A Rationale for Public Library Civics Instruction

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Statistics bear out the dire need for civic education and engagement within our nation’s libraries, those free and “equalizing” institutions that traditionally afforded opportunities assisting in the development of civically astute individuals. Per our founding principles, libraries and librarians remain responsible for instituting programming that assists in the development of capable citizens who actively participate in political life, hence ensuring the perpetuation and positive evolvement of our governmental system and its resulting law. Public and school libraries must return to a targeted emphasis on the provision of services that develop critical thinking opportunities steeped in civic intent and purpose. Examples include civic-oriented instruction, debate, communication, service and public policy facilitation, and forum building.