Wayne Onkst

Presidential Visits to Kentucky, 1819-2017

The Jesse Stuart Foundation recently released Presidential Visits to Kentucky: 1819-2017 by Wayne Onkst, retired State Librarian and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department of Libraries and Archives and Chairman of the JSF Board of Directors. Presidents have been visiting Kentucky since 1819 arriving by horseback, carriage, train, steamboat, bus, and airplane. They have inspected military installations, dedicated historic sites and infrastructure, campaigned for themselves and others, promoted administration initiatives, attended horse races and funerals, performed various other functions, and often just passed through. Considering the power of the president, each visit is meaningful and historic. Presidential Visits to Kentucky: 1819-2017 details more than 120 occasions when the President of the United States came to the Commonwealth. It chronicles when the president came, why, where he went, and who he saw as he made history.

Wayne Onkst

Wayne Onkst’s first job as a teenager was shelving books at the Laurel County Public Library. He received a Bachelor’s Degree in History and a Master’s Degree in Library Science from the University of Kentucky. He held various positions at the Kenton County Public Library, becoming the library’s director in 1999. His work as Director included construction of two Library branches and launching of the Library’s Read Racer, which provides books and services to preschoolers. He was appointed Kentucky’s State Librarian and Commissioner of the Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives in 2006 and served until his retirement in 2015. He served as President of the Kentucky Public Library Association, President of the Greater Cincinnati Library Consortium, Chair of the Kentucky Virtual Library Advisory Committee, Chair of the State Archives and Records Commission, Secretary of the Chiefs of State Library Agencies and President of the Southern Council of State Librarians. In 2005, Wayne was honored with the American Library Association’s Sullivan Award for outstanding service to children and, in 2012, was awarded the Kentucky Library Association’s Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to being a lifetime member of the Friends of Kentucky Libraries, he serves on the board of the Kentucky Historical Society, the Jesse Stuart Foundation and Welcome House of Northern Kentucky.

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