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Libraries Organizing Emergent Democracy in September

This is a cool example of message development from the people. It also presents an opportunity to move some really important agendas and open meaningful discussions about the war, energy policy, terror and the US response to 9-11.

On September 11, 2004, citizens across the U.S. will come together at their local libraries to discuss ideas that matter to all of us. Through talks, debates, roundtables, and performances, citizens will share ideas about democracy, citizenship, and patriotism. What better way to spend September 11th, recently designated "Patriot Day," than by participating collectively, thinking creatively, and becoming a part of the well-informed voice of the American citizenry?

Public libraries provide all citizens open and free access to information. Almost all communities in the US have at least one library. There are over 16,000 public libraries in the US, and that's not including university libraries, K-12 libraries, and church libraries. In other words, libraries constitute an impressive national infrastructure. Moreover, 96% of public libraries have computer technology that can serve to connect events across the nation, thereby constituting a national and distributed media infrastructure. In this way, the September Project will foster a national conversation with, for, and by the people.

The September Project has three goals:

1) To coordinate with all libraries -- big and small, urban and rural -- to host free and public events on September 11;

2) To work with all forms of media -- mainstream and alternative; corporate and independent; print, radio, film, and digital -- to foster and sustain public discourse about issues that matter;

3) To foster an annual tradition for citizens around the world to recognize and give meaning to September 11th.

The aim of The September Project is to create a day of engagement, a day of community, a day of democracy.

So if you were really a network-organizer and you were looking for a way to tap into a new network to discuss your issue you could:

1. Develop talking points, fact sheets and organizing materials for the day. Hand these materials out on the way into the library to influence the discussion.

2. Send all of your members and best spokes people to the library. (Free meetup!)

3. Promote the event at nontraditional organizing moments. (Who feels funny about announcing a talking session in a neutral place like a library). Invite the media to the event. Work with the media after the event so they focus on t he right issues. Use this gathering as a time to listen, talk discuss and connect.

4. Have a follow up strategy ready to roll and organize outside the library. Organize people to vote and work the polls.