he traveling library exhibit, Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World, gives public audiences the opportunity to explore and to talk about Franklin's life, his contributions to the founding of this country, and his high standards for work, citizenship, and contribution to community. It looks at his background, his self-education, and his philosophical and religious beliefs and their effect on his work and life. It shows Franklin in the context of the eighteenth century and as a product of his times — a brilliant and rather unconventional product of his times — rather than as the venerable bespectacled and grandfatherly figure with whom we are all familiar.

The panel exhibit consists of six sections of colorful, freestanding photo-panels, incorporating representations of artifacts from the original Franklin exhibition and a text written by the curator of the original international traveling exhibition of the same title. Exhibition content is arranged in thematic sections showing Franklin in the Boston of his youth, Franklin's family and personal life, as well as the years when he built his business as Philadelphia's premier printer. The exhibit also looks at Franklin's commitment to public service, his interests in medicine and public health, and his work in science and philosophy. Franklin's political career in England, France and the United States, and his contributions to the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution and other major documents are the subjects of the final two sections of the exhibit.

Two copies of the 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibit will circulate to 40 public and academic library sites through July 2011. Host libraries will feature the exhibit for a six-week period. Participating libraries will present at least two free public programs featuring a lecture or discussion by a qualified scholar on exhibition themes. All showings of the exhibition will be free and open to the public. Follow the links below for information about the tour and related Franklin programs.

Tour Itinerary


December 5, 2007-February 1, 2008
Georgetown County Library, Georgetown Main Branch,
Georgetown, SC
Clinton-Macomb Public Library, Clinton Township, MI


February 13-March 28
Cameron Village Regional Library, Raleigh, NC
Springdale Public Library, Springdale, AR

April 9-May 23
Providence Public Library, Providence, RI
Athens-Clarke County Library, Athens, GA

June 4-July 25
Middletown Thrall Library, Middletown, NY
Jacksonville Public Library, Jacksonville, FL

August 20-October 3
Geauga County Public Library, Middlefield, OH
University of North Carolina/Wilmington, Randall Library, Wilmington, NC

October 15-December 5
Niles Public Library District, Niles, IL
Towson University, Albert S. Cook Library, Towson, MD


December 31, 2008-February 27, 2009
Library of Hattiesburg, Petal and Forrest County, Hattiesburg, MS
Birmingham Public Library, Birmingham, AL

March 11-April 24
Terrebonne Parish Library System, Houma, LA
Georgia Southern University Library, Statesboro, GA

May 6-June 19
Denton Public Library, Denton, TX
Williamsburg Regional Library, Williamsburg, VA

July 1-August 14
Cedar City Public Library, Cedar City, UT

August 26-October 9
Laramie County Library System, Cheyenne, WY
Urbana University, Swedenborg Memorial Library, Urbana, OH

October 21-December 4
Yakima Valley Regional Library/Sunnyside, Yakima, WA
Martinsburg Public Libraries, Martinsburg, WV

December 16-February 19, 2010
Oxnard Public Library, Oxnard, CA
Orland Park Public Library, Orland Park, IL


March 10-April 23
Glendale Public Library, Glendale, AZ
Valparaiso University, Christopher Center, Valparaiso, IN

May 12-July 9
Benicia Public Library, Benicia, CA
Rolling Hills Consolidated Library, St. Joseph, MO

July 14 - August 27
Mountain Home Public Library, Mountain Home, ID

September 8-October 22
Dakota State University, Mundt Library, Madison, SD
Milwaukee Public Library, Milwaukee, WI

November 3-December 17
Verona Public Library, Verona, WI
Oxford Public Library, Oxford, PA


January 12-February 25
Eastern Illinois University, Booth Library, Charleston, IL
Camden County College, Blackwood, NJ

March 9-April 22
The Ohio State University Libraries, Columbus, OH
Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Worcester, MA

May 4-July 8
Ann Arbor Public Library, Ann Arbor, MI
Louisville Free Public Library, Louisville, KY