You may have heard of “What Middletown Read,” a database project that Dr. Frank Felsenstein has been working on for several years and that makes available for study library records from the Muncie Public Library–the database compiles records of what books were checked out from the library from the years 1891 to 1902. For more information on the project, you can check out this article. Now that the database has been made available to the public, the project has received national attention in several prominent publications. John Plotz’s article, “This Book is 119 Years Overdue: The Wondrous Database That Reveals What Americans Checked Out of the Library a Century Ago,” appeared in Slate online in November of last year. Later in the month, the project was featured in the Sunday Book Review section of the New York Times–you can click on the link below to read Anne Trubek’s article, entitled “What Muncie Read.” This article seeks to examine the reading habits and trends of America’s “most average town” in an effort to prove that even in our emerging digital age, America reads in much the same way it did generations ago. Check out the full articles from Slate and the New York Times below.
New York Times: