The September Project Blog

Come here to learn about the goings-on of The September Project, a grassroots effort to foster public events in all communities on September 11.

Friday, June 30, 2006

goffstown public library

this morning, goffstown public library, in goffstown, new hampshire, signed up to participate in the september project. two librarians, jessica stevens and sandra whipple, are organizing the events and they've already posted a web page for their september project events!

their events include two september 11-related films (the guys and seven days in september: a powerful story about 9/11 - both from 2002) and a lecture titled "civil liberties vs. security in post 9-11 america" featuring richard hesse, professor emeritus at franklin pierce law center.

the other element of their events, called "wishes for our world," is really quite stunning. quoting from their web site:
As we approach the fifth anniversary of 9/11, we would like to help the community remember the events of that tragic day, as well as the more than 3,000 people who lost their lives. Wishes for our world will be an opportunity for citizens of all ages to stop and reflect on their hopes for our world of today and their dreams for our world of tomorrow.

Beginning on September 1st, we will ask local businesses and community organizations to make available pre-cut stars, provided by the library, upon which children and adults may express their Wishes For Our World. Our goal is for the community to complete 3,000 stars and 3,000 wishes, representing the lives lost on 9/11. As the stars are completed between September 1st and September 11th, we will display them throughout the community; on walls, windows, etc.
i've never had the pleasure to visit the state of new hampshire but when i do i'll be sure to visit goffstown and the goffstown public library.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

college + community = smart civic engagement (lawrence, kansas, usa)

if you plan to be in or near lawrence, kansas, between september 11-17, 2006, please consider attending some or all of the following september project events:
Surveillance and Society Post-9/11
Monday, Sept 11, 7 pm
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium

Professor Mike Hoeflich of the University of Kansas School of Law will lead a discussion pertaining to individuals' rights and group responsibility. Special emphasis will be placed on surveillance changes and whether citizens' rights are being trounced by a post-9/11 mentality of security over freedom. Professor Hoeflich will speak for twenty minutes and then lead a discussion/question and answer period for another forty. Professor Hoeflich is a former dean of the Law School and is a noted columnist for the Lawrence Journal-World.

Religious Cooperation in an Uncooperative World
Tuesday, September 12, 7 pm
Lawrence Public Library

The United States seems to have become increasingly divided with each passing year since September 11, 2001. In a time of divisiveness, learn how radically different religious groups are working together to cultivate peace through building interfaith relationships, fostering understanding and appreciation of differences, and creating opportunities for leadership in local communities. Join us for a panel presentation followed by an audience discussion. We will seek to identify concrete strategies for interfaith cooperation that every person can take back to her or his faith community.

International Perspectives on the Post-9/11 U.S.
Wednesday, September 13, 7 pm
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium

Five international students will offer diverse views on the September 11th attack in the United States. The panelists will share their personal experiences and inner feelings about life in the United States after 9/11 as citizens of their respective countries. Through dialogue, all in attendance will develop a deeper understanding of the global impact of 9/11.

You Be the Judge: The United States Supreme Court in Review
Sunday, September 17, 2:30 pm
Lawrence Public Library Auditorium

On Constitution Day, find out whether you agree with recent decisions by our nation's highest court. Judge Joseph G. Pierron, Kansas Court of Appeals, will lead the group in a re-creation of actual Supreme Court cases, with the audience playing the roles of the litigants, lawyers and judges. You'll have fun as you gain new perspectives on the judicial process and debate rights and responsibilities in America today. Co-sponsored by the Kansas Humanities Council and the Kansas Judiciary and Kansas Bar Association.
i love this september project event for many reasons, including:
  1. it is a collaboration between a public library (lawrence public library) and a university (university of kansas).

  2. lawrence public library's efforts are being coordinated by maria butler, the community relations/volunteer coordinator. judging from the library's events calendar, it seems as though lawrence public library takes community engagement very seriously.

  3. it involves students. for three straight years, KU students have designed awesome september project events. this year, four graduate students - noelle barrick, shannon portillo, michael sweeney, and megan williams - and one undergraduate - julian portillo - are making things happen. i believe most (all?) of the students are in american studies, but i could be wrong.

  4. it features a) experts from b) the community. for example: the panel on the supreme court features judge joseph g. pierron, kansas court of appeals; the panel on surveillance features professor mike hoeflich, university of kansas school of law; and, in a stroke of brilliance, the panel on international perspectives on post-9/11 united states features five international students currently attending university of kansas.

  5. collaborating organizations include local and state organizations. in addition to the lawrence public library and university of kansas, collaborators include the kansas humanities council, the kansas judiciary, and the kansas bar association.

  6. and finally, because it takes place in a public library, the event is free and open to the public. put another way, anyone can participate in - and everyone is invited to - these interesting and inspired events.
way to go lawrence, kansas!

Friday, June 16, 2006

grow globally

this is the third year of the september project. TSP is many things but the most simple definition we like to use is this:
The September Project encourages free and public events in all libraries in all countries on or around September 11.
one of the most exciting elements of the project is the speed by which it has developed nationally and internationally. in each of its first two years, september project events took place in all 50 states. since 2004, more than 1,100 libraries in 34 countries have hosted september project events. this year, libraries in 10 countries have signed up to participate and we are not even in july yet!

in spring, when john klockner, sarah washburn, and i began meeting to discuss this year's september project, we agreed that in order to make our site as accessible as possible, it had to be in multiple languages. with help from current and former university of washington students aljosa corovic, mark hungerford, jen rosenberg, and grace zhang, through financial help from microsoft research (which allowed us to get excellent translation help from sinometrics incorporated), and through some pretty visionary work by klockner, the september project is now accessible in chinese, english, french, german, italian, japanese, portuguese, russian, serbian, spanish, and turkish.

unfortunately, most computers, including the laptop i'm currently working on, do not have the correct fonts to read all languages, especially chinese and japanese. so i am unsure whether or not you, reader, will be able to read all of the characters below. it's certainly worth trying:

when working on things like the september project, you quickly learn that the project can - and will - develop in directions you never imagined. that said, i hope the september project will continue to grow globally and introduce itself to libraries and communities around the world.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

walserbibliothek raggal

for the last few months, i've had the pleasure to work with jen rosenberg, an undergraduate here at the university of washington. before coming to UW, jen lived in austria and attended the university of vienna. next year, jen will leave UW to attend the university of iowa. through an independent study, it's been a joy to work with and learn from jen.

jen began her work by translating much of the september project into german. what an interesting feeling to see Das September-Projekt: Weltweite Förderung von öffentlichen Events am 11. September on our web site! next, jen began contacting librarians in austria and germany.

jen and i were extremely thrilled when walserbibliothek raggal signed up to participate in this year's september project. walserbibliothek raggal is located in raggal, which is a community of almost 900 people in the austrian alps. a few years ago, due to financial constraints, the library almost closed. fortunately, the entire community got together to fight for the library's existence. today, there are 12 volunteers helping to manage and maintain the library. also, the library is currently putting together a collection of articles from the local newspaper in order to compile a history of this very small town/village for members of their community.

walserbibliothek raggal is a public library and it has a playroom designed for children filled with children's books, DVDs, and CDs. judging from this photograph, it appears that the room is also used for exciting story times!

for jen, originally from vienna and currently in seattle, it must be a thrill to see walserbibliothek raggal on our map of participating libraries. for me, currently in seattle but often dreaming of the austrian alps, it certainly is a thrill.

danke walserbibliothek raggal. danke jen.

Monday, June 05, 2006

qatar university library

a week ago, qatar university library signed up to participate in this year's september project. this is quite exciting for many reasons.

let's back up a little. for the last two quarters, mark hungerford, a phd student in communication at the university of washington, has worked as my research assistant. before going to graduate school, mark spent four years in turkey teaching english. before coming to UW, he earned his MA in journalism and middle eastern studies from the university of texas, where he wrote his thesis on how the news media portray religious people, particularly muslims and christians. mark is a serious scholar and is currently researching stereotypes and the construction of identity, especially national and religious identity.

for the last two quarters, mark has been teaching me about turkey, turkish culture, and middle eastern culture. it was mark who translated the september project into turkish. and it was mark who recently began contacting librarians in turkey, as well as in egypt, qatar, and saudia arabia. traditionally, research assistantships are opportunities where graduate students learn from professors; in this case, mark and i learned from each other.

what a thrill it was, last week, to open my email and see that qatar university library signed up to participate in this year's september project. what a thrill to learn that dalia gohary, a librarian at qatar university library, is considering a september project event that would celebrate qatar independence day (which is september 3). what a thrill to communicate and collaborate with librarians, professors, and students at a university i've never visited in a country i've never been to.

everytime a new library joins the september project, i can't help to feel that this big ball called earth gets a little bit smaller.