Welcome to the What Middletown Read Project:

"What Middletown Read" is a database and search engine built upon the circulation records of the Muncie (Indiana) Public Library from November 5, 1891 through December 3, 1902. It documents every book that every library patron borrowed during that period, with the exception of one gap from May 28, 1892 to November 5, 1894. For more details, follow the links below.

This project is the result of a collaborative effort between the Muncie Public Library, the Center for Middletown Studies at Ball State University, and Ball State University Libraries. It is made possible through the financial support from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Gladys Kreible Delmas Foundation, and the following units at Ball State University: the Office of the Provost, the College of Sciences and Humanities, the Honors College, the English Department, and the History Department.

The national Endowment for the Humanities featured What Middletown Read as one of fifty NEH Essentials, fifty "great projects past and present," as part of its celebration of the Endowment's 50th anniversary.

Read the Book! What Middletown Read: Print Culture in an American Small City by Frank Felsenstein and James J. Connolly is now available from the University of Massachusetts Press. For details and ordering information, go here.

Related Resources: Our colleagues at Washington University in Saint Louis used WMR data to produce a series of data visualizations, which you can explore here. Wayne Weigand created the Main Street Public Library Database, which reproduces the collection records for five Midwestern public libraries between 1890 and 1970, which you can find here.