Horse Cave Free Public Library
The Horse Cave Free Public Library celebrated its 90th anniversary in 2002. It was founded in 1912 as a consolidation of the Horse Cave Graded School Library and the Progressive Club Library. The Progressive Club was a group of local ladies who met monthly to discuss music, novels, history, etc., to keep themselves from “rusting out” at home. They solicited donations of books and money from former club members, acquaintances, and anyone else who might be interested in community improvement. The library opened January 1, 1913 with 30 donated books and a traveling library of 50 books from the Kentucky Library Commission. There was opposition in the town. One club member said, “the town swore there was no need for it. The women didn't have time to read, the City Council said; the children got enough reading at school and the men weren't interested.”
When a new brick school opened in 1914, space was offered to house the local library along with the school's volumes. The consolidation of the small club library with the school library, most of which had been donated by Miss Helen Gould, made a special library with 925 volumes. It was used by the school from Monday through Friday noon and each Friday afternoon was opened to the general public. They were operated jointly until October 1921, when the club's portion was separated and moved to a downtown room in the heart of the business district with businessmen agreeing to pay monthly subscriptions toward its support.
The next year the women marshaled their forces in an assault on the city council. The state legislature had just sanctioned the formation of taxing districts to support libraries. The club presented a petition signed by many of the local citizens, including the largest taxpayers, asking the council to levy a library tax. In return the women offered all their books and equipment from the library they had operated for 10 years. A week later the city council unanimously voted to levy the maximum amount for the library's support. The city library has been supported by a municipal tax since that date.
The library operated with one librarian and community volunteers for 46 years. Pearle Hutchens reigned in a series of downtown storefronts until her health forced her to resign in 1968.
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In 1952, when the new city building was erected, the library moved into a room of it. The space has been expanded twice since that time.
The library is operated independently from the state library system and the Hart County Library. Overseers are five board members appointed by the Horse Cave Mayor: Peggy Bybee, James C. Sturgeon, Gwynn Tucker, Jerry Cherry, and Mike Thompson.
The library holds approximately 9,000 volumes in virtually every category, including an extensive Kentucky section.
It is located at 111 Higbee Street in City Hall.
Current employees are Theresa Jones and Doris Jones.
Hours of Operation
Hours are 8:30 to 5:00 Monday-Friday.