For immediate release | May 3, 2011

ALA, NEH announce five libraries to present outstanding program models at ALA Annual Conference

CHICAGO – The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced that five public libraries will receive travel stipends in order to present their exceptional public program models at the ALA 2011 Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Four public libraries were chosen from a group of 30 that received program grants from NEH and ALA to present arts and humanities programs featuring the Picturing America collection. Another public library was chosen from a small group that participated in a Picturing America related pilot program supported by the Searle Funds at the Chicago Community Trust and the Terra Foundation for American Art. Representatives from all five libraries will present their innovative ideas at a program titled “NEH’s Picturing America: Model Programs for Public Libraries,” to be held from 10:30 a.m. to noon on Sunday, June 26 in Room 274 of the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans. Attendees will hear from representatives of the following libraries:

  • Chicago Public Library (Chicago) – As part of a program titled Engage! Teens, Art, and Civic Engagement, 512 teens met to discuss American art, current issues and ways to get involved in the community.
  • East Meadow Public Library (East Meadow, N.Y.) – This Let’s Talk About It: Picturing America program model featured a reading and discussion series on the theme “Land of Opportunity,” incorporating the visual arts and film in to each program.
  • Western Sullivan Public Library (Jeffersonville, N.Y) – FindArt: Family Art Projects incorporated arts education best practices with an emphasis on intergenerational interaction, interdisciplinary activities and using artists/educators to guide discussions and workshops. The project looked at marrying art forms to poetry forms, and workshops involved lectures, discussion, readings and hands-on art and writing projects.
  • Brighton District Library (Brighton, Mich.) – Art Through the Ages is an inter-generational, hands-on art program targeted to at-risk teens and senior citizens. Participants received instruction from practicing artists in five media: paint, collage, photography, fiber arts and wire sculpture. The program model illustrates cooperation, collaboration and community support, bridging schools, community groups, arts agencies and local city government.
  • Stair Public Library (Morenci, Mich.) – Located in a rural community, the Stair Public Library sought to offer a museum-like exhibit experience to their users with the model program “Picturing New York…in a Tiny Midwest Town.” The “New York, New York” Art Show featured related works from the Picturing America collection, as well art from local high school students. Library programs that highlighted the themes in the art displays included a musical performance, author visit, book discussion, storytimes for children and a gaming day at the library.

ALA and NEH staff will also present information about newly available related online resources, and a representative from THIRTEEN/WNET will discuss work to date on Picturing America on Screen, a series of short public television programs produced by THIRTEEN featuring the works of art in the Picturing America collection.

Picturing America, an initiative of NEH, provided masterpieces of American art to more than 50,000 classrooms and libraries nationwide. Through the program, students and citizens gain a deeper appreciation of our country’s history and character through the study and understanding of its art. For more information about Picturing America, including a list of the schools and libraries selected to participate, visit

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included “Let’s Talk About It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, Live! @ your library and more. Recently, the ALA Public Programs Office developed, an online resource center bringing librarians timely and valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit


Angela Thullen