From Housing Justice to Democracy

A cyclist passing under a graffito of the German word "Demokratie"

In late 2022, Princeton Public Library launched its first Public Humanities Forum focusing on the housing crisis that many are facing in Princeton and across the nation. The forum asked two questions, “How Did We Get Here?” and “What Can We Do Now?” which were then further explored with additional programming throughout the year. Over the course of the last year, it became apparent that we could serve you better by devoting resources and time to an annual focus, so that many aspects of an issue would receive attention and promote deeper reflection. We have now entered 2024 and the time for announcing a new annual programming theme is upon us. 

This year, the library will be putting a focus on democracy both for programming and for the development of resources and collections. At a time when fundamental notions essential to our democracy, such as individual liberty, equal rights, freedom from tyranny, and the rule of law, have been tested and thrown into doubt, there could be no more appropriate moment to devote attention to this topic. In keeping with this initiative, today I can share a new resource guide on Democracy in Crisis, which Head of Adult Services Laura Bishop and Public Humanities Specialist Cliff Robinson have assembled and will continue to develop through this national election year. 

In addition, at the 2023 Public Humanities Forum on Journalism and Democracy, which was held on December 2 last year as an inaugural event for this theme (Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 are available on the Library’s YouTube channel), Adult Programming Manager Janie Hermann made note of a number of programs devoted to democracy which would follow up on that event’s exploration of journalism’s dependence upon and service to democracy: a yearlong book group on fundamental texts concerned with democracy, offered in partnership with the Catherine Project and launching on January 16; Ingrid Reed in conversation with William R. Fernekes about his new biography of Senator Clifford Case on January 23; and an Action Fair for advocacy groups coinciding with a presentation of author Sam Daley-Harris’s revised and updated publication of his book “Reclaiming our Democracy: Every Citizen’s Guide to Transformational Advocacy.” More events will follow this year, but these programs are sure to propel us into the work ahead.

Thanks to Kim Dorman, PPL Community Engagement Coordinator, for contributions to this post.

Photo Credit: Maria Langmann, Demokratie. CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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