ALA Public Programs Office announces 25 libraries to host Dust Bowl traveling exhibition

For Immediate Release
Tue, 04/01/2014


Sarah Ostman

Communications Manager

ALA Public Programs Office (PPO)

(312) 280-5061

CHICAGO — Twenty-five libraries across the country will host the traveling exhibition “Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry,” the American Library Association (ALA) Public Programs Office and National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced.

The public and academic libraries will present the exhibition and related public programs for six weeks each from July 2014 to February 2016. To view the list of selected sites, visit

“Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry” features a 300-square-foot exhibit and a series of programs, including lectures and film screenings, designed to foster discussion about one of America’s most devastating environmental disasters.

The exhibit and programs feature several overlapping humanities themes: the connection between humans and nature; the ways in which humans respond to adversity; and how people came to understand and describe the experience of living through the drought and dust storms that wreaked havoc on the Great Plains in the 1930s.

The ALA Public Programs Office, the Oklahoma State University (OSU) Library and the Mount Holyoke College (MHC) Library developed the project, drawing upon OSU’s “Women in the Dust Bowl” oral histories and MHC’s Caroline Henderson papers — letters, essays and articles by a woman who farmed throughout the period. Ken Burns’ film “The Dust Bowl” was also an inspiration for the project.

“Dust, Drought, and Dreams Gone Dry” has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the Human Endeavor.

The ALA Public Programs Office promotes cultural and community programming as an essential part of library service in all types and sizes of libraries. Successful library programming initiatives have included the “Let’s Talk about It” reading and discussion series, traveling exhibitions, film discussion programs, the Great Stories CLUB, LIVE! @ your library and more. The website brings librarians valuable information to support them in the creation of high-quality cultural programs for their communities. For more information on the ALA Public Programs Office, visit

The OSU Library is the home of and a key partner in the university’s multidisciplinary Center for Oklahoma Studies as well as the Oklahoma Oral History Research Program. The library exists as a resource to expand the learning potential of students and Oklahoma residents and to enhance the teaching and research capabilities of OSU faculty.

Mount Holyoke, the oldest continuing liberal arts college for women in the United States, seeks to educate a diverse community of women at the highest level of academic excellence. The college’s Archives and Special Collections division collects, preserves and makes accessible collections pertaining to the history of higher education for women and related topics. The college holds the papers of Caroline Boa Henderson, class of 1901, which document her daily activities and difficulties on her family’s Oklahoma farm.

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, NEH 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 NEH and its grant programs is available at