To help educate voters in the lead-up to Massachusettes’ local and November’s national elections, Dartmouth P.L. has created a guide accessible from its home page that hotlinks to everything from candidate video interviews and candidate–written newspaper editorials to key ballot questions and relevant library holdings.
Fellow LJer Norman Oder brought it to my attention, and even though the library is struggling financially, it’s produced one of the finer pages I’ve seen in my ongoing survey of public libraries’ election-education initiatives: easily accessible, simply organized and straightforwardly designed, seriously informative, and with a winning catch phrase: "Smart Voting Begins at the Library." Point being, it doesn’t take a lot of resources to better inform voters.
A roundup of some of our more recent election-related coverage:
- 9/15/07 editorial: LJ Publisher Ron Shank challenged libraries to make 2008 "the year of election education" by arming patrons with knowledge they could take to the polls with them.
- 12/24/07 follow-up, Pt I: I surveyed public libraries nationwide on the extent of their election-education efforts and documented some best practices.
- 2/4/08 follow-up, Pt II: I again surveyed public libraries, this time just those in the Super Tuesday states, to check for any changes in momentum.
- 3/15/08 "Blatant Berry" *UPCOMING*: LJ Editor-at-Large John N. Berry III, a long-time proponent of election education, spins the tables entirely (as is his way), holding candidates accountable for failing to take a stand on issues affecting libraries.
- Oct follow-up, Pt III *UPCOMING*: With matters now dangerously down to the wire, I check in for a final time on public libraries’ election-education efforts.
If your library is planning any significant measures to educate voters between now and November—via programming or special displays; by holding meetings, lectures, or mock elections; through the creation of web pages, videos, brochures; or anything else at all—email me at email@example.com. Your efforts could help inspire other libraries in the next election!