Mission and History

Mission -The Friends of Kentucky Libraries Inc. is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization of volunteers supporting public libraries across Kentucky.  Our mission is two-fold: to advocate for libraries on the national, state, and local levels; and to provide support for the formation and success of local Friends chapters.

About the Friends of Kentucky Libraries, Inc.

Friends of Kentucky Libraries works hard to make sure Kentucky has the best possible libraries and support groups available.

In 2011 the Kentucky Public Library Association honored the Friends of Kentucky Libraries with their Public Library Advocacy Award. Established in 2001, the Award is presented on an intermittent basis to the organization, public official, or citizen-at-large who most successfully advances the cause of public libraries in the Commonwealth. The Advocacy Award has been presented only twice in the past ten years.

Board of Directors – The Board of Directors is made up of nine to eleven members, elected at the Annual Meeting of the Membership, for a term of 3 years. Nominees are proposed by a Nominating Committee, appointed by the President, and effort is made to assure statewide representation. Nominees are approved by the Board before being presented to the membership. Vacancies that occur mid-term may be filled by the Board upon recommendation of the Nominating Committee.

Nelda Moore (FKL) accepts the KPLA Public Library Advocacy Award from David Schroeder (KPLA) 

Board members may serve two consecutive terms. Public library directors and staff of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives are not eligible to serve on the board; however, the State Librarian and Commissioner for the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives shall serve on the board as an ex officio member.

Officers of the board are: President, President-Elect, Secretary, and Treasurer.

The Board conducts the business of the organization, approves expenditures, grants, special events and programs of the organization. Meetings are held on the 2nd Tuesday of the odd numbered months at KDLA in Frankfort. The meetings are open to the membership and public.

View Current Board Members Here

History – Like a phoenix, FKL revived itself in 2009 after a long dormancy. The organization revised its mission, bylaws, governance, membership categories and dues, and created several ongoing events throughout the calendar year.

Prior to becoming inactive in the mid-1980s, FKL had a successful history in assisting literacy across the Commonwealth. In 1952, Kentucky author Jesse Stuart spoke at the first Annual Meeting of the organization and noted that most rural communities had no public libraries. His speech motivated an audacious plan to provide bookmobile services statewide that became the Kentucky Bookmobile Project.

Spearheaded by the Friends of Kentucky Libraries and the Kentucky Library Association, along with the assistance of some very capable volunteers such as Harry Schacter and Mary Bingham, both of Louisville, the project was able to purchase 84 vehicles and 600,000 books. Staff from the state library worked to secure operating funds from the various counties, as well as to process the book collections. At the 1954 Kentucky State Fair, Governor Lawrence Wetherby presented the bookmobiles to the counties after a parade of vehicles made its way around the fairgrounds.

Membership – Everyone who wants to support Kentucky’s libraries is welcome and encouraged to join Friends of Kentucky Libraries. Our categories of membership include Individuals, Local Libary Friends Chapters, Library Boards of Trustees, Small Businesses, and Corporations. Visit our Membership page to learn more about joining and to contact individual Friends chapters.