Civics @ Seymour

Seymour Library’s Civic Literacy Series Fall 2018

Did you know that only a quarter of Americans can name all three branches of government, and more than a third can’t name any of the rights guaranteed under the First Amendment, according to the 2017 Annenberg Constitution Day Civics Survey? Thanks to a grant from the Fred M. Everett and Ora H. Everett Charitable Trust, Seymour Library hopes to bridge that gap in knowledge and provide a refresher on government.

Merriam-Webster defines civics as “the study of the rights and duties of citizens and of how government works”.The goal of Seymour Library’s civic literacy initiative is to engage the community in a conversation about civics by providing access to information on how government works, locally, federally and historically. Civic literacy is not only about obtaining the basic knowledge of how government works but, taking a step further and applying that knowledge to everyday life and using it to discuss and shape the change that you want to see in your community.

To lay the framework for participation in civic life and civil discourse, the library will offer programs on local government and current social and political issues.

Upcoming events

Local Government from a Tax Perspective, Wednesday, September 12 at 6 pm

What does government look like from a Property Tax perspective? Learn about the often complicated and confusing role property taxes play in funding our local governments, schools and services on Wednesday September 12 at 6 pm with Kelly Anderson.

2018: First Amendment and Freedom of Press in the Modern Age, Monday, September 17 at 6 pm

Learn the impact of the First Amendment and freedom of press on your everyday life with Newhouse professor and director of the Tully Center of Free Speech, Roy Gutterman. Gutterman will highlight the importance of these protections, not just for the press, but for citizens on Monday September 17 at 6 pm.

Seymour Library’s Civics Film Series, Monday, September 24 at 6 pm

Join us for a screening of the classic 1976 film, All The President’s Men (runtime 138 minutes), on Monday, September 24 at 6 pm at Auburn Public Theater. There will be a brief intro before the film by the library’s own Shawn Connery.

Refugees, Asylum and Migration, Tuesday, September 25 at 6 pm

The US has a long history of accepting refugees as well as a history of refusing entry to some people. Take a look at the history of modern refugees in the US and the issues and law associated with a variety of groups as they attempted and continue to attempt to escape from situations around the world and re-settle in the US, with local historian Tom Henry on Tuesday, September 25 at 6 pm.

Seymour Library’s Civics Film Series, Monday, October 1 at 6 pm  

Join us for a screening of the classic 1939 film, Mr. Smith Goes To Washington (runtime 129 minutes), on Monday, October 1 at 6 pm at Auburn Public Theater. There will be a brief intro before the film by the library’s own Shawn Connery.

First Amendment Free Press, Tuesday, October 9 at 6 pm

Since colonial times, Americans have struggled to define the limits of a free press and its counterpoint, censorship. How free should a free press be? Is it ever right for information to be withheld from the public? Is there some acceptable middle ground? Take a look at the history of free press and the issues past and present that have shaped this intense and interesting First Amendment debate with local historian Tom Henry on Tuesday, October 9 at 6 pm.

Seymour Library’s Civics Film Series, Monday, October 15 at 6 pm  

Join us for a screening of the classic 1957 film, 12 Angry Men (runtime 95 minutes), on Monday, October 15 at 6 pm at Auburn Public Theater. There will be a brief intro before the film by the library’s own Shawn Connery.

Civil Disobedience, Tuesday, October 23 at 6 pm

Traditionally, civil disobedience is the refusal to follow a specific law or ruling in a peaceful way to point out its injustice. But has the “civil” disappeared, leaving us with just the disobedience? Explore the history of civil disobedience in our country and view the current state of protests to see where, or if, they fit in to what many view as an American tradition, with local historian Tom Henry on Tuesday, October 23 at 6 pm.

Finding the Facts in an Era of Fake News, Tuesday, October 30 at 6 pm

Explore fake news: its previous occurrences in United States history, its prevalence in the current era, and what you can do as a citizen to limit it with Seymour Library’s History Discovery coordinator Dori Gottschalk-Fielding on Tuesday, October 30 at 6 pm.

Civic’s Trivia Night, Monday, November 12 at 6 pm

Would you pass the United States civics test for citizenship? Test your knowledge of civics for a chance to win the grand prize on Monday, November 12 at 6pm. Refreshments will be provided. Join or bring a team, teams should be no more than 5 people per team.

Human Library, Saturday, November 10, 11 am to 4 pm

This fall Seymour Library will host a Human Library ® on Saturday, November 10 from 11 am to 4 pm. Individuals of different cultures, beliefs and backgrounds will be available to “check out” for 30 minute conversations. The aim of the Human Library® is to challenge stereotypes and allow the community an opportunity to share and understand the experiences of others. Stay tuned for how to sign up to “checkout” a book and the different “titles” we will be offering.

Election Day Wrap Up, TBD

Join local historian Tom Henry for a break down of the 2018 midterm election results. What were voters thinking about? What affected turn out? Was there anything really new? What does it potentially mean for 2020? Discuss these questions and learn a brief history of midterm elections to see where this one fits among general and recent trends.

Past events and supplemental materials

Discover more at home! View recorded livestreams of the programs and download copies of the slides used.