Professional News

Kentucky Virtual Library Joins University Press of Kentucky Open Access Initiative Consortial Partner Program

Wildcat reading books
Photo by Mark Cornelison | UK Photo

LEXINGTON, Ky. (March 7, 2022) — The Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL) is the newest partner in the University Press of Kentucky’s Open Access Initiative (UPK OAI), an initiative to make resources freely available to citizens of the Commonwealth.

As a result of this partnership, students and patrons of Kentucky Virtual Library participating institutions will now have free and unlimited access to more than 1,300 books published by UPK. KYVL is administered by the Council on Postsecondary Education and serves more than 350 libraries including K-12, college and university, state government and public libraries. 

“We are so thrilled to be partnering with KYVL for our Open Access initiative. With their cooperation, thousands of Kentuckians can now peruse these valuable titles at no cost to them. As a state-funded publisher, we want to give back to the commonwealth. KYVL is the ideal partner for bringing knowledge and information to the people,” said Ashley Runyon, University Press of Kentucky director.

Among the collection available to KYVL users are classic titles by beloved Kentucky authors such as James Still, Frank X Walker, Harlan Hubbard and Janice Holt Giles. Notable books available include: 

  • “Something’s Rising: Appalachians Fighting Mountaintop Removal” by Silas House and Jason Howard
  • “Faces of Kentucky,” a history of the commonwealth for young students from historian James Klotter
  • “The Kentucky Encyclopedia” by John E. Kleber
  • “Talking Appalachian: Voice, Identity and Community,” featuring such contributors as George Ella Lyon, Lee Smith and Kentucky Poet Laureate Crystal Wilkinson
  • “Buffalo Dance: The Journey of York,” the Lillian Smith Book Award-winning collection of poetry from Frank X Walker

“UPK’s open access titles add a dimension to KYVL resources that will benefit lifelong learners across the Commonwealth,” said Ilona Burdette, Kentucky Virtual Library’s executive director. “The wide range of titles may be used as source materials for college classes, saving students money on the cost of books. Many thanks to UPK for making this rich content available through KYVL and to those who have worked behind the scenes to make this happen.”

UPK’s Open Access Initiative is intended as a long-term commitment to making UPK resources freely available to the citizens of the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Most UPK titles become available through the OAI when they are five years old. Access is provided via UKnowledge or the Kentucky Virtual Library. Users may contact their local library for login credentials. 

For more information on the University Press of Kentucky and our Open Access Initiative, please contact Brooke Raby, director of sales and marketing, at For information on Kentucky Virtual Library and the Council on Postsecondary Education, please contact Sue Patrick at

The University Press of Kentucky is the statewide nonprofit scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Serving all Kentucky state-sponsored institutions of higher learning as well as seven private colleges and Kentucky’s two major historical societies, it was organized in 1969 as successor to the University of Kentucky Press. UPK is dedicated to the publication of academic books of high scholarly merit as well as significant books about the history and culture of Kentucky, the Ohio Valley region, the Upper South and Appalachia.

The Council on Postsecondary Education is leading transformation in our workforce, economy and quality of life by advancing progress in educational attainment across Kentucky. As the state’s higher education coordinating agency, we champion high-quality, inclusive and affordable postsecondary opportunities that prepare students for civic engagement and sustainable careers. That’s why we are undertaking the 60x30 goal, an ambitious effort to raise the percentage of working-age Kentuckians with a postsecondary degree or certificate to 60% by the year 2030. At CPE, we believe that higher education matters – for everyone.

As the state’s flagship, land-grant institution, the University of Kentucky exists to advance the Commonwealth. We do that by preparing the next generation of leaders — placing students at the heart of everything we do — and transforming the lives of Kentuckians through education, research and creative work, service and health care. We pride ourselves on being a catalyst for breakthroughs and a force for healing, a place where ingenuity unfolds. It's all made possible by our people — visionaries, disruptors and pioneers — who make up 200 academic programs, a $476.5 million research and development enterprise and a world-class medical center, all on one campus.   

In 2022, UK was ranked by Forbes as one of the “Best Employers for New Grads” and named a “Diversity Champion” by INSIGHT into Diversity, a testament to our commitment to advance Kentucky and create a community of belonging for everyone. While our mission looks different in many ways than it did in 1865, the vision of service to our Commonwealth and the world remains the same. We are the University for Kentucky.