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The Library Circulation Histories Workshop (LCHW) aims to make historic library circulation data more accessible and more analytically powerful. Over the past two decades, a number of projects have provided scholars and the public access to a rich body of evidence derived from handwritten library circulation records that capture the borrowing choices of thousands of library patrons. These projects document reading experiences in several countries, during various time periods, and through a range of institutions. Organized by the leadership of the What Middletown Read project, an NEH-funded effort to create and share the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from 1891 to 1902, LCHW brings together scholars, librarians, and developers representing many of these projects, as well several similar undertakings, to share insights and develop new strategies for increasing the value of these already powerful research tools.

LCHW is hosted by the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University, with support from BSU’s Digital Scholarship Lab and its Institute for Digital Intermedia Arts Lab. The National Endowment for the Humanities and the Institute for Museum and Library Services have provided funding for the workshop.

Our original plan for the Workshop was to hold an in-person gathering in May, 2019. The COVID-19 pandemic made that impossible and, after exploring options, we have opted to hold the initial phase of the workshop in an asynchronous, virtual format. This portion of the Workshop takes place from April 19 to April 30, 2021. It follows the model established for the Nearly Carbon Neutral Conferences at the University of California-Santa Barbara. Once the presentation phase of the workshop is complete, we will arrange a series of virtual or, if possible hybrid virtual/in-person meetings to develop plans for further work.

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