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The Keepers in Rolling Stone

Our Keepers story, The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky made it onto Greil Marcus’ Real Life Top Ten in Rolling Stone! And now our day, our month, our year is made…

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4. Kitchen Sisters (Davia Nelson and Nikki Silva), “The Pack Horse Librarians of Eastern Kentucky,” NPR (September 13). In this riveting seven-minute recreation of a lost WPA program—women riding horses into Appalachian hollers at the bottom of the Great Depression with donated books and scrapbooks they made from used magazines (recipes, ballads, local histories, “dogs, Spain, Nazis, model airplanes”)—you hear the voices of FDR and Eleanor Roosevelt, of scholars and descendants, but most of all you hear Mary Ruth Shuler Dieter, who is 97 and sounds like she’s already outlived time. There are bits of songs in the program, but she makes the music. It’s her voice you wait for: “They were so happy to get a book. Tickled to death. We always sat under the big old chestnut tree. They didn’t know how to read so I read it and read it again so they could understand it.”