The Democracy Group

Best of 2023: Libraries as civic spaces | When the People Decide

Episode Summary

This week, we bring you an episode from the When the People Decide podcast, hosted by Jenna Spinelle.

Episode Notes

We continue our Best of 2023 episodes with an  episode from the When the People Decide podcast, hosted by Jenna Spinelle.

Librarians have spoken for years about “library faith,” the belief that public libraries are central to democracy because they contribute to an informed citizenry. Today, the idea is gaining even more traction, and even conservative crackdowns on what’s permitted in libraries reinforce the idea that they’re more than just “book warehouses” but centers for community engagement and representativeness. 

This week, hear from two librarians working to enhance the role libraries of libraries democracy and civic engagement. Shamichael Hallman explains how he brought his experience in tech and faith leadership to bear when he ran a branch of the Memphis Public Libraries, including bringing Civic Saturdays to his community, a program of Citizen University. And public policy advocate Nancy Kranich of Rutgers University shares the high hopes she has that libraries remain crucial institutions that allow us to engage with our government–and each other.

Learn more about the podcast at and follow us on Twitter @PeopleDecidePod.

Additional Information

When the People Decide Podcast

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