Boone Library's African American Program Wins National Honor


The Boone County Public Library won an Achievement Award from the National Association of Counties (NACo). The awards honor innovative, effective county government programs.

The Boone library was selected for its African Americans of Boone County Initiative in the category of arts, culture, and historic preservation.

Boone County Judge/Executive Gary Moore is the second-vice president of NACo.

“Our Boone County Library system is a leader in so many ways and I am pleased to hear of this recognition from the National Association of Counties," Moore said. "I am thankful for the outstanding leadership our library board and administration provide to our community.”

The African Americans of Boone County Initiative explored enslavement, the Underground Railroad, and African American history as a whole in the county. BCPL’s Local History Department recognized the need to acknowledge the African American experience within Boone County and to assist descendants and researchers in uncovering the past.

Local History Department staff developed research collections and programs to raise community awareness of the impact of enslavement upon Boone County’s history. They brought to light the issues of enslavement within Boone County’s history and helped the community to acknowledge its past and those who were enslaved.

Nationally, awards are given in 18 different categories that reflect the vast, comprehensive services counties provide. The categories include children and youth, criminal justice, county administration, information technology, health, civic engagement and many more.

NACo will recognize award-winning counties at its 2019 Annual Conference and Exposition July 12-15 in Clark County, Nevada.  

Underground Railroad photograph exhibit to open


Through Darkness to Light: Photographs Along the Underground Railroad opens June 19 at in the Curt Bessette Art Gallery at Boone County Public Library (1786 Burlington Pike in Burlington).

Photographer Jeanine Michna-Bales spent more than a decade researching fugitive slaves and the ways they escaped to freedom. While the unnumbered routes of the Underground Railroad encompassed countless square miles, the path Michna-Bales documented encompasses roughly 2,000 miles and is based off of actual sites, cities, and places that freedom-seekers passed through during their journey.

Whether they were slaves trying to escape or free blacks and whites trying to help, both sides risked everything for the cause of freedom. From the cotton plantations south of Natchitoches, Louisiana, all the way north to the Canadian border, this series of photographs by Michna-Bales helps us imagine what the long road to freedom may have looked like as seen through the eyes of one of those who made this epic journey.

This exhibition features dramatic color photographs, ephemera, and narratives that together tell the story of the Underground Railroad. The author is working with Princeton Architectural Press to prepare a publication that will combine eighty-two original photographs and text with a diverse sampling of related ephemera.

This exhibition was organized by ExhibitsUSA, a program of Mid-America Arts Alliance.

The exhibit runs June 19 through August 9.

-Staff report

Top photo: Boone Co. Public Library in Burlington

Bottom photo: Photo from Underground Railroad exhibit (provided)

Slideshow Images & Captions: