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Spring Celebration

Presented by the UK Libraries National Advisory Board, the UK Libraries Spring Celebration is held at William T. Young Library every May to honor the achievements of students, faculty, staff, and exemplary Kentuckians. 

Among the annual awards bestowed at the Spring Celebration are the Medallion for Intellectual Achievement, the Dean’s Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Scholarship, and the Paul A. Willis Award for Outstanding Faculty. Find a list of all past recipients of UK Libraries awards.  

The event is free and open to the public, but reservations are requested.

Earle C. Clements Lecture-Symposium

The annual Earle C. Clements Lecture-Symposium honors the legacy of Earle C. Clements by inviting renowned intellectuals, scholars, and journalists to speak to the UK community on topics related to public policy and government. 

Through the Lecture-Symposium, we remember Earle C. Clements’ dedication to public life and service, promote positive discourse in American politics, and support and inspire students, researchers, and future public policy leaders. 

The Clements Lecture-Symposium is made possible by the Clements Memorial Fund, a significant gift from the Abell family that also provides opportunities for Earle C. Clements graduate fellows and interns to present their research at national conferences and administers the Earle C. Clements Innovation in Education Award. You can learn more about the Abells’ philanthropic legacy supporting public service in Kentucky.

The Clements Lecture-Symposium is free and open to the public.  

Past speakers include: 

  • 2022 – Mara Liasson, national political correspondent for National Public Radio
  • 2019 – James Blanchard, former Michigan governor and United States Congressman 
  • 2018 – Sid Davis, long-time White House correspondent and news executive

Edward F. Prichard Lecture

Since its inception in 1977, the Edward F. Prichard Lecture Series has featured nationally acclaimed authors, journalists, historians, and public figures including James MacGregor Burns, Bobbie Ann Mason, Elizabeth Hardwick, David McCullough, Marsha Norman, and Arthur Schlesinger, Jr.

The Prichard Lecture is made possible by an endowment created by Edward F. Prichard, Jr., a New Deal activist who later championed educational change in Kentucky.

The Prichard Lecture Series is free and open to the public.

Recent speakers have included:

  • 2023 – Eric Klinenberg, sociologist and author of Palaces for the People: How Social Infrastructure Can Help Fight Inequality, Polarization, and the Decline of Civic Life
  • 2019 – Daniel Sharfstein, social justice advocate, Vanderbilt Law Professor, and author of The Invisible Line: A Secret History of Race in America
  • 2018 – Jad Abumrad, host and creator of National Public Radio's Peabody Award-winning program, Radiolab

Dean's Lecture

The Dean’s Lecture Series explores topics and ideas that impact and influence research libraries and the communities that use them. Invited speakers include scholars, researchers, and journalists whose work explores the creation and circulation of knowledge and sheds light on the relationship between information technologies and structures of power. 

Held biannually in the fall, the Dean’s Lecture is free and open to the public.

Past speakers include: 

  • 2022 – Safiya Noble, University of California, Los Angeles Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies. Dr. Noble’s lecture drew on research from her book, Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce Racism, and discussed how deeply rooted race and gender disparities have become entrenched in purportedly unbiased online algorithms. 
  • 2021 – Ruha Benjamin, Princeton University Professor of African American Studies. Dr. Benjamin presented on her book Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code, exploring discriminatory designs that hide, speed up, and deepen social inequity and offering tools to decode today’s misleading technological promises. 

Hammer International Book Arts Biennale

Held every two years, the Hammer International Book Arts Biennale honors Carolyn and Victor Hammer and their legacy to fine printing by inviting distinguished scholars and book artists to lecture on printing, typography, illustration, bookbinding, graphic design, and other aspects of the book arts.

The Hammer Biennale is made possible by an endowment established through the King Library Press. Gifts to the Hammer Biennale Fund are most welcome.

Recent speakers have included:

  • 2022 – Richard Kegler – director of the Wells College Book Arts Center and founder of independent digital type house, P22 Type Foundry
  • 2018 – Jerry Kelly – an internationally known book designer, calligrapher, type designer and typographer
  • 2016 – Peter Fallon – poet and founder and director of Gallery Press, Ireland's preeminent publisher of poetry and drama

Founded by Carolyn Hammer in 1956, the King Library Press is dedicated to upholding the fine press tradition. Learn more about getting involved with the Press, and about the resources and opportunities it offers to the UK community.

Human Library

UK Libraries’ annual Human Library event provides an opportunity for our community to engage in open and honest conversation while learning about one another’s opinions, stories, and life lessons. A positive framework for dialogue that can lead to greater acceptance, tolerance, and social cohesion across the UK community, the event allows participants to pull one another off the shelf, “read” each other’s stories, and see what it is like to live in each other’s shoes. The event promotes understanding and builds respectful relationships across the community while reminding us not to judge a book by its cover.

Free and open to the public, the Human Library Event is organized by UK Libraries’ Equity, Diversity, & Inclusion Committee with the assistance of Diversity Scholar interns.