Telling A People’s Story exhibit comes to the Library

Published 6:02 am Friday, September 2, 2022


DANVILLE, Ky, August 31, 2022 – The Boyle County Public Library offers free activities, resources, and numerous services for the community. Programs often include crafting, storytime, and book clubs, as well as special events. Beginning September 6, the library will host Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Literature traveling panel exhibition. The exhibit will be on display through October 28, 2022.

Thanks to a generous grant from the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation in Cleveland, OH, the Miami University Art Museum (Oxford, OH) is pleased to circulate the content of the original, groundbreaking 2018 exhibition, Telling A People’s Story: African-American Children’s Illustrated Literature. The exhibition was designed primarily for use in elementary schools, public libraries and other educational institutions. The Traveling Panel Exhibition, which features 12 panels with 120 reproduced illustrations, supports the introduction of educational resources and programming opportunities surrounding the contextualization of African-American children’s picture books.

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For the first time, African-American children’s illustrated literature is the focus of a museum exhibition featuring art produced for book illustrations. The presentation of this genre offers a lens into the cultural, historical, and social makeup of African-American cultural identity, while also shedding light on the long neglected world of African-American authors and illustrators in the pantheon of children’s literature. Telling A People’s Story (TAPS) addresses:

• The presentation of African-American identity and history in a creative, educational and respectful manner.

• The raising of greater awareness for the role African-American illustrators and authors play in the development and growth of the field of children’s literature.

• The topic of social justice throughout African-American history.

• The need for awareness of the challenges African-American children’s book authors and illustrators face in a field lacking sufficient representation of minorities.

• The importance of appreciating the culture and history of a people who are deeply rooted in the American story.

This exhibition was 3 years in the making and included guidance and contributions from librarians, scholars, children’s book authors and illustrators. As Rudine Sims Bishop stated in her seminal 1990 article, Mirrors, Windows, and Sliding Glass Doors, “Literature transforms human experience and reflects it back to us, and in that reflection we can see our own lives and experiences as part of the larger human experience.”  Until the 1960s, and mostly the 1970s, African-American children rarely saw themselves depicted in children’s books from the perspective of African-American authors and illustrators. Telling A People’s Story is a celebration of the power of illustrated children’s books that showcases their story.

When visiting the TAPS exhibit at the library, patrons will have an opportunity to sit and enjoy any of the books highlighted in the exhibit. This collection of books will remain on display (not available for checkout) while the library is hosting the exhibit.

In addition to the exhibit, the library will offer displays and supporting programs that will encourage and equip patrons to tell their own story. Complete information about the exhibit, including book lists, teacher resources, school field trips and guided tours can be found online at Here is a look at some of the upcoming corresponding

TAPS programs at the library:

Record Your Story

This September and October, tell your story about a family treasure, such as an object, photo, experience, or even a family member. Offered in conjunction with the TAPS exhibit, the library will be providing a way for you to record your own oral histories. Record your story at the library by appointment, or check out a digital recording kit for home use. People of all ages are welcome to participate. Contact the library for more information or to make an appointment. Email or call 859-238-7323. (All ages)

Digitize Your Story

In conjunction with the TAPS exhibit, the library will be offering their services to update your family photos or records into a more modern, or entirely digital format. You can preserve your family’s story by digitizing photos or documents at the library by appointment. When finished, you will be able to take home electronic copies on USB and digital disc. This service is an extension of the library’s Memory Lab and will be offered during the months of September and October. Contact the library for more information or to make an appointment. Email or call 859-238-7323. (Ages 18+)

Tell Your Story Workshops

In this workshop you will use your artistic creativity to tell your story about your family, your dreams, and who you are. Art activities will focus on your name, favorite things, family tree, storytelling, and more. There will be opportunities to share your creations with others and hear about how these themes are seen in the books from the exhibit. Workshops will be held weekly on Tuesdays at 4:00 PM in the Community Room beginning September 6 and will run through October 25. Projects for this month are name painting; mixed-media self-portraits; story stones; and peg doll families. A complete list of projects can be found in the event listing on the library’s website. (All youth ages)

Community Show and Tell

In conjunction with the TAPS exhibit, the library will host a Community Show and Tell on Saturday, September 17 at 6:00 PM in the Community Room. Come show us your treasure and tell us its story. Each person will have approximately five minutes to be the star. Sign up at the event. (All ages)

Kentucky Chautauqua: William Wells Brown

On Thursday, September 22 at 6:00 PM, the library will host the Kentucky Chautauqua presentation of “William Wells Brown: How I got My Name,” performed by Virgil Covington, Jr. William Wells Brown was the first published African American novelist and playwright. Brown was born circa 1814 to an enslaved mother in central Kentucky. Brown experienced the dissolution and sale of his own family and witnessed the harsh and brutal separation of other families in the institution of slavery. After years of failed attempts to escape slavery, Brown finally escaped to a life of freedom in 1834. William Wells Brown went on to become a public advocate of the abolitionist and temperance movements. His memoir, Narrative of William Wells Brown, a Fugitive Slave, Written by Himself, had a direct influence on the abolitionist movement. All are invited to attend this event. This program is funded in part by Kentucky Humanities. (All ages)

Information about library resources and all upcoming events can be found online at The library is open

Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, 9:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m.; and Saturday from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Chat with library staff using the live chat service on the library’s website or by texting (859)-545-8398. The Boyle County Public Library serves the city of Danville and the surrounding communities, and is actively committed to enriching the lives of its patrons. The library is located at 307 W. Broadway in Danville.