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Library and Information Science


Karen Edwards-Hunter was born in Louisville, Kentucky in 1950 and has lived most of her life there. Her father was a mail carrier and her mother, who was originally a homemaker, was later a Teacher’s Assistant at Perry Elementary School. Edwards-Hunter grew up on 15th Street in the city’s Russell neighborhood and attended Perry Elementary School and Harvey C. Russell Junior High School when both were still segregated. She later attended Louisville Male High School before earning a B.A. in English at Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Louisville. She completed further studies at Bard College in New York and a Master’s degree in teaching theater at the University of Louisville.

Edwards-Hunter’s use of the Western Colored Branch began when she was a child. She visited regularly with her sisters and neighborhood friends. The library supplemented her studies at school and served her many personal reading interests. “Books,” she explains, “were the most important thing in my life.” She also describes the branch as an important place for socialization—“the center of [her] universe” where she spent much time with her sisters, neighborhood friends, and classmates. When Edwards-Hunter was in high school, several of her extracurricular clubs and organizations met regularly at the library. She also used the 10th Street YMCA directly across the street.

Edwards-Hunter, who years ago founded an African-American youth theater troupe called the Advanced Stage Theater Company, is today the Educational Programs Coordinator for a tutoring program that meets regularly at the library. After living for several years in other parts of the Louisville area, she once again resides in the Russell neighborhood.

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This oral history is the property of the Roots of Community project at the University of Southern Mississippi’s School of Library and Information Science. It has been published for private use and/or research purposes only. Except for the quotation of brief excerpts in published research, no content from the interview may be reproduced in any form, in part or in whole, without written permission from the Project Director ( Please call (601) 266-4228 for more information.