Wednesday, July 23, 2008

the september project 2008

warning: this blog post contains homework. read at your own risk.

the september project is a grassroots effort to encourage events about freedom and democracy in all libraries in all countries during the month of september.

we began the september project in 2004 to break the silence following september 11, and to invite all people into libraries to consider topics of patriotism, democracy, and citizenship. initially, events focused on september 11 and largely took place on september 11. as the project evolved, events spread throughout the month of september and focused on issues of freedom and democracy.

libraries and librarians are the heart and soul of the september project. for the last five years, public, academic, school, and government libraries from around the world have organized september project book displays, one book one community programs, children's art projects, murals, film screenings, theatrical performances, civic deliberations, community-campus gardens, voter registrations, panel discussions, and so much more. september project events are free, open to the public, and organized locally.

starting last week, the september project listserv lit up with librarians sharing their september project events. as always, this year's september project events are creative, diverse, and engaging. here's a sample.

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Bell Library at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi is organizing a semester-long display on "Electing a President." In conjunction with Constitution Day (September 17), the display will highlight the relevant portions of the Constitution and will encourage voter registration.

Sacramento Public Library (CA) has organized a One Book, One Community program featuring the book Three Cups of Tea: One Man's Mission to Promote Peace… One School at a Time by Greg Mortenson, who will be in attendance for the community conversations.

Gottesman Library at Columbia University in New York City will host a Socratic conversation about patriotism on September 11. Ronald Gross, aka Socrates, will lead a community conversation around two questions: What does patriotism mean to you, today? and How does patriotism need to be re-interpreted for the challenges we confront now?

Biblioteca Berio, in Genova, Italy, has created two events that increase our understanding of different cultures around us and that strive for peace. The first is a week-long photograph exhibition of the postwar period in Bosnia featuring the work of photographer Laura Rossi. On September 11, the library will host a public meeting and reading about the Srebrenica genocide in 1995.

The Sugar Grove Public Library (IL) will be joining with other libraries
across the US in a day of remembrance and celebration called Libraries Remember. The library will open their doors at 12:01 am on Thursday, September 11, 2008 and remain open for 24 hours. During this time, the library will host flag ceremonies, encourage people to register to vote, and provide library business as usual. Also, the Sugar Grove Chamber of Commerce & Industry will hold their monthly meeting on the lawn of the library which will be followed by a community picnic.

Seattle Public Library is hosting an exciting and provocative suite of events taking place in Central Library, Capitol Hill Branch Library, and Green Lake Branch Library. Events include a three-part, three-neighborhood discussion with Eric Liu and Nick Hanauer and their book The True Patriot; a film screening and discussion of The Corporal's Diary; a public talk by veteran British war correspondent Robert Fisk; and, in collaboration with Intiman Theatre, a dramatic reading from Robert Penn Warren's "All the King's Men."

Ingram Library at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton will host the exhibit "Anne Frank: A History for Today" from September 7-30, with support from the library’s Penelope Melson Society and the Georgia Commission on the Holocaust. In conjunction with the exhibit opening, the "Jewish Literature-Identity and Imagination" book discussion group, sponsored by the Neva Lomason Library, part of the West Georgia Regional Library System, will open its 2008 program. (Public and academic libraries working together = awesome.) Ingram Library will also host a talk on the US Constitution by Bob Schaeffer University of West Georgia's Department of Political Science and Planning.

want to hear more? visit the september project blog and subscribe to our listserv.

here at september project headquarters, our publicity budget, as well as our general budget, is $0. so, instead of advertisements and commercials, our outreach strategy is word of mouth, peer-to-peer, person-to-person. our outreach mode is essentially anyone to everyone as long as the message eventually reaches a librarian.

which brings us to you and your homework.

1. read this blog post. read any comments, too!

2. ask yourself, "who are my two or three favorite librarians?"

(2a. if you do not have two or three favorite librarians, shame on you. instead, find the web site for the very first library you remember using and locate the name and email address of the library director and/or community services librarian.)

3. send this blog post or this "What is it?" page or this "Where is it?" map to your two or three favorite librarians. share with them, in a few sentences, what you find interesting about the september project. if your favorite librarians speak Spanish, consider sending this page translated by Proyecto CIBA.

4. once you have completed steps 1-3, describe what you did in a comment below.

homework due date: nowish and soonish.


kq said...

I met with three of my favorite librarians this week --- Jenny Presnell, Stacy Nakumura Brinkman and Jason Jackson. We decided to reprise the basic elements of The September Project that we launched on Miami University's campus last year.

We will host an event for reflection and discussion on the patio/lawn of King Library on 09.11.2008 10:30am-2:30pm. This will be hosted by the Libraries and the students of American Studies 301: Practice of American Studies: Public Stories. Those students will also curate an exhibition in the lobby display cases in September. In October, the same students will hang an exhibition, The Shadowbox Show. The Shadowbox Show draws inspiration from the work of Joseph Cornell and Betye Saar to tell stories using found objects. The show, following in the tradition of AMS 301/Fall 2007, will explore what it means to be American in the contemporary U.S.

ally'all stop on by if you are in the Heartland.

-kelly quinn, American Studies, Miami University, Oxford Ohio

Anonymous said...

hi! i am one of the students who participated in the september project with dr. quinn's class last week. it is always interesting a touching for me to hear about september 11th and the moving and heartbreaking stories that go along with it. i do not think my story, ie where i was when it happened is particularly interesting, so it really is a time for me to listen and attempt to put myself in the shoes of someone who was there or someone who lost a special person. we all have a role to play in the healing after these events and the september project surely is a way to keep the spirit alive and to reach out to one another.