program aimed at preschoolers and their caregivers- trying to help them practice the skills they need to be ready for Kindergarten.  During each Destination Kindergarten event, preschoolers and their caregivers can find a specalized area in the library with fun books, take-home activities, and information about development milestones and school readiness.

See below for more information on upcoming events and take-home packets and activities.

The William Stamps Farish, III Theater at the Central Library is available to the community for lectures, live music, community forums, film festivals, small theatrical productions, dance performances, literary readings, debates, and other creative uses.

The William Stamps Farish Fund Theater is a state-of-the-art facility in one of Main Street’s busiest places.

Fully renovated and updated, the theater on the Central Library’s first floor is home to theater, dance, live music, film, community events, and meetings. The Lexington Public Library makes the facility available at some of the city’s best prices, with affordable business, nonprofit, and government rates.

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

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.

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!