20 libraries selected to host “John Adams Unbound” traveling exhibit

Contact: Angela Thullen

Program Officer, Communications, PPO




For Immediate Release

September 9, 2008

CHICAGO – The America Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office, in association with the Boston Public Library, announced that 20 libraries have been selected to host “John Adams Unbound,” a traveling exhibition based upon a larger exhibition of the same name recently on display at the Boston Public Library.

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) provided major funding to the Boston Public Library for the traveling exhibit.

Libraries selected for the tour will host the 1,000-square-foot exhibit for six weeks. They will receive a $2,500 grant from the NEH for attendance at an exhibit planning workshop and other exhibit-related expenses. Participating libraries will present at least two free public programs featuring a lecture or discussion by a qualified scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition and related programs will be free and open to the public.

“John Adams Unbound” explores Adams’s personal library – a collection of 3,500 books willed by Adams to the people of Massachusetts and deposited in the Boston Public Library in 1894. This remarkable collection of books provides first-hand insight into how John Adams shaped American history and how he was shaped through his lifelong dedication to reading and books. Through photo-reproductions of these annotated volumes, viewers will witness one of our founding fathers wrestling with intellectual and political ideas at every stage in his long life – as a boy, university student, Boston lawyer, revolutionary, diplomat, President and citizen of the early American republic. For more information on “John Adams Unbound,” visit

The libraries selected to host the “John Adams Unbound” exhibit (in alphabetical order by state) are:

  1. Bevill State Community College Nicholson Library, Jasper, Ala.
  2. Benicia Public Library, Benicia, Calif.
  3. Aurora Public Library, Aurora, Colo.
  4. Colorado State University-Pueblo University Library, Pueblo, Colo.
  5. Florida Atlantic University Libraries, Boca Raton, Fla.
  6. Drake University Cowles Library, Des Moines, Iowa
  7. Oakton Community College Library, Des Plaines, Ill.
  8. Illinois State University Milner Library, Normal, Ill.
  9. Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy, Mass.
  10. Loutit District Library, Grand Haven, Mich.
  11. Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Mo.
  12. New Brunswick Free Public Library, New Brunswick, N.J.
  13. State University of New York/College at Brockport, Drake Memorial Library, Brockport, N.Y.
  14. Sachem Public Library, Holbrook, N.Y.
  15. Minerva Public Library, Minerva, Ohio
  16. Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.
  17. Watertown Regional Library, Watertown, S.D.
  18. Middle Tennessee State University Walker Library, Murfreesboro, Tenn.
  19. Nashville Public Library, Nashville, Tenn.
  20. Martinsburg Berkeley County Public Libraries, Martinsburg, W.V.

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 (
www.ala.org/ccf). For more information the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

Founded in 1848, the Boston Public Library (BPL) was the first large free municipal library in the United States. In addition to its 6.1 million books, the library boasts over 1.2 million rare books and manuscripts, and a wealth of maps, musical scores and prints. Among its large collections, the BPL holds several first edition folios by William Shakespeare, original music scores from Mozart to Prokofiev's "Peter and the Wolf;" and, in its rare book collection, the personal library of John Adams. More than 2.2 million patrons visit the BPL each year. For more information, please visit

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports learning in history, literature, philosophy and other areas of the humanities. NEH grants enrich classroom learning, create and preserve knowledge and bring ideas to life through public television, radio, new technologies, exhibitions and programs in libraries, museums and other community places. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at