Thanks for visiting. We aren't actively blogging here anymore. Please visit us on our new site.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Finding Democracy

The Illinois Humanities Council recently sponsored a videomaking contest with the theme, "Looking For Democracy." Being the type of person who enjoys experimenting with video, and the type of person who passionately believes that libraries play an important role in helping all American citizens participate in democracy, I figured I'd give the contest a whirl.

Turns out, I was unprepared and in way over my head. Still, at best, a novice videographer, I struggled with how to express everything a public library does to get the average citizen in touch with democracy. Suddenly, my lack of a special effects department, my small but mighty Sony videocam and my utterly self-trained video production abilities seemed, gosh, pretty pathetic. Oh - and the video had to be less than 5 minutes, and you, dear PlainTalk reader, know how wordy I can be.

I did in fact make a video for the contest, and my coworkers gamely went along with it, and I knew the moment I submitted it that it was nowhere near good enough. Lesson learned, that one can't approach such a task casually and with the sense of irreverent goofiness I bring to my video projects for DPPL. Proverbial tail between my legs, I've been back to work on the blog, the Web site, all the other, somewhat less glamorous tasks I pursue on a daily basis - only to find out my coworkers had been the ones finding democracy after all.

For the last few months, we've been encouraging people to come the Library to vote. And, you heard us, particularly in the last week, October 1-7, 2008 - during that time 417 people registered to vote at the Library, with almost 300 registering on the last two days! Proves that just rolling up your sleeves and getting to work is often the fastest, most direct way to reach your goal, something we're pretty darn good at around here. I salute my colleagues for all their efforts during our voter registration drive, and leave you with some thoughts from our Head of Public Information, Heather Imhoff, in an email she addressed to the library staff:

As always, you guys really pulled together and pulled this off in the most efficient way possible! A special thanks to Susan and the entire circulation staff, who were already pros at the registration process and really showed us how it’s done!

Amongst those registering to vote for the very first time were new U.S. citizens from countries world, including India, Poland, Mexico, China, Algeria, Philippines, Bulgaria, Peru, Korea, Ukraine and Russia. On a personal level, I was surprised by how honored I felt sitting at that table registering so many new Americans to vote for the first time. I know about the struggles of those who’ve come before me, who have secured my right to vote, and yet until now, I really have taken that right and gift for granted. Participating in this process opened my eyes and I feel a little bit more American today because of it. I hope that all of you who participated took away something from the experience, as well.

Now that you've registered to vote, don't forget to take that democracy you've found and use it. Vote on Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Need guidance in making your decision? Check out our 2008 Election Guide.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please feel free to post your comments and thoughts. We love to hear from you.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.