Social Library, Art and Archives Edition

Jennifer Peterson /

Image courtesy Thompson Public Library on Facebook

With the Institute of Museum and Library Services announcement of the 2017 National Medal Finalists, we were inspired to highlight in this special edition of our Social Library series, posts from libraries we follow on Facebook that also represent museums, archives or host designated spaces for art installations. From local history to letters from the front, and from genealogy to student exhibits, these institutions are helping their communities engage with keeping their history, art, and stories alive.

  • Thompson Public Library in Connecticut shared a photo for their Opening Reception for Art @ the Library. The library, with sponsorship from the Friends of the Library, hosts monthly art shows in its meeting room. A show reception is held an evening at the beginning of the month, with refreshments, and with promotion through local media channels. A flyer outlines details about the opportunity to exhibit, which includes mention that the meeting room may be unavailable at times due to meetings and other functions, but otherwise, the exhibit is open to the public. The library also offers a locked display case to exhibit smaller collections or art, for a one month period. The current installation in the display case is art by students from a local school.
  • Louisiana Division/City Archives - New Orleans Public Library will be participating in the genealogy portion of an upcoming series, The Wisdom of the Elders, a program for African American seniors to will learn ways to document their life stories with lessons in art, genealogy research, and creative storytelling, hosted at the Rosa F. Keller Library and Community Center. Bringing together the state/city archives, a community center, and a library, this is a wonderful example of multi-type institutions collaborating on services and programming for their communities.
  • Invercargill City Libraries and Archives in New Zealand released a video in conjunction with the launch of their newest website, Since Writing You Last. The online WW1 centenary commemoration includes digitally transcribed letters of four soldiers, all from local communities, along with a set of photo albums, a timeline of New Zealand's involvement in the war, service records, and more. In collaboration with the Southland Museum & Art Gallery and members of the families, they share that, "It is our hope that by making these men and their stories easily available on the web, their letters will be recognised as the amazing resource they are. Not only do their letters give you a glimpse of what they endured, but also of who they were and what they held dear." The library did a wonderful job building excitement leading up to the launch of the site, including earlier in the month, when they shared a still from the filming of the video they used in their announcement.
  • Image courtesy Fayette Public Library / Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives on Facebook
  • Fayette Public Library / Fayette Heritage Museum & Archives in Texas is also preparing a WWI exhibit, which will include a life-size rendition of a local serviceman who served in the army during the war. In a recent post, patrons are invited to "Come have your picture taken with Charles Edwin Hausmann!"
  • And we are pleased to share the wonderful work Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library in Indiana, one of the 2017 National Medal Finalists. We noticed a weekly post on their Facebook page that links to a column in the local paper, called History Lesson. Daniel Smith, local history and digitization librarian, compiles editions of this wonderful pictorial history of Evansville, from the Evansville Courier and Press Photo Archive, which is part of the library's digital collection. "The Courier and Press Photo Archive was funded by a 2015 grant from the US Institute of Museum and Library Services, administered by the Indiana State Library. The Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library collaborated with the Evansville Courier and Press to bring the public access to thousands of photographs from the history of Evansville and the Tri-State area." We also enjoyed the Facebook stream of the press conference they hosted to announce to the community that they are National Medal Finalists. Congratulations to all the National Medal Finalists!

Thank you to all these libraries for their great work, and if you'd like to see your library featured in future Social Library editions, please let us know via or find us on Facebook.