Celebrate libraries with Flat Andy

Flat Andy paper doll (source: hcplc.org)

The Tampa-Hillsborough County Public Library is celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014 with a photo contest called Flat Andy. I saw this fun way to mark a major library milestone when I visited the John H. Germany Public Library in Tampa, Florida.

Carnegie connection

The first library to be opened in the county was the 1914 West Tampa Branch, one of ten buildings to be funded in Florida by philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. Because Carnegie gave away millions of dollars for new libraries across North America and Europe, he is considered by some to be the patron saint of libraries, so it seems fitting that the Tampa Library should make him its Centennial Celebration mascot and star of its anniversary photo contest.

Flat what?

The idea is based on a character called Flat Stanley, originated by author Jeff Brown and popularized by the Flat Stanley Project, who as a paper doll is exchanged among people who document his travels around the world. To celebrate its connection to Andrew Carnegie, the Tampa Library changed the image and name to Flat Andy and developed a contest to encourage people to photograph him in front of libraries in North America and beyond.

Photo contest

The contest provides images of Flat Andy (in hard copy or from the Internet), which people can then photograph in front of libraries. Although everyone can enter, prizes are given to Tampa Library cardholders (in both adult and youth categories) for the best photo of Flat Andy in front of any library, a Carnegie library, and the library farthest away from Tampa.

For more information about Flat Andy and Tampa’s library anniversary, visit Hillsborough County Public Library Cooperative.