Shifting Landscapes March 7

Mason County District Library and Abondia Center begin to explore Truth & Politics in the public lecture series Shifting Landscapes on Monday March 7, with Clare Membiela presenting Upholding First Amendment Rights – Free Speech, Expression, and Access to Information at 7-8:30 pm at the Ludington Area Center for the Arts, and on Zoom.

Clare Membiela, Library Law Consultant, Library of Michigan, will discuss public libraries’ role in upholding the First Amendment day in and day out.

The series will open with an examination of the role of public libraries in supporting and upholding the First Amendment. Public libraries have existed in the colonial “New World” since the early 1710s. Libraries have defended the right of every person to read what they want without restriction. First amendment constitutionalists, including the Supreme Court, have upheld the role of public libraries to ensure freedom of speech and expression as well as freedom to learn. As the Library of Michigan itself states, freedom of speech is “not only about outward expression but also knowledge and expression consumed.” Recently libraries, even in Michigan, have been questioned about their commitment to “unbiased, non-partisan forums where all patrons should have the right to read what they wish without fear of retribution or censure.”

Other programs in Shifting Landscapes’ examination of Truth & Politics include on March 14 – What’s In an Ideology and What Are the Consequences?: Rethinking Masculinity, presented by Jessica Houser, professor of psychology, West Shore Community College. The final Truth & Politics event will take place March 21 – Communicating Across the Fence—or the Aisle, presented by Brian Harrison, visiting assistant professor of political science, Carleton College. In April, the Shifting Landscapes series focuses on Economics (Apr 4, 11, 18).

This 2021-2022 series is exploring six areas of our lives that have been reshaped during the Covid-19 epidemic and the many events that have occurred in the past 2 years. Truth and politics is the fifth topic in the Shifting Landscapes series.

In asking questions about the nature and purpose of politics, and freedom of expression, the Shifting Landscapes’ series seeks to address questions on people’s minds. It also hopes the information helps people get more from news sources, as well as professionals and others about social issues and news that matters to them.

Events are free, live or by Zoom. Tickets are not necessary but registration is helpful. To register: http://mcdl.pub/sl-register. To simply join the Zoom presentation, go to http://mcdl.pub/sl-zoom. The link will be live about 6:45 pm on the day of the presentation. For information check the Mason County District Library website: mcdlibrary.org or contact Thomas Trahey, Mason County District Library at ttrahey@mcdlibrary.org or Brooke Portmann, director of Abondia Center, at baportmann312@gmail.com

This project has been funded by grants from Michigan Council for Arts and Cultural Affairs and Michigan Humanities, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Lisa Dains

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