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.

Monday, July 31, 2006

OPAL event on The September Project

Last Friday, David, Mike Baldwin (a September Project Board member and Library Director at Benbrook Library District), and I participated in an engaging discussion about The September Project and civic participation in libraries around the world.

Masterfully moderated by Taylor Willingham (Coordinator of Texas Forums and an international expert in deliberative democracy), she deftly encouraged all participants to type or voice their comments, allowing everyone to share their ideas and contribute to the stimulating conversation. Many creative ideas surfaced, and one in particular--global collaborations--got me thinking.

For our part, we've facilitated collaborations as libraries express interest, and using our listserv and e-mail, we've encouraged all kinds of collaborations between libraries. In the past, inspired collaborations between libraries using free chat software or sharing programs across branches and systems have taken place. AND, this September, using OPAL, the Bensenville Community Library is hosting an event open to all. (Check it out!)

But one librarian wanted to know if there were more formal channels for facilitating collaborations between September Project participants. This is a great point, and worth exploring. So far, we haven't initated any formal channels, and I'd love to hear more ideas on this topic. If you have ideas about how to spark, capture, and initiate more collaborations between libraries, let's get the conversations started! Please leave comments on on the blog, or share your ideas on the listserv, or e-mail us.

There's so much more to talk about, but why don't you listen and watch for youself! The program archive can be found in many formats on the OPAL site.

mesa county libraries

two days ago, on saturday, i received an email from emilie satterwhite of mesa county libraries in grand junction, colorado. she emailed to say that all eight mesa county libraries - central library, clifton branch, collbran branch, de beque branch, fruita branch, gateway branch, orchard mesa branch, and palisade branch - would be participating in the september project.

their events - some planned, some being planned - offer something for everyone. as emilie wrote:
    Our library will be incorporating the ideas of the September Project throughout the month of September in a variety of ways. In addition to marking the anniversary of September 11, we are encouraging continued dialogue on the subjects of freedom and democracy through the rest of the week to mark Constitution Day and Banned Books Week.

    Our planned activities include book displays on September 11, the Constitution and Banned Books; a teen essay contest with teens writing about why freedom and democracy are important to them; and banned book discussions to celebrate everyone's right to intellectual freedom.

    Other activities are still in the works.
i think it's great how they fuse the september project, constitution day, and banned books week together. and, like the september project events at the birmingham public library system, mesa county libraries' events will take place all across the county.

what i find particularly interesting about mesa county libraries is the way in which the library district covers both city and rural areas. and judging from the extremely filled calendar of events and programs at mesa county libraries - including events for youth, teens, and adults - it appears that the librarians are quite busy serving their multiple communities. it's also great to see much of their web site in spanish. just as mesa county is diverse in terms of physical landscape, so is mesa county libraries diverse in terms of cultural and intellectual programs and events.

Saturday, July 29, 2006

birmingham public library system

yesterday, i received an email from barbara sirmans, director of the birmingham public library. she emailed to say that eleven birmingham public libraries would be participating in the september project. from a distance, high above the state of alabama, this is what they look like on our map of participating libraries:

barbara also emailed to say that two libraries - central and pratt city branch - would be participating with window displays and that nine libraries - avondale regional branch, east lake branch, eastwood branch, inglenook branch, north avondale branch, north birmingham regional branch, southside branch, springville road regional branch, and titusville branch - would be participating with book displays.

library systems allow programs, resources, and services to be geographically distributed across a town, city, or county. instead of asking residents to leave their neighborhoods and assemble in a single, centralized location (town hall, a civic center, a central library), library systems offer resources, programs, and displays for people in the neighborhoods in which they live. the result is a more decentralized (and often more relevant) series of programs.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

new american libraries

yesterday, seven libraries from six different states signed up to participate:
hopefully, by the time september arrives, events will take place in libraries in all 50 states - plus washington dc.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

emory university, robert w. woodruff library, and good night and good luck

for the second straight year, emory university's robert w. woodruff library will be participating in the september project. their event is perfect:
We will screen Good Night and Good Luck, a film that, in its look at domestic events of the Cold War / McCarthy era, addresses a variety of issues which continue to resonate today and raises important questions regarding civil liberties, democracy, the creation and dissemination of news, and the requirements of active citizenship. Professor Harvey Klehr will provide opening remarks, and there will be an audience discussion at the conclusion of the film. One DVD copy of Good Night and Good Luck will be given away as a door prize.
many american academics, myself included, are quite nervous about our students' lack of historical knowledge. a few years ago, in a 450-student class, i asked my students if they knew what the cold war was. 4-5 students raised their hands. i'm not joking. personally, i think it's a great idea to engage college students via film - especially a film that includes george clooney! - and i am particularly excited to learn that the audience discussion will be led by harvey klehr, an andrew w. mellon professor of politics and history. plus, some lucky attendee will receive a free DVD of the film!

Friday, July 07, 2006

the september project in sixteen countries

in the last few weeks, the september project has grown significantly more global. two weeks ago, libraries in 10 countries were planning september project events. today, events are being planned in 16 countries.
from canada, west vancouver memorial library (in west vancouver, british columbia) and chinook regional library: swift current branch (in swift current, saskatchewan), both 2005 september project participants, have signed up again this year.

from costa rica, the university for peace library (in san jose) has recently become the first costa rican library to participate in the september project. (the united nations-mandated university of peace was established in 1980 with the following mission: "to provide humanity with an international institution of higher education for peace with the aim of promoting among all human beings the spirit of understanding, tolerance and peaceful coexistence, to stimulate cooperation among peoples and to help lessen obstacles and threats to world peace and progress, in keeping with the noble aspirations proclaimed in the Charter of the United Nations.")

from greece, the athens university of economics & business library (in athens) will be participating again this year.

from iceland, kopavogur public library: lindasafn branch library (in kopavogur) signed up to participate again this year.

from india, the amity campus jaipur library (in jaipur, rajasthan) and the NIILM center for management studies library (in new delhi) have signed up. in an email, jitender sharma, librarian and marketing manager at NIILM-CMS library wrote: "Our library will always be willing to be a part of this project."

from israel, the pamela and stanley chais public library (in mevasseret - zion) and the university of haifa library (in haifa) have joined the september project.
we look forward to watching the project grow around the planet.