Citizens of Cossitt: The Legacies and Futures of Public Libraries in Memphis, Tenn.


Mellon/ACLS Scholars and Society Fellowships




Memphis Public Library, Cossitt Branch


"Citizens of Cossitt" is a collaboration between the University of Memphis (UM) and the Memphis Public Library (MPL) to research the history and reimagine the future of MPL’s first library, Cossitt Library. Guided by librarians at both institutions, faculty and student researchers will use MPL archives and UM special collections to create public exhibitions and digital learning tools about the role of Cossitt Library in the city’s long civil rights history. Then, using public outreach surveys conducted by Cossitt staff, and in consultation with the UM Benjamin Hooks Center for Social Change, the project will develop training workshops and exhibition space for library patrons to produce their own physical and digital exhibitions about the library's place in civic life.