Declaration of Independence to be showcased at ALA Annual Conference

Contact: Deborah Davis


For Immediate Release

June 4, 2002

Declaration of Independence to be showcased at ALA Annual Conference

To celebrate the American Library Association's (ALA) Rediscover America @ your library™ initiative, a rare, original copy of the Declaration of Independence will be featured during the ALA Annual Conference in Atlanta.

The document will be on display in Hall B5 of the Georgia World Convention Center immediately following the Opening General Session on Saturday, June 15. Conference attendees will be able to view the Declaration of Independence from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

The Declaration of Independence is personally being shared with ALA by producer Norman Lear, who co-founded a nationwide tour of the document. Called the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, the three-and-a-half year tour, proudly sponsored by The Home Depot, is a non-profit, nonpartisan project designed to encourage civic activism and voting, especially among young people. Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford are serving as honorary co-chairs. ALA is one of the project's original partners.

Lear purchased the print through an online Sotheby's auction in June 2000 for $8.14 million. It was one of 200 "broadsides" printed by Philadelphia printer John Dunlap on July 4,1776. The broadside was discovered hidden behind a painting purchased at a flea market in 1989.

"I can't think of a more appropriate piece of history to be featured at our conference," said ALA President John W. Berry, who worked with Lear's staff to secure the display. "It fits perfectly with the conference theme, Rediscover America @ your library. I hope that all of our conference participants will take advantage of this tremendous opportunity."

The Road Trip kicked off at the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, D.C., in July 2001. The document then boarded an Amtrak train to Philadelphia where it was part of the city's July 4th celebration. Berry participated in that event. Earlier this year, the copy visited the 2002 Olympic Winter Games in Salt Lake City. It is on display at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Atlanta until July 5, when it begins traveling across the country.

"The tour of the Declaration of Independence invites us - and challenges us -- to take another look at the meaning of democracy, freedom and citizenship in light of our changing history and culture," adds Berry. "That's what the Rediscover America @ your library initiative is all about."

In addition to the Declaration of Independence, a closed-captioned video promoting the Rediscover America @ your library initiative will be shown during the Opening General Session. That video, as well as a new television PSA, are available for purchase from the ALA Public Information Office. To order, download an order form at, call 800-545-2433, ext 5041 or send an e-mail to:

Rediscover America @ your library is the newest phase of The Campaign for America's Libraries, ALA's five-year public education effort to speak loudly and clearly about the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. The Rediscover America program seeks to remind the public and policymakers that libraries and librarians are central to our democracy and are needed now -- more than ever - especially in the aftermath of September 11. The initiative was officially launched during National Library Week with a national radio publicity campaign.

For more PR tools and resources, please visit the
@ your library Web page. Libraries that submit examples of how they are participating in the Rediscover America initiative (including photos and publicity materials) will be featured on the campaign Web site. Material should be sent to: Megan Humphrey, Campaign for America's Libraries, ALA Public Information Office, 50 East Huron Street, Chicago, IL 60611. Email:

For more details on the Declaration of Independence Road Trip, including resource material, visit the project's Web site at Exhibit information for the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum can be found at