January 08, 2010

Traveling Simon exhibit to open at Benton library

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A traveling exhibit celebrating the late Sen. Paul Simon’s life, influence and legacy will make its final appearance beginning with a special presentation in Benton next week.

“Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage” incorporates both a program and an exhibit. The program is set for 2 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 13, at the Benton Public Library, 502 S. Main St.

The guest speaker is Sheila Simon, daughter of the late senator and a clinical associate law professor at the University. She’ll discuss Simon’s lasting legacy.

The exhibit features a wealth of papers and memorabilia highlighting Paul Simon’s life -- from the early years as a journalist on through his many years in the political arena. Visitors will see photographs, artifacts and campaign memorabilia detailing Simon’s 1988 presidential campaign, his early connection to President Barack Obama, and the issues Simon felt were important, including the balanced budget amendment, the direct student loan program, television violence, and missing and exploited children.

The exhibit continues through the end of January at the Benton Public Library. Both the program and exhibit are free and open to the public.

“Paul Simon touched so many lives and continues to do so on both the local and national level. He showed there was a better way to do politics, an honorable way,” said Pamela Hackbart-Dean, director of the Special Collections Research Center at SIUC’s Morris Library.

The program and exhibit tell the story of Simon’s work with constituents, foreign relations, political campaigns and his contributions to the region, state and nation. The Illinois Humanities Council, Morris Library and Benton Public Library are sponsors for “Paul Simon: Compassion, Vision and Courage.”

For more information about the Paul Simon exhibit, the Simon papers and collection or Morris Library’s Special Collections Research Center, call 618/453-2516 or e-mail speccoll@lib.siu.edu.