Library launches '1619 Project' Web page
In May, Heights Libraries launched a new online resource featuring news, resources, and upcoming events related to the library’s ongoing 1619 Project discussion group.
The group formed in September 2019 in response to high public interest in reading and discussing the "1619 Project" essays published by The New York Times Magazine, which reflect on the history of race and slavery, and its impact on American life over the last 400 years.
"We couldn’t keep the magazine on the shelves,” said John Piche, adult services librarian. “Handing out dozens upon dozens of reading packets became a regular part of my job, as more and more of our patrons wanted to read and share these articles.”
In response, Piche organized a monthly program at the Lee Road branch to provide a platform for people to discuss the subjects addressed by the 1619 Project, following a curriculum designed by the nonprofit Pulitzer Center. The program has been immensely popular, attracting more than 350 participants over the course of its first five sessions.
“When the library closed its doors in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, I didn't want the 1619 Project discussion group to be put on hold,” Piche said. “While I knew it would be a while before we could meet in person once again, I was inspired by the popularity of the library’s virtual storytimes on social media and thought, why not create a virtual space for the discussion group?”
The Web page features the complete 1619 Project discussion packet, articles on related subjects, topical interviews with professors and academics, and a sign-up form to receive 1619 Project discussion group news via e-mail.
The 1619 Project Discussion Group page can be found on the library’s website at heightslibrary.org/services/1619-project/.
Isabelle Rew is the community engagement associate for the Cleveland Heights-University Heights Public Library System.