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The history of libraries acting as galleries dates back centuries. Savvy libraries realized that displaying art and artifacts could increase their value to their communities.

For instance, Walton-Defuniak Public Library has long displayed a historic weapons collection that originally belonged to Professor Kenneth Bruce of Palmer College. The collection, which includes weapons from medieval Europe, Asia and 18th century Kentucky, helps draw curious visitors. 

Historic weapons exhibit at Walton-Defuniak Public Library

Whether a small collection or a single piece, permanent installations enhance spaces in a way that’s appealing, easy to maintain and informative.     

Creating rotating exhibits involves more work, especially for libraries that want to construct a specially designed gallery area.

However, temporary shows keep the art fresh, help attract new patrons and give regular patrons another reason to come back. 

Library gallery exhibits benefit everyone, including artists who receive greater exposure for their work, and hopefully an increase in sales. 

Art lending programs

In addition to exhibitions, many libraries have art lending programs, often focused on framed art reproductions. These programs allow patrons to check out a piece of art and keep it for a specific length of time.



Support Florida Libraries as Galleries With Your FEL Gale Resources

This webinar will help you use Florida Electronic Library Gale resources, like Fine Arts and Music Collection, to discover interesting art information relevant to library programs and displays. 
Learn how to share this information to inspire your users to appreciate art within the library, explore art outside the library, and develop and apply creative perspective throughout their lives. 
Presented by Emily Mageski, Customer Education Specialist, Gale | Cengage Learning  
Watch a recording of this webinar.

Contact us

To learn more about Florida Libraries as Galleries or to share your library's resources or experiences on this topic, contact us at 245.6602. 

imls180.for.panel.jpgMany of these resources and programs are funded under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Florida's LSTA program is administered by the Department of State's Division of Library and Information Services.