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Andrew Nurkin portrait
June 8, 2022

Gratz College Summer Institute 2022 presents:
A Civil Care: The Public Library in a Time of National Disunion

The United States in 2022 seems at a point of political and social fracture. Nearly every institution, including the public library, has become a vector for the compounding challenges threatening our democracy. Yet perhaps more than any other institution, libraries offer common ground on which we might begin the long work of creating democracy anew. In a moment when scholars and commentators openly speculate about the possibility of a new civil war, this talk will ask how the public library can help us imagine and bring about a civil care.

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This Friday, September 17, the nation celebrates Constitution Day.  On September 17, 1787, the Constitutional Convention, meeting not far from Gratz in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall, finished its work.  Delegates from twelve states (Rhode Island never sent any delegates) signed the Constitution.  Many of those who signed the Constitution are household names in the United States, like George Washington, James Madison, and Benjamin Franklin.  One, Alexander Hamilton, is on both Broadway, and our ten dollar bill.