ECW Weekender: Visit Your Local Library (And Set Some Goals)

Do you ever get to the end of the year and feel enthusiastically ready to make goals for the next 365 days?

For our last weekender post of 2019, we thought it would be fun to share something different – some ideas for goal setting and giving back to your local community. If you’re already involved in programs or projects involving Civil War education in your city or town, we’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Many of us began our journeys and interests in Civil War history with a book in our hand – maybe one borrowed from the local library. These community resources and reading programs are often looking for enthusiastic history buffs to help with projects or start initiatives. Make friends with the librarians and event coordinators, and here are a few ideas of ways to bring Civil War history to the libraries.

  • Offer to display a collection of Civil War artifacts.
  • Consider starting a history book club.
  • Volunteer to give a presentation (if public speaking is one of your passions). Living history presentations can be especially popular.
  • Donate duplicate or unneeded Civil War history books to expand that history section or support the “Friends of Library” bookstores/programs.

Christmas cookies – a nice way to say “thanks” or make new friends.

Haven’t visited the library in awhile? We get it… (We start building our own libraries and stay cozy there.) A plate of holiday goodies can go a long way to brighten a librarian or archivist’s weekend or Christmas Eve. It’s a simple way to say “thanks” or open a conversation about interests in history and the possibilities of helping with programs in the coming year.

We know many of our readers are involved with Civil War Round Tables and other history organizations, and we applaud these groups for discussing and sharing about the past. However, libraries and library sponsored programs can often be an untapped resource for reaching a new audience with history facts. Don’t overlook the local history angles for displays or presentations; those are often very popular and well-received.

There’s a common theme in many discussions about history. “How do we get more people interested and learning?” Sometimes, possibilities are literally just down the street. So…this weekend (or sometime in the near future) take a trip to the library. Check out the Civil War history section (973 in the Dewey Decimal System). Say “hi” to the library staff. Start thinking about ways to get involved and meet a need to bring more history to your own community.

It’s the season of giving! And there are wonderful ways to give-back, support the local community, and foster interest in Civil War history. Let’s get creative as we think about opportunities for 2019…

Don’t forget to share your experiences or ideas in the comments! We’d love to hear about your successes, inspiration, or goals.

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