The keeneland Library

Preserving Racing's Rich History

Established in 1939, the Keeneland Library is a reference and research library and the world’s largest repository of the Thoroughbred industry open to the public. The Library received the 2002 Special Eclipse Award for its contributions to the industry, and it is home to more than 30,000 books dating from the late 1500s, 3 million photographic negatives and prints dating from the late 1800s, and millions of newspaper and magazine articles about all aspects of the industry from the early 1700s to today.

Each year, the Library, located on Keeneland’s grounds and open to the public weekdays year-round, connects thousands of journalists, academics, racing fans, and industry stakeholders from all 50 states and more than 25 countries to information and image resources for their publications, broadcasts, exhibits, films, media guides, and websites. 

The Library also preserves and shares its collections with its growing global patron base through targeted digitization projects, exhibits, educational programs for youth and adults, research workshops for equine industry students and the general public, and its Lecture Series that celebrates the published works of authors who conducted their research at the Library.

Keeneland Library Events

Library Lecture Series

Keeneland's popular Library Lecture series will continue this winter with new events that celebrate recently published works about the Thoroughbred industry whose authors conducted their research at Keeneland Library.

Check back soon for upcoming Lecture Series event details.


The Heart of the Turf: Racing’s Black Pioneers

This exhibit highlights the lives and careers of 80 African American horsemen and -women from the mid-1800s to the present through exhibited interpretive panels, photographs, artwork, and video interviews. More than 100 photographs from Keeneland Library collections capture moments across their varied careers, while commissioned artwork by LaVon Williams and loaned artwork from the Kentucky Derby Museum, the International Museum of the Horse, and private collections honor their lasting legacies.

Exhibit Dates: February 23 – December 8, 2023

The Collections

The Keeneland Library collections feature a wide array of information, ranging from photographs, newspaper clippings, historic and current periodicals, and nearly every significant book written about the Thoroughbred and racing and breeding. The Library’s book collections span a broad range of topics, including sales and racing, equine science and art, biographies, the history of the horse in culture, racing history, memoirs, equine law and economics, theories about handicapping and breeding, and even fiction, photography and poetry.

Past Exhibits

View the previous exhibits displayed at the Library.

Life's Work

Keeneland is dedicated to sharing and preserving the stories of the horsemen and horsewomen at the heart of the Thoroughbred industry through the Life's Work project.

Keeneland Library Foundation

In 2014, Keeneland formed the Keeneland Library Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization to support unique Keeneland Library projects that preserve and share the Thoroughbred industry’s past and present with an eye to the future. The Keeneland Library Foundation’s mission is to broaden Keeneland Library’s access and outreach initiatives through educational programs for youth and adults, exhibits, and targeted digitization and preservation projects of its one-of-a-kind, world-class collections.


The Online Catalogue

The online catalog is an index of the books, journals and special collections held in the Keeneland Library. While you are in the Library, you can consult the catalog via the public access computers to locate materials in the building. If you are a remote researcher, you can explore the collections before making a trip to the Library. Search by title, author, subject or keyword to prepare a list of materials to consult.

While the online catalog is designed as an index to collections, it can often point you to full-text, online versions of books and journals.

If prompted to sign-in with a Library name, enter "Keeneland Library" and no password.

Contact The Library

Frequently Asked Questions

Visit Us

The Keeneland Library is free and open to the public.

The Keeneland Library is a reference-only, non-circulating library that offers wireless Internet, work and study spaces and public-access computers.

The Keeneland Library is open year-round to the public from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Library is closed on all federal holidays.

The Library will be closed to the public from Friday, December 22, 2023 through Tuesday, January 2, 2024.

Keeneland Library
4201 Versailles Rd.
Lexington, KY 40510
Phone: 859 288-4224