Bicentennial Exhibit Showcases Libraries’ Diverse Collections

A children's pop-up book titled "Bookano Stories — With Pictures That Spring Up in Model Form" from the Libraries' General Rare Books Collection (Photo by Tyler Stabile/University Libraries).
A children’s pop-up book titled “Bookano Stories — With Pictures That Spring Up in Model Form” from the Libraries’ General Rare Books Collection (Photo by Tyler Stabile/University Libraries).

It’s the Libraries’ 200th birthday, and it’s time to celebrate.

On Tuesday, February 18th, 2014 — Ohio University Founders Day — the Libraries gets things started with an exhibit titled, “Ohio University Library 1814-2014: One Hundred Objects / Two Hundred Years.” The display, located on Alden Library’s fifth floor exhibit space and co-curated by Dr. Sara Harrington, head of arts and archives, and Jeremiah Myers, PACE student, spotlights the eclectic and vibrant collections acquired by the Libraries in its 200 years of service.

As it turns out, 200 years of service yields 100 very interesting objects.

Where does one begin? With some of the earliest books owned by Ohio University, according to Myers, a junior studying art history. From that starting point, the display draws from the Libraries’ expansive spectrum of collections. The project has been in the works since last year, and understandably so — extracting 100 items from the 3 million available is no easy task.

“We’re trying to represent the rich collection of the Libraries as a whole,” said Harrington.

As such, art, photography, sports memorabilia, campaign materials and the deerskin trunk rumored to have belonged to OHIO founding father Manasseh Cutler all have a place in the exhibit. Maps, stuffed elephants, and rare pop-up books will be right alongside them.

“The Libraries’ collection is ­­not just books,” said Myers, smiling. 

A 2013 piece called "Catch" by Brad Stimson, OHIO graphic design student (Photo by Tyler Stabile/University Libraries).
A piece of art titled “Catch,” created by Brad Stimson, OHIO graphic design student, in 2013 is included in the display (Photo by Tyler Stabile/University Libraries).

The display will even feature a paper prototype of ALICE called a “card catalogue.”

Adding to the Libraries’ celebratory mood are colorful bicentennial banners, designed by Mark Krumel, University Communications and Marketing senior director of creative services, decorating the second floor entrance. Expect to see more near the fourth floor entrance soon. 

From a single shelf to a collection of three million, the Libraries has undergone changes emblematic of OHIO as a whole. This exhibit celebrates the diversity, value and accessibility that have marked 200 years of Ohio University Libraries, and you are invited to join in.

Come see “Ohio University Library 1814-2014: One Hundred Objects / Two Hundred Years” on Alden Library’s fifth floor exhibit space, opening February 18th and expected to run for several months. 

Also be sure to check out this year’s Founders Day website, which pays tribute to Ohio University Libraries. Eager to learn even more about how the Libraries has transformed over the years? The Libraries’ beautifully illustrated bicentennial publication, “200 Years of Shared History: The Bicentennial of Ohio University Libraries,” is available to view and download, and a bicentennial video complements the book with multi-media materials.