Featured Library: Hennepin County Libraries
Catherine Bayles | July 05, 2011
The Hennepin County Libraries in the Minneapolis area are embracing the new and cherishing the old with their summer-long exhibition “For Use: 125 Years of Library Service in Hennepin County.” Held at the Minneapolis Central Library, the exhibition will celebrate the history of the libraries in town and commemorate the work that they have done (and continue to do) to bring the community together.
The exhibition kicked off with an impressive opening program and reception held in Pohlad Hall at the Minneapolis Central Library. Featuring the theme “The Past, Present and Future of Libraries,” the opening complimented the display and featured both a previous and the present library director.
Gratia Countryman, library director from 1904 to 1936, was depicted by Minnesota Historical Society history player Maureen Trepp. She joined the current director Lois Langer Thompson, and the two had a lively discussion about the past of the county’s libraries and how they have evolved with the times. A meet-and greet-and casual reception followed the program.
The exhibition, which will run through September 30, 2011, will center on how the Hennepin County library service has developed over the past 125 years. Not only will the history of the library buildings examined, but the way that the library has provided for the community shines through.
While walking through the exhibition visitors can even become a part of developing ideas for the library’s future. A station with an old-fashioned card catalog serves as an opinion booth where patrons can explain what they value most about their library and what they would like to see in the coming years.
Rare library-related artifacts will be on display to compliment a timeline that highlights important moments in the library’s history, beginning with the groundbreaking of the Minneapolis Central Library in 1886.
Public participation is essential to this ongoing exhibition. Interactive stations such as a technology table will allow library-goers to listen to oral histories from the special collections department on MP3 players, and guests will get to sample different types of e-readers.
A combination of library history and community enthusiasm, this exhibition is sure to attract audiences with a diverse range of interests. Find out more about the Hennepin County Libraries exhibition.
Catherine Bayles is an intern for the ALA Public Programs Office.