20 libraries selected to host “Benjamin Franklin” traveling exhibit

Contact: Lainie Castle
Project Director, PPO
(312) 280-5055
For Immediate Release
June 4, 2007


20 libraries selected to host “Benjamin Franklin” traveling exhibit


CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, Philadelphia, Pa., is pleased to announce that 20 public and academic libraries have been selected to host the traveling exhibition, “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.”


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has provided major funding for this traveling exhibition for libraries.  “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” is based on a major exhibition of the same title, which was on display at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia until April 30, 2006.


The exhibition for libraries will consist of six sections of colorful, freestanding photo-panels incorporating representations of artifacts from the original Franklin exhibition, and a new text written by the curator.  Exhibition content is arranged in thematic sections showing Franklin in the Boston of his youth, Franklin’s family and personal life, as well as the years when he built his business as Philadelphia’s premier printer. The exhibit also looks at Franklin’s commitment to public service, his interests in medicine and public health, and his work in science and philosophy. Franklin’s political career in England, France and the United States, and his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and other major documents are the subjects of the final two sections of the exhibit.


Libraries selected for the tour will host the 1,000 square foot exhibit for a six-week period between December 2007 and June 2011.  Libraries will make the exhibit available for public viewing and host a number of educational programs and receptions to increase the public’s understanding of the exhibit and its themes.  All showings of the exhibition and related programs will be free and open to the public.


The libraries selected to host the Benjamin Franklin exhibit (in alphabetical order by state) are:


* Glendale Public Library, Glendale, Ariz.

* Oxnard Public Library, Oxnard, Calif.

* Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, Ga.

* Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, Ill.

* Niles Public Library, Niles, Ill.

* Ann Arbor District Library, Ann Arbor, Mich.

* The Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County, Hattiesburg, Miss.

* Rolling Hills Consolidated Library, St. Joseph, Mo.

* Cameron Village Regional Library, Raleigh, N.C.

* Middletown Thrall Library, Middletown, N.Y.

* Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus, Ohio

* Geauga County Public Library Middlefield Branch, Middlefield, Ohio

* Providence Public Library, Providence, R.I.

* Georgetown County Library, Georgetown, S.C.

* Dakota State University, Madison, S.D.

* Denton Public Library, Denton, Texas

* Cedar City Public Library, Cedar City, Utah

* Yakima Valley Regional Library Sunnyside Branch, Sunnyside, Wash.

* Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee

* Laramie County Library System, Cheyenne, Wyo.


For more information about the Benjamin Franklin exhibit, including the tour itinerary, please visit http://www.ala.org/publicprograms.


Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has a strong track record of developing library programming initiatives, including the acclaimed reading and discussion series "Let's Talk About It!," film discussion programs on humanities themes, traveling exhibitions, LIVE! @ your library®, and other programs. Recently, it has established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment fund created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming (www.ala.org/ccf).  More than 10,000 libraries and at least 10 million individuals have participated in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office. For more information, visit www.ala.org/publicprograms.


The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary is a private, non-profit alliance established to mark the three-hundred-year anniversary of Benjamin Franklin’s birth (1706-2006) with a celebration dedicated to educating the public about Franklin’s enduring legacy and inspiring renewed appreciation of the values he embodied. The Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary represents a consortium created in 2000 by the American Philosophical Society, The Franklin Institute, the Library Company of Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, and the University of Pennsylvania. The consortium is supported by a major gift to the nation from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Tercentenary’s projects will form the official national celebration for America’s first founding father to reach 300. For more information, visit http://www.benfranklin300.org/.


Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports lifelong learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities. For more information, visit www.neh.gov.