Tompkins County Public Library will launch a year-long commemoration of its Sesquicentennial April 4 with “150 Years and Counting: A Community Celebration of Library Service.”
Anniversary festivities planned for April 4 through 6 include exhibit openings, proclamations and presentations by state and local legislators, a local history presentation by County Historian Carol Kammen, and a special storytime featuring Beauty and the Beast Storytellers.
April marks 150 years since Ezra Cornell’s vision of a public library was endorsed by the New York State Legislature. The sixth public library to be chartered in New York State and the first to be located within a village, the Cornell Public Library was located on the southeast corner of Tioga and Seneca Streets where it served patrons until 1960. In 1964, the Tompkins County Legislature assumed responsibility for Library funding. Shortly thereafter, its name was changed to Tompkins County Public Library.
Noting TCPL’s storied history, Susan Currie, the Library’s fifth director, said the Sesquicentennial is a time for the entire community to celebrate the Library’s past and plan for its future.
“The vision that Ezra Cornell had all of those years ago still inspires what we do today,” Currie said. “His understanding that every community deserves a vibrant public library has carried us a century and a half and will continue to drive our plans for 150 more.”
The Library’s community celebration begins April 4 at 5 p.m. with special Gallery Night access to “150 Years and Counting” the Library’s sesquicentennial art exhibit. This three-part exhibit includes “Artists in the Archives,” an installation of works by Carla Rae Johnson, Barbara Page and JoAnn Wilcox designed to showcase the delights, discoveries and priceless connections made possible at libraries through re-envisioned and repurposed library cards and card catalogs.
“Artists in the Archives” includes, “The Alternet,” Johnson’s 50-drawer card catalog featuring cards from more than 85 artists, poets, writers, musicians and creative thinkers; “Call to Everyone,” Wilcox’s exhibition of nearly 600 discarded library catalog cards that have been re-purposed as canvases for cell phone photos; and “Book Marks,” Page’s two-drawer catalog featuring library charge cards representing books that have made an impression on her life.
Also included in this celebratory exhibit are: “Talk Tompkins,” an audio visual exhibit of photographs of, and interviews with, members of the Tompkins County community created by photographer Ben Altman, and “Diary of a Library: A Community Card Catalog of Pictures, Memories and Stories.”
A multi-year project, “Diary of a Library,” was launched by longtime TCPL Exhibit Coordinator Sally Grubb. The exhibit features a 15-drawer, card catalog representing-- through drawings, poems, stories and photographs submitted by community members, libraries staff, trustees and friends-- 150 years of Tompkins County Public Library service to the community.
On April 5 at noon, Library Director Susan Currie will join local and state legislators in the Library’s Avenue of the Friends for a cake cutting and reading from the Library’s charter and presentation of proclamations recognizing a century and a half of Library contributions to the community. This event will be followed by a 1 p.m. presentation by Tompkins County Historian Carol Kammen on life in and around Tompkins County in 1864.
The “150 Years and Counting,” weekend concludes Sunday, April 6 with a 2 p.m. family-friendly storytime by Beauty and the Beast Storytellers. Storytellers Mitch Weiss and Martha Hamilton will read “It’s Not Always Easy to See the Elephant,” an adorable story, written by Kammen, about the first elephant to visit Ithaca.
Additional commemorative events are planned throughout 2014.
For more information, contact Carrie Wheeler-Carmenatty at (607) 272-4557 extension 248 or email@example.com.