Serving the residents of Alleghany County, and visitors too!

In her novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, author Kim Michele Richardson shows the positive effect the Pack Horse library service has in a small mountain community in eastern Kentucky.

Cussy Mary Carter is the Pack Horse Librarian for Troublesome Creek. She has a knack for finding the books her patrons request, and a keen intuition that anticipates their needs.


In Sparta you can find that same kind of helpful service and dedication at Books ‘N Friends Book Store on Main Street. When Joyce Speas, Director of Books ‘N Friends, talks about the store’s regular customers you hear about staff members going out of their way to watch for and put aside customer favorites. “We have a few customers who read certain types of books or certain authors,” says Speas. “When those books come through, our staff sets them aside.” 

What is better than a comfortable chair in a quiet corner surrounded by books?

What is better than a comfortable chair in a quiet corner surrounded by books?

The staff is a combination of Book Women & Book Men, volunteers from the non-profit Friends of the Alleghany Library. They regularly field questions about the store’s inventory and receive compliments for their knowledge of the stock and the organization of books and materials. 

Speas shared the story of a family who come from Florida each year to spend a month in the mountains. They told her that every time they come up, Books ‘N Friends is one of their first stops. “They stop by the store and buy a stack books for the month. Every member of the family picks out books and they and spend their mountain time reading.”

  Books ‘N Friends is popular for its monthly book sale on the first Saturday of each month, and you can buy gift certificates to use all at once or over time. We may not have a Pack Horse Librarian in Sparta, when it comes to serving the county residents and visitors, Books ‘N Friends sure comes close!

Find them on Facebook,

Come to the Alleghany Library on September 26, when Kim Michele Richardson brings The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek to Sparta. Reception at 5:30pm, program with slide show at 6pm. Hear about the Pack Horse Librarians of the 1930’s and the Blue People of Kentucky, the inspirations for her new novel. For more information: Alleghany Library, 336-372-5573, or

Submitted by: Ginger Collins, Alleghany Writers