Host Ben Franklin @ your library

Contact: Lainie Castle
Program Officer
For Immediate Release
November 15, 2006

Host Ben Franklin @ your library

Applications now available for a new traveling exhibit

CHICAGO - The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in collaboration with the Benjamin Franklin Tercentenary, Philadelphia, Pa., is now accepting grant applications from public, academic and special libraries wishing to host the traveling exhibition, “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World.”

Applications are available online at and must be received by February 9, 2007.

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 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.

One copy of the 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibit will circulate to 20 public and academic library sites beginning in November 2007. Libraries selected for the tour will host the exhibit for a six-week period. Participating libraries are expected to present at least two free public programs featuring a lecture or discussion by a qualified scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public.

Public and academic libraries interested in hosting the exhibition can download the application and guidelines at or request a copy by sending an e-mail message to Applications are due by February 9, 2007.

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 ( 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

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

For more information about “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World,” please visit