Libraries and Democratic Life: Promoting Civic Engagement

November 2, 2011 at 5:59 pm Leave a comment

See Programming Librarian on the Project on Civic Reflection.

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A living democracy depends on people being able to talk across difference, to think together about their own and their communities’ commitments and experiences. Though this explanation of living democracy may seem fairly straightforward, the realization of this kind of democracy is complex and often difficult. Complex largely because relationships are complicated; difficult primarily because we are not culturally conditioned to nurture the most important democratic practices: asking ourselves hard questions, listening to people we do not know or think we know too well, and trying to look with fresh eyes at what we ourselves hold dear.

Libraries are ideally situated to nurture these democratic practices. Libraries are open to all; they contain books and other materials that can provide people with a common experience and vocabulary; and they often attract people who are thinking about their aspirations, about what they and their communities might become. Libraries, which are often seen as products of democracy, can also be seen as engines of democracy, as places where people go to engage with one another and to begin making a difference.

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Entry filed under: Valdosta State University.

Bernardsville Library Goes Above and Beyond in any Situation Needed by Community Members. Value of Public Libraries

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