Whitney Hale

By

College: Libraries

Sesquicentennial Series: First Lady of Literature

Published: Dec 6, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Dec. 6, 2012) — In celebration of the University of Kentucky's upcoming sesquicentennial in 2015, the 35th of 150 weekly installments on the university remembers the service of the institution's first librarian, Margaret I. King.

 

Margaret Isadora King, UK's first librarian and the namesake of the King Building, was a Lexington native, who lived her entire life at her childhood home, 225 South Limestone St. Lexington Hydraulics and Manufacturing Company, her father Gilbert Hinds King's company, led the way for what became Lexington’s water works system.

 

King graduated with honors in 1898 earning her bachelor's degree from the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Kentucky. She began her career doing clerical work in the Lexington law firm of Allen and Bronston from 1899 to 1905. In 1905, she began her long career at the college by serving as secretary to President James K. Patterson

 

President Patterson asked King to organize the university’s first library in 1909. While putting the library in order, she continued as secretary to the president until she was named the institution's first librarian in 1912.

 

During her career as librarian of the university, King continued her education. She performed some graduate work at the University of Michigan, and in 1929, she earned her bachelor's degree in librarianship from Columbia University.

 

Some of King’s professional activities included serving as a trustee for the Lexington Public Library for many years, and directing the survey of Kentucky libraries from 1936-1938 for the American Library Association’s Survey of Research Materials in Southern Libraries. King’s development of library methods courses eventually led to the establishment of a department of library science (now the School of Library and Information Science) at UK.

 

King oversaw the development of a modern university library and her contributions to the library were vast. She was a dedicated employee who worked hard to improve the quality of the collection and the quality of service. Thomas D. Clark, a UK history professor in the 1930s and later chair of the department, recalled that King’s "whole orientation toward library management was getting books to students, running a good loan desk, and building a good reference department."

 

President Herman L. Donovan said of King "she has built the library up from one that could be housed in a single room to a library that now contains more than 400,000 volumes and is fourth or fifth in size among the libraries of the South. It would be impossible to estimate the value of her contribution to the University of Kentucky."

 

In addition to making books accessible to students and faculty, King also facilitated a lecture series, changing exhibitions, and extension programs. She taught library science and English courses at the university and encouraged her staff to travel to conferences and to obtain library degrees.

 

Outside of her career at UK, King was an active member of Christ Church Episcopal, now Christ Church Cathedral, where she was a Sunday school teacher, the head of the Altar Guild, and the head of the Girl’s Friendly Society for many years.

 

King retired in 1949, her career at UK spanned 39 years. In 1948, the Board of Trustees named the library in her name. Although she retired as librarian, she continued to perform some work for the library at UK. She died in Lexington on April 13, 1966.

 

This story on UK's history is presented by UK Special Collections. Special Collections is home to UK Libraries' collection of rare books, Kentuckiana, the Archives, the Louie B. Nunn Center for Oral History, the King Library Press and the Wendell H. Ford Public Policy Research Center. The mission of Special Collections is to locate and preserve materials documenting the social, cultural, economic and political history of the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, (859) 257-8716 or whitney.hale@uky.edu

mi_king.jpgcarnegie_library_interior2.jpglibrary_club_1_2_minnie_neville_3_margaret_king_4_dean_a._j._hamilton_5_freda_lenon_6_margaret_tuttle.jpglibrary_exhibit.jpgm_i_king_library_construction.jpg
December
 
1
Resumes and Cover Letters
Circle of Love Gift Return
Mon
2
UK Guitar Studio
Circle of Love Gift Return
Tue
3
Networking and Job Search
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Wayne's World
Study Sounds: Classical Concert
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Frozen
Ballet Music of Tchaikovsky
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Live Screening of Orion Spacecraft Re-entry
Massage on the Go
Thu
5
LNFS Presents: Winter's Bone
LNFS Presents: Gremlins
Open Studio
Circle of Love Gift Pick-Up
Fri
6
Snow Skiing @ Perfect North Slopes
Sat
7
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Sun
8
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find a Faculty Mentor"
Mon
9
Job Club - Identifying Your Skills
Paws for Stress Relief
Tue
10
 
Wed
11
 
Thu
12
Last Day of Classes
Fri
13
 
Sat
14
Free Holiday Shopping Shuttle to Fayette Mall
Finals Treats
Sun
15
Final Exams
Crunch Brunch
Mon
16
Final Exams
Jazzy Holiday Concert
Tue
17
Final Exams
Caregiver Support Group
Wed
18
Final Exams
Thu
19
Final Exams
End of 2014 Fall Semester
Fri
20
 
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
 
Mon
23
 
Tue
24
 
Wed
25
 
Thu
26
 
Fri
27
 
Sat
28
 
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
31
 
Wed
 
 
 
Jan 14
Bicycle Trivia 01/14/2015

Wed, 01/14/2015

Fri, 01/16/2015

Wed, 01/21/2015

Reset Page