For immediate release | July 19, 2011

ALA Public Programs Office extends “Visions of the Universe” traveling exhibit tour

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office announced that nine additional public libraries will host “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” a traveling exhibition developed in cooperation with the Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach and the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory to celebrate astronomy and its contributions to society and culture.

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) provided major funding for the exhibit. Fifty-five public libraries hosted the exhibit from January 2009 through May 2011, showing the public how our understanding of the universe has changed over time. The exhibit will travel to the nine additional selected libraries from September 2011 through June 2012.

The exhibit is part of a multi-year global celebration of astronomy, highlighted by the 400th anniversary of the first use of an astronomical telescope by Galileo. The goal of the continuing celebration is to create awareness of astronomy’s impact on society and culture, stimulate young people’s interest in astronomy and science, portray astronomy as a global peaceful endeavor and nourish a scientific outlook in society. “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery” focuses on astronomy through the ages—from Galileo’s initial findings to the latest results of the Hubble Space Telescope. The exhibit vividly illustrates 400 years of growth in our knowledge of not just planets, stars, nebulae and galaxies, but also the size and scale of the universe in both space and time. For more information about “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” visit

The libraries selected to host the “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery” exhibit (in alphabetical order by state) are:

  1. Gadsden-Etowah Public Library, Gadsden, Ala.
  2. Springdale Public Library, Springdale, Ark.
  3. Cerritos Library, Cerritos, Calif.
  4. Johnson County Public Library – Trafalgar Branch, Trafalgar, Ind.
  5. Council Bluff Public Library, Council Bluff, Iowa
  6. Livonia Public Library, Livonia, Mich.
  7. Minerva Public Library, Minerva, Ohio
  8. Janet F. Harte Public Library, Corpus Christi, Texas
  9. Newport News Public Library System, Newport News, Va.

The Space Telescope Science Institute Office of Public Outreach (OPO) is a world leader in astronomy presentation through news media websites, planetarium shows, museum exhibits, curriculum support materials, professional development and other educational resources. Among the award-winning websites created by the OPO are “Hubblesite”: and “Amazing Space”:

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

For more information about “Visions of the Universe: Four Centuries of Discovery,” visit