Given to the University of Kentucky by the class of 2009, Historical Marker #2315 commemorates the Margaret I. King Library. Margaret Isadora King was born in Lexington on September 1, 1879. She graduated from the University of Kentucky in 1898 and was the salutatorian for her class. She was secretary to James Patterson, the first president of the university, and became the university’s first librarian in 1912. She also served as an instructor in both Library Science and English. She retained those positions until she retired in 1949. She died in 1966 and is buried in the Lexington Cemetery.
The library opened in 1931, replacing the 1909 Carnegie Library. It was named to honor Margaret I. King in 1948. As librarian, she expanded the collection from a single room to over 400,000 volumes by 1948. The original building was expanded for the growing collections in the 1960s and the King Library North was added in 1974. The King Library served as the main library until the William T. Young Library opened in 1998. It is now home to Special Collections, Map Collections, Science Library, the King Library Press, and other library offices.
The UK Senior Challenge Historical Marker Project, administered by the Kentucky Historical Society, began in 1994 as a way for the graduating senior class to leave a memorial to the university. Every year since then, the UK historical marker committee has decided on the topic, raised the money, and written the text for the markers.