Topic: University Libraries

October 24, 2008

The Center for Middletown Studies and the Muncie Public Library will present a talk on the history of local economic development efforts, "Muncie's Response to Economic Change: An Oral History," at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 27 at the Kennedy branch of the Muncie Public Library. The presentation is based on a series of interviews with local civic and business leaders involved in past and current efforts to address long-term economic change in Muncie and Delaware County.

The issue of economic development has been important in Muncie and Delaware County in recent years. The county's leading employers are a university, a medical complex, local government and Wal-Mart. The job market has shifted from high-paying production-line jobs to a mix of professional and service jobs. Jobs that require college or advanced degrees pay well but draw people from different parts of the country or the world. Retail and other service jobs don't require a degree but pay considerably less than the unionized factory jobs Delaware County has lost.

Local civic leaders, business people and citizens have tried to respond creatively and effectively to changes in the county job market. The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County provided support for an effort by allowing the Center for Middletown Studies to interview political and business leaders involved in economic development and to compile transcripts of those conversations in an electronic archive. During the Oct. 27 presentation, James Connolly, director of the center, and interviewers Warren Vander Hill and Paul Mitchell will present some of the findings from their research.

For more information about the project, contact the Center for Middletown Studies at 765-285-8037 or James Connolly. 

By Chanel Richards