Refresh your civic knowledge: Local government, the First Amendment, and more

“It’s been a long time since I had a civics or a government class,” a patron wrote to us recently, requesting that the library host community workshops or classes on the workings of government. “Like Civics for Dummies or Civics 101.”

You’ve told us: as citizens, you want to be engaged, empowered, and informed. As your public library, we focus on strengthening civic literacy in our community to empower you to share your voice and inspire change. That’s why we’re thrilled to partner with a government law expert to bring the community a new three-part series at the Main Library this fall.

New! Civics 101 series

Monthly on Thursdays, 7-8 pm, Main Library Veterans Room
A three-part discussion-based series studying the rights and duties of citizenship, facilitated by local practicing attorney Mark Burkland. Attend any of the sessions; no registration is needed.

  • September 20: How Local Government Works
  • October 18: The First Amendment in the Kitchen
  • November 15: The Next Big Things
Mark Burkland

Leading the series is local attorney Mark Burkland, who represents public bodies at the state, regional, and local levels and has 30 years of experience with local government law, constitutional issues, and land use and development matters.

Burkland said attendees will get a refresher on things they may have already learned, as well as a deeper understanding of topics like the First Amendment and the workings of local government—including the difficulties and challenges in running municipalities.

In the first two sessions, attendees can contribute their questions and comments to help inform content in the third session.

Get informed, get involved

Civic literacy includes helping citizens become more informed about where they live, how government works, and empowering people to take action and solve local problems, said Lori Pulliam, Director of Public Services and Programs.

“We’ve definitely seen a surge in civic groups meeting at the library, and we want to support our community’s efforts to make a difference locally, regionally, and nationally,” Pulliam said.

As citizens in a democracy, we are all privileged to play a role in governing, said Manager of Adult & Teen Services Alexandra Skinner. “To get the most out of that participation, we all need the best, most accurate information we can get,” she said. “I’m so excited to learn more information so I can better participate and be the best citizen I can be.”

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