by Melissa Correll,
Instructional Services Librarian, Lycoming College
Currently reading The Tommyknockers
by Stephen King
In recognition of Constitution Day, which falls on September 17th, all educational institutions that receive federal funds must provide educational programming about the Constitution. The federal government does not regulate the type of program that must be provided; that is up to the institution. Approaches vary widely, ranging from lectures in Constitutional history and law to skits and reenactments.
Last year, Lycoming College’s Snowden Library collaborated with a professor teaching a course in Judicial Politics and Behavior to celebrate the Constitution’s birthday with a cake cutting ceremony. Students visited the library, signed an oversized replica of the Constitution, and had a piece of cake. We invited all students, faculty, and staff to join in the cake cutting ceremony, and we had about 30 people in attendance.
This year, we will collaborate with that same professor, but this time he will bring his students in Constitutional Law. After the cake cutting ceremony, we will provide an exercise in Constitutional law for the students. Using a 2014 Slate article as a conversation starter, we will discuss the issue of whether or not the mandated recognition of Constitution Day is, in fact, constitutional.
In addition to being a good fit with the curriculum, this is a positive experience for this class’s first visit to the library. At the same time, we are promoting civic and social literacy. I look forward to hearing their interpretations of both the history of the holiday and its possible conflict with certain constitutional amendments.