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Arts & Culture

Cleveland Library Photographers Capturing Images of Daily Life in 2019

photo of Roger Titley puppets
The Cleveland Library photo archives are sparse after the 1980s. As part of its 150th anniversary, the library is documenting daily life in 2019. On Saturday, the library marked its birthday with a street fair, including these Roger Titley puppets.

The Cleveland Public Library is mounting an effort to capture images of current-day life in the city as part of its 150th anniversary celebration.

The library is home to more than a million images, spanning everything from prominent chess players of the 1850s to the Flats in the 1980s.

But after that, the collection is sparse according to Aaron Mason, the library’s director of programming. He says that’s why they’ve sent out 20 photographers to document life in the city today.

“Our photograph collection kind of stops in 1980 or ’90. What we’re doing is we’re using this year – our 150th anniversary – as the starting point for a contemporary collection of images of our neighborhoods. We have 20 photographers fanned out over the city taking pictures of daily life. Less of the monuments and tall buildings and more of the people and the street corners,” Mason said.

He added “These simple things – small interactions at playgrounds, at storefronts, the churches – these are the types of things we’re trying to capture so we have an accurate reflection of the as it is in 2019.”

The photographers will be working through the end of the year, but Mason says they’ll begin reviewing the images next month. The new photos will go on-display in January as part of the library’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Day celebrations.