The Year of the Bard: Shakespeare at 450 was a year-long celebration organized by The Free Library of Philadelphia in 2014 that centered around the library’s extraordinary research collections on Shakespeare and his influence. The library described the Year of the Bard as “a year packed full of engaging, enlightening and entertaining programs and events designed to celebrate Shakespeare in all his classic and modern incarnations.”
A major exhibition by the Rare Books Division, Shakespeare for All Time, provided the catalyst for the celebration. With partners such the Philadelphia Shakespeare Theatre and the Philadelphia Ballet, city-wide programming included films, lectures, an insult contest, digital and live exhibitions, pop-up and theatrical performances and a birthday party at multiple locations.
Janine Pollack, Rare Book Department Manager and Curator of Shakespeare for All Time, observed:
“It is inspiring to see the impact of a Rare Book Department exhibition, how it is radiating outward from Parkway Central Library and how the material speaks to everyone. This is where book arts and high culture meet popular culture, for public benefit.”