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Page 15 of Mountain Life & Work vol. 16 no. 2 Summer, 1940

Part of Mountain Life and Work

MOUNTAIN LIFE AND WORK Why Kentucky Needs State-Tide Library Service WINNING ESSAYS URSULA MARCH DAVIDSON Hindman Settlement School, Knott County, Kentucky Third Place in Grades 10-12 I saw a school house today-stuck up in a hol­low, squeezed between two hills. I saw the students -trustful, eager to learn all they could that would prepare them for good citizenship. I saw a group of men and women-scrawny, hard-faced, with disappointment written clearly in the lines of their faces. They are graduates of the little log school; years ago they memorized their text books and went out upon their own. I heard them talking, too: "Yep, it's plain foolishness sendin' them younguns to school. I went a long time-what good did it do me? Hain't seen a book since." "That's so," someone agrees: "looks like the government could do somethin' about it, but lordy mercy, all they think about these days is fightin'. I wish somebody would kill all them old Germans­maybe then we could get one good breath." "Them and the niggers is just like a mule-never know what they aim to do next. 1 anus said if I knowed they'd go to Heaven I wouldn't want to go." Yes, as I surveyed this group today I knew that (Continued on pa,;o 23) do not read books, but if free books are supplied, they will read them. The need for books among rural people is very great. Until recently, the farm folk were not conscious of a lack of books, but this modern age of easy transportation and com­munication has changed this attitude. The secret of America's greatness is that the people know about their government and are in­terested in helping to run it. Unless the people are educated, this government will not continue to be a democracy. Only 977,477 people in Kentucky's 2,614,589 live where they can get the services of one of sixty-eight libraries. The other 1,639,112 people have no library service of any kind. These facts show plainly that Kentucky does need a state-wide library service.

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