General Information

Harlan County Public Library was first established in February of 1925. Members of the Harlan Women's Civic League started the library with 38 books. It was first in a small building on Main Street.


The Harlan City Council allowed the library to open in a room on the second floor of the old city hall building.
During the Great Depression the Pack Horse Library also worked out of the same room and supplemented one another.


After World War II, an agreement arranged by KDLA secured funding for the library from Harlan City Council and Harlan Fiscal Court. Mrs. Ellen McNew was the first librarian.
After moving into the city hall building. the library site has been on the Third Street since 1968 thanks to donations from Bryan Whitfield and Ellen McNew.


Rebecca Caudill Public Library was first established in 1965 in a old store building located on Myers St. in Cumberland, Kentucky.  It was funded by the State Department of Libraries. 


When the library was opened it was named in honor of a local author, Rebecca Caudill.

In 1972, the Cumberland Branch moved to a newly constructed building funded by state library funds.


In 1995, an addition to this construction was completed.  Project funds were provided by an LSCA Grant through the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, the Harlan County Library District and gifts.



Harlan County Public Library District Board of Trustees

Roland Cornett, President

Chuck Bianchi, Vice-President

Mark Ford, Treasurer

Linda Mefford, Secretary

Carla Dye

Richard Haynes, Director

Renae Shepherd, Branch Director

Pat North, Branch Director

Lisa Adkison, Branch Director