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

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1
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Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Successful Networking & Job Search
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
Brazilian Conversation Hour
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LNFS Presents: Donnie Darko
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
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Lexington Tattoo Project
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
SEC-ACC Virtual Career Fair
Massage on the Go #3
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3
Cultural Coffee Hour
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
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4
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
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Tanya Habjouqa: Recent Photographs
Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
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6
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Age Friendly Community Panel
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Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
Same Difference: Michelle Grabner, Simone Leigh & Russell Maltz
Lexington Tattoo Project
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8
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SpeakBlue: Richard Sherman
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From Plows to Plates: A Journey Through Kentucky Foodways
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Edward Troye: Theme & Variation
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13
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Don't Ask, Don't Tell
Get Your DIY On! Fix-It Station Demonstrations
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14
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Job Club - LinkedIn: Your Job Search Best Friend
Tie Dye Tuesday
#UK Kick Butts Day
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 2 p.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 3 p.m.
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15
LNFS Presents: The Godfather: Part II
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 11 a.m.
Career & Major Exploration Session @ Noon
Career & Major Exploration Session @ 1 p.m.
Affrilachian Poets
Bike-In Movie: The Bicycle Thieves
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16
LNFS Presents: The Perks of Being a Wallflower
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
CANCELED: Bike-In Breakfast
Human Rights in China: a panel discussion
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: North by Northwest
LNFS Presents: Raiders of the Lost Ark
Cultural Coffee Hour
Car-Free Day
Performance Conference
Audience Appeals and Performing Assistance Conference
Holi: The Indian Festival of Colors
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18
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Bully Breed Awareness Walk
Spring Carnival 2015
Taste of Africa
GAYla Drag Show and Silent Auction
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19
 
Sun
20
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Floral Sculpture
Pinterest Party #3
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21
Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
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Tour de Downtown Art
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22
LNFS Presents: Birdman
Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
National Student Exchange (NSE) Info Session
Brazilian Conversation Hour
Healthy Smoothie Demonstration
Ping Pong Ball Drop
Shake the Stress Fest
Wed
23
LNFS Presents: Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
LNFS Presents: The Avengers
Wildcat Wellness: Healthy Habits
Wildcat Wrap-Up
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
Kentucky's Future - Plant a Tree in the Pennyrile region of the Walk Across Kentucky
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24
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Cultural Coffee Hour
Art in Bloom Weekend
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25
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Network Publishing: Digital Writing in the Humanities
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Art in Bloom Weekend
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Art in Bloom Cocktail Party
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26
Art in Bloom Weekend
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27
Resumes & Cover Letters that Work
Wildcat Wellness: Expressions (Creative Stress Relief)
Fuel for Finals
UK Ag Equine Programs Distinguished Lecture Series
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Wildcat Wellness: Relaxation
Be PAWsitive!
Job Club: How to Write the Perfect Resume and Cover Letter
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Wildcat Wellness: Meditation
Internship Info Session
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30
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