EKY library receives award for defying the odds

WYMT Mountain News Weekend Edition newscast at 6 p.m. on Sunday
Published: Aug. 6, 2023 at 4:15 PM EDT|Updated: Aug. 6, 2023 at 11:27 PM EDT
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WYMT Weekend Edition News at 11 p.m.

JACKSON, Ky. (WYMT) - The Breathitt County Public Library was the inaugural recipient of the Library Journal and Gale Libraries Defying the Odds award.

Executive Director Stephen Bowling said being a resource during the Covid-19 pandemic and floods in 2021 and 2022 is why they won the award.

“So, that gave us a unique opportunity to serve our community and we saw that opportunity. We opened our doors during the flooding, we allowed FEMA, we allowed other agencies to use our building for almost six months,” he said.

He added that the award is for the entire community.

“We serve our community in all kinds of needs and every imaginable way because that is what we are. We are a community funded, we are a publicly funded agency, that’s here to serve the community,” he said.

Bowling said the community is what makes the library a ‘safe haven.’

“The building is the building, but the library is the people, my staff, the board of directors, the community. A library is about people and that’s why we thrive in Eastern Kentucky. Every library in Eastern Kentucky thrives because we understand that it’s about people first and foremost,” he explained.

He said it is good to know that they are doing good work.

“The award itself is an affirmation of what we’re doing. It tells us that what we’re doing is right, it’s right for the community, it is right for the people that we serve so, that’s why we’re very happy,” he said. “Everybody likes every now and then to have a pat on the back to say good job, you’re doing what we need in the community. So, that was for us, an affirmation that the course that we’re on, the direction that public libraries in Kentucky in general are on, is the correct course and we’re moving in the right direction.”

Bowling said they will continue to work with and for the people of Breathitt County.