Rowan County Public Library has been an anchor to the community for many years. 

Hundreds of people visit the local library on a weekly basis. Not only for hard copy library books, but for the multitude of other resources it offers. 216,899 physical items are circulated at the library as well as 44,200 digital circulations and sessions, all of which are public and free to the community. 

“I wanted to get my card because they offer free resources like textbooks and printing. Things that are not super affordable as a college student,” said Harley Spradlin, a junior English secondary education major at Morehead State.  

Spradlin has had a RCPL card for three years and has used both physical and digital library resources. She said the library is important not just for college students but for all of Rowan County. 

Morgan Mullins, a marketing and public relations specialist at the library, is a Johnson County native and began working at the library in 2017. Now, he says working at RCPL feels like home. 

“This isn’t customer service, its community serviceWe are becoming less and less a repository and lender of physical books and more a provider of information services and social services and also of physical objects that cannot be downloaded,” said Mullins. “We provide a lot of services that are replacing the previous idea of the community center. Many libraries are hiring social workers.”  

Rowan County serves as an anchor county, which is a region that provides a focal point for services and resources that are less available in other counties nearby. Citizens from all adjacent counties come to hubs like RCPL to access services and resources. 

“We straddle the line between rural and urban because Rowan County has both the university and the regional medical center,” said Mullins. “Rowan county is where a lot of people live, even if they don’t reside there.” 

Rowan county is also a special taxing district, making RCPL a special purpose government entity. The library draws money from mostly property taxes and from fiscal services, donations and grants through the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives. Despite the pandemic, Mullins said RCPL has experienced growth which allows the budget to go up and for more funding. 

“By partnering with schools and other community organizations, we can provide access to information and provide free educational services that many people in more rural areas would not be able to access without some assistance,” Mullins said. “They treat the library like it is a source and an asset. In return we do our best to make sure they get what they need. I feel like most people leave the library with that feeling.” 

The RCPL provides a variety of programs every week to the community and will host its summer reading program in May. Participants can attend programs, events and fill out reading logs for the opportunity to earn prizes. Registration is for people of all ages and begins May 15.