When was the last time you read a Civics textbook? Well, I bet I can make you read a chapter of one! Civics and You: Your Key to PA Local Government was published by the Pennsylvania Municipal League in 2014 as an eBook for 9th and 10th grade students studying American History. Chapter 10 of Civics and You is all about libraries! The chapter introduction explains, “As a citizen of Pennsylvania, it is important to understand our Commonwealth’s heritage, to prepare yourself as our future leaders, and to appreciate the vital role libraries have in our communities.”
Naturally, the Libraries chapter covers the history of libraries in Pennsylvania and Benjamin Franklin’s role in the free library movement. It goes on to includes an explanation of what a librarian is and that they often have Masters Degrees (what?!) with a statement that librarians are everywhere and, “even Google and Pixar have librarians!”
Although it is a brief chapter (as all of the chapters in this eBook are), it goes a long way to imparting the value of libraries in the internet age and gives students a great introduction to the tenets of PA Forward by outlining the five literacies. From the section titled Civic & Social Literacy at Your Library, “every day, across the Commonwealth, libraries power Pennsylvania’s progress by helping people of all ages build five types of literacy skills essential to functioning successfully as students, parents, employees, citizens, and consumers. These knowledge areas include basic, information, civic and social, health, and financial literacy.” The section goes on to explain that libraries help people not only build literacy and learning skills, but to understand technology and online resources, make informed health care decisions, make smarter financial decisions and engage and contribute to their community.
The emphasis on the importance of the PA Forward initiative is repeated throughout with statements like, “PA Forward is working to make sure libraries have the resources they need to help people meet the demands of life and reach their greatest potential.”
The chapter closes with ideas on how the students using this textbook can get involved through volunteering at their local library, joining a Teen Advisory Board, and/or generally being an advocate for libraries.
For more information about the Civics and You: Your Key to PA Local Government textbook visit here.
You can read Chapter 10: Libraries.