By Tia Lynn Ivey, Managing Editor
The Uncle Remus Regional Library System (URRLS), of which the Morgan County Library is a part, is planning to drop the “Uncle Remus” moniker in exchange for a new name for the system. The Brer Rabbit logo will also be retired.
Some form of the Uncle Remus name has been part of the regional library system since 1959, which pay homage to stories of Joel Chandler Harris of Putnam County, who authored the series of Uncle Remus stories. According to The New Georgia Encyclopedia, “Uncle Remus is the fictional title character and narrator of a collection of black American folktales compiled and adapted by Joel Chandler Harris and published in book form in 1881. … He wrote these stories to represent the struggle in the Southern United States, and more specifically in the plantations.”
Uncle Remus and Beer Rabbit tales were adapted by Disney into films and books, becoming iconic figures in popular culture throughout the decades.
The URRLS board voted in October to retire the Uncle Remus name in an attempt to find a more unifying name reflective of the entire region.
“The URRLS voted to change the current Regional System’s name to a more inclusive and descriptive name that would be representative of the six counties that comprise the current Regional System,” explained Stacy Brown, director of the URRLS board. “When people hear the Regional System’s name now they often think of Putnam County, which is where Joel Chandler Harris wrote the Uncle Remus stories.”
A total of nine libraries spread across six counties comprise the URRLS, including Greene, Hancock, Jasper, Morgan, Putnam and Walton counties.
“The Regional Board is in no way attempting to erase the system’s rich history,” said a statement from the URRLS. “Books and materials pertaining to Uncle Remus and/or Joel Chandler Harris will not be discarded from the nine member libraries. Historical accounts of how the Regional System’s name came to be will not be altered.”
“I really think it will bring our region together,” said Brown. “When you hear the name “Uncle Remus” people think of Eatonton and Putnam County, but we have five other counties in our region and I think they are ready to have a change that represents everyone as a unit.”
The library system also pledged to retain the myriad of artifacts, statues, and art murals that are iconic to Uncle Remus and the library system.
Once a new name is selected, the full process will take up to five years to completely implement, but the website, letterheads, name-tags, emails, and business cards will be changed soon after the new name selection. Signs and plagues will take longer to change.
To decide on a new name and logo, the library trustees have asked the local communities to submit name suggestions and logo designs. Trustees advise the public to submit choices that “include elements of all six counties and one that is not being used, past or present, by a Georgia Library branch or system.”
Every URRLS branch will have a form available for patrons to offer their suggestions for the Regional Board of Trustees to consider at their next meeting on January 9, 20202.