July 18--A grant-funded project focusing on the post-World War II generation is ending for the Lyndon House and the Athens-Clarke County Library, but "The Boomers" will live on under a different name.
Now rechristened "Reflecting, Sharing, Learning," the program and its emphasis on programming for the Baby Boom generation born between 1946 and 1964 will continue under the umbrella of the library, said grant coordinator Van Burns. Madeline Darnell coordinated the program for its first three years, but wanted to reduce her role to part-time and last October switched places with her assistant, Burns.
At the same time, they changed the name and broadened the age range of the audience they want to reach.
"We had found we were getting people at the programs who were just a little younger and older, and it turns out that 'Boomer' is a bit of a turnoff to some people," Burns said.
But even if it had a name not everyone liked, the project has reached a big and still growing audience, Darnell said.
Funded by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services, the grant's aim was to develop a model for other libraries to use in serving the baby boomers, now retiring in a building wave. The institute judged it a success and funded it for a fourth, year, ending in October.
Its successful programming included reaching out to Vietnam veterans two years ago, when retired radio journalist Mary Kay Mitchell-Hodler launched a project interviewing Athens-area Vietnam veterans. As with other Boomers programs, the video interviews were put up on YouTube, where hundreds of people have seen them. Each of the interviews has gotten between 300 and 400 views, Darnell said.
Lyndon House shows such as "Athens Rockin' Roots Revisited" in 2012 and "The Mystique of the Automobile" also turned out to be big hits, Darnell said.
A 2013 video of retired UGA law professor Eugene Wilkes' talk on the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination has now recorded nearly 12,000 views on YouTube, she said.
Many of the programs were suggested by the grant's advisory board and others, Darnell said.
"I think it's a great way to do programming for any public institution is that there is a direct connection to the audience you serve," she said.
More programs are on tap this month and next in what they're calling "Digital Summer 2014."
The Lyndon House held an opening reception for a color-filled exhibit called Roy G Biv this week.
Coming up at 7 p.m. Thursday at the library building on Baxter Street is "Meet and Three: A delicious Look at the Athens Food Scene then and Now," with people in the know or who remember Athens' restaurants of a few decades ago.
On Aug. 9, from 2-6 p.m., "Athens Makers" will bring together area folks who make things from robots and 3-D sculptures to wood carvings and felt crafts.
And Mitchell-Hodler is again looking for people to help her document another piece of Athens history Â€' the desegregation of public schools.
Earlier this week, she sat down to talk with Johnnie Lay Burks, one of the first three black teachers in the county's previously all-white school system, and Aurelia Carson Scott of Athens' Milestones in History Commemoration Committee, which is gathering information about the first blacks to integrate Athens institutions such as law enforcement and education.
The two women are hoping to have a school building renamed to honor Sam Wood, the white Clarke County school superintendent who asked Burks and two other young women to desegregate the county's formerly all-white teacher corps. Burks left black North Athens Elementary School for Chase Street Elementary as the 1966-67 school year began.
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