Featured Library: Orland Park Public Library

The Orland Park Public Library in Illinois is putting up-and-coming inventors to the test in conjunction with the “Benjamin Franklin: In Search of a Better World” exhibit, which they will begin hosting on December 16, 2009. Children and adults were invited to submit an invention that will be displayed and judged for originality and utility on February 13. This extraordinary opportunity is just one of the many events the library has planned in celebration of the exhibit, which explores Franklin’s life, his inventions and contributions to America, his diligent work ethic, and his political career.

The library will kick off the exhibit with a Colonial celebration featuring dances and music from Franklin’s time, as well as a demonstration and lecture on the Colonial spinning wheel. Throughout January and February, the library has organized several enlightening lectures on Franklin’s life and accomplishments. Keynote speaker Betsy Erkkila will be discussing “Ben Franklin’s Civic Vision” and “Ben Franklin and the Revolutionary Body,” which looks into Franklin’s involvement during this critical period in American history. Living historians Charles and Catherine Molenda will reenact the lives of Benjamin and Deborah Franklin (“Meet Mr. and Mrs. Franklin”), and later lecture on “Ben Franklin and the Founding Fathers.” Storyteller and instrumentalist Barry Cloyd will perform music and stories of Franklin and the Revolutionary period in “Stories about Ben: The Kite, the Key & Other Tales.”

The Benjamin Franklin events at Orland Park Public Library are by no means only for adults. There are several opportunities for younger audiences to get involved, including Ben Franklin Story Time; a kite-making event; an American Girl Tea Party, which will feature the Felicity doll from Franklin’s time; and a celebration of Franklin’s birthday on January 17. The library has also scheduled Colonial Days, which will offer games and crafts while allowing participants to learn what life was like as a colonial kid. A four-week program with newspaper editor Heather Warthen will give children the opportunity to learn how to write and produce a newspaper.

The Orland Park Public Library has been doing an exemplary job with its programming. The numerous Benjamin Franklin events only make up a small portion of all of the programs they have planned for the next few months. Other upcoming events include book and film discussions, cooking classes, informational workshops on computer and career skills, and plenty of programs and crafts and for children.

The “Benjamin Franklin” exhibit will be at the Orland Park Public Library through February 19, 2010.