New ALA Public Programs Office site supports Picturing America programs in public libraries

Contact: Angela Thullen

Program Officer, Communications


For Immediate Release

August 25, 2009

CHICAGO – The American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office is making available a new, online community to support the development of local programs that incorporate the National Endowment for the Humanities’ (NEH) Picturing America collection of art reproductions. The site,
Picturing America for Public Libraries (, features programming resources for public libraries that received the Picturing America collection. The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) provided major support for the Picturing America for Public Libraries Web site.Â

In addition to providing programming ideas for youth, family and adult audiences, Picturing America for Public Libraries will offer registered grantees the opportunity to download digital versions of select Picturing America images and create print-ready, professionally designed posters, flyers and bookmarks customized for their libraries. These tools and more, including downloadable audio tours of the collection and online forums where librarians can share ideas and experiences, are available at

Picturing America for Public Libraries will feature the following online training opportunities to assist public libraries in developing their own programs, featuring the Picturing America collection:

  • Picturing America Programs for Children - Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2 p.m. CST

    Wendy Lukehart, youth collections coordinator at the District of Columbia Public Library (DCPL), will illustrate how the DCPL staff has conducted successful Picturing America programs for children. Wendy will share her experiences using Visual Thinking Strategies ( and the Whole Book Approach ( to bring the Picturing America collection to life for young audiences.
  • Picturing America Promotion:
    Reaching Library Staff and Community Groups – Friday, Oct. 2, 2 p.m. CST

    Nancy Davenport, acting director of library services with DCPL, will share her experiences coordinating Picturing America programs within the District of Columbia library system. Nancy will share tips for empowering staff to use the collection as a basis for public programming, as well as creating partnerships with schools, community organizations and local funding agencies.Â
  • Picturing America and The Art of Perception: Reconsidering How We See – Friday, Oct. 16, 2 p.m. CST

Amy Herman, director of educational development at Thirteen/WNET and former head of education at The Frick Collection, has conducted The Art of Perception workshops in art museums for numerous law enforcement agencies, including the NYPD, the Secret Service, the FBI, and Scotland Yard, and will now lead this highly participatory session for librarians, to engage them in dialogue about looking at art and how to make Picturing America images accessible to audiences who do not have formal art historical training.

Both sessions are free and open to all public librarians who are participating in Picturing America. To learn more about these events, and to register, visit:

Picturing America is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, distributed in cooperation with the American Library Association. IMLS has provided major support for Picturing America programs in public libraries. The program was piloted in 2007, launched nationally in 2008, and expanded in 2009. Under these three application deadlines, more than 43,000 schools and 3,500 public libraries were selected to participate. Through Picturing America, participants receive a collection of 20 double-sided, laminated reproductions of American artwork, and a copy of the Picturing America Teachers Resource Book, which includes information about the paintings, sculpture, architecture, and crafts reproduced.

Established in 1992, the ALA Public Programs Office has an exemplary 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 created to help all types of libraries across the country bring communities together through cultural programming ( For more information about the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. The Institute's mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit