Sixty-three libraries nationwide to host Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln's Journey to Emancipation

Contact: Lainie Castle

Program Officer, Communications

For Immediate Release

March 21, 2006

Sixty-three libraries nationwide to host Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation

CHICAGO — Sixty-three libraries have been selected to host a new tour of “Forever Free: Abraham Lincoln’s Journey to Emancipation,” an exhibit which reexamines President Lincoln’s thoughts about slavery throughout his political career and the conditions which led to the Emancipation Proclamation.

The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office (PPO) and The Huntington Library, San Marino, Calif., organized the exhibit with grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Commission, Washington, D.C. The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, New York, provided additional support.

Developed by The Huntington Library’s John Rhodehamel, Norris Foundation Curator of American Historical Manuscripts, the exhibit consists of reproductions of rare historical documents and photographs from the Huntington, the Gilder Lehrman Institute, and other collections, and a text that draws on the latest scholarship in the field. The exhibit is currently on a 40-library tour that ends in November 2006.

The libraries selected for the new tour will host the exhibit for a six-week period between September 2006 and October 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.

“This exhibit provides libraries with many excellent programming themes that will help audiences to understand the process Lincoln went through in deciding to support the abolition of slavery,” said David Zeidberg, director of the Huntington Library. “We are pleased to be able to offer the project to another 63 libraries representing 31 states.”

“When our library hosted “Forever Free” last year, we were able to offer a diverse schedule of events, which included options that were both fun and educational,” said Kerri Odess-Harnish, the “Forever Free” Project Director at Gettysburg College Library in Pennsylvania. “Another success of the project was the partnership s created with local community groups that added richness to the programming and helped expand the exhibit experience beyond the Gettysburg College Campus.”

The libraries selected for the new tour are (in alphabetical order by state):

  • Garland County Public Library, Hot Springs, Ark.
  • Benicia Public Library, Benicia, Calif.
  • Oxnard Public Library, Oxnard, Calif.
  • Aurora Public Library, Aurora, Colo.
  • District of Columbia Public Library, Washington , D.C.
  • Athens-Clarke County Library, Athens, Ga.
  • West Georgia Regional Library, Carrollton, Ga.
  • Lovejoy Library, Southern Illinois University/Edwardsville, Edwardsville, Ill.
  • Gail Borden Public Library District, Elgin, Ill.
  • Frankfort Public Library District, Frankfort, Ill.
  • Freeport Public Library, Freeport, Ill.
  • Milner Library, Illinois State University, Normal, Ill.
  • Rockford Public Library, Rockford, Ill.
  • Michigan City Public Library, Michigan City, Ind.
  • Muncie Public Library, Muncie, Ind.
  • Knox County Public Library, Vincennes, Ind.
  • Cedar Rapids Public Library, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Wichita State University Libraries, Wichita, Kan.
  • Boyle County Public Library, Danville, Ky.
  • Hardin County Public Library, Elizabethtown, Ky.
  • Lexington Public Library, Lexington, Ky.
  • Ekstrom Library, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.
  • Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, Ky.
  • Vermillion Parish Library, Abbeville, La.
  • Pollard Memorial Library, Lowell, Mass.
  • Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, Md.
  • Brennan Law Library, Thomas M. Cooley Law School, Lansing, Mich.
  • Lincoln Township Public Library, Stevensville, Mich.
  • Minneapolis Public Library, Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Columbus-Lowndes Public Library, Columbus, Miss.
  • University of Missouri Columbia Libraries, Columbia, Mo.
  • St. Louis Public Library, St. Louis, Mo.
  • Missoula Public Library, Missoula, Mont.
  • Pack Memorial Library, Asheville, N.C.
  • Bladen County Public Library, Elizabethtown, N.C.
  • Jackson Library, University of North Carolina/Greensboro, Greensboro, N.C.
  • Henderson County Public Library, Hendersonville, N.C.
  • Moye Library, Mount Olive College, Mount Olive, N.C.
  • New Bern-Craven County Public Library, New Bern, N.C.
  • Keene Public Library, Keene, N.H.
  • Ocean County Library, Toms River, N.J.
  • New York State Library, Albany, N.Y.
  • Lehman College Library, City University of New York, Bronx, N.Y.
  • Bethelehem Public Library, Delmar, N.Y.
  • Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, N.Y.
  • Mineola Memorial Library, Mineola, N.Y.
  • Poughkeepsie Public Library, Poughkeepsie, N.Y.
  • Raymond A Whitwer Tilden Public Library, Tilden, Neb.
  • State Library of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio
  • Reed Memorial Library, Ravenna, Ohio
  • Rose State College, Midwest City, Okla.
  • Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.
  • Cranberry Public Library, Cranberry Township, Pa.
  • Baron-Forness Library, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, Edinboro, PA
  • Langston Hughes Memorial Library, Lincoln University, Pa.
  • Penn State Harrisburg Library, Middletown, Pa.
  • Montgomery County Public Library Norristown, Norristown, Pa.
  • Weinberg Memorial Library, University of Scranton, Scranton, Pa.
  • Brigham City Public Library, Brigham City, Utah
  • Loudoun County Public Library, Leesburg, Va.
  • Whitman County Library, Colfax, Wash.
  • Spokane Public Library, Spokane, Wash.
  • Verona Public Library, Verona, Wis.

To see the tour itinerary, please visit

The ALA Public Programs Office has a 15-year 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. It has recently established the Cultural Communities Fund, an endowment fund created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming ( More than 8,000 libraries and at least 10 million individuals have participated in library programming initiatives supported by the Public Programs Office.

For more information on Forever Free and other PPO initiatives, visit