The September Project

The September Project

The Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library at Gustavus Adolphus College is joining over 600 libraries in over 30 countries in providing a place for public discussions about issues related to citizenship and democracy. This year, we're planning several events that will span the Fall semester. We hope you can join us for some stimulating conversations. All events are free and open to the public.

The Project

Chronicle article


Sept. 12

Sept. 16

Sept. 20

Nov. 17

Jan. 25

other projects

Reading in Common: The Kite Runner

Constitution Day

Banned Books Week

Face to Face

hurricane relief

First Book

Network for Good

Wednesday, January 25th - 7 p.m. - library, 1st floor
Wilma Relief Group Presentation
Come hear from the students who applied anthropology and social responsibility through community service work as they joined in hurricane relief, clean-up, and the rebuilding effort in Key West, Florida.


November 17th, 7 pm - Interpretive Center
Jane Kirtley, Silha Professor of Media Ethics and Law at the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Minnesota, will be at Gustavus Adolphus College on Thursday, November 17th to give a public lecture, "Shooting the Messenger, or Shooting Ourselves in the Foot? Challenges to a Free and Independent Press" at 7:00 p.m. in the Interpretive Center.

Kirtley is a much-cited expert on ethical issues facing the news media and will address the effect the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act and other laws and practices are having on the flow of information to the public. This event, sponsored by the Lecture Series Committee and the Library, is part of The September Project, a grassroots effort involving nearly 500 libraries in over 20 countries and all 50 states to provide a public forum for discussions about freedom, citizenship, and democracy.

Selected Publications (Gustavus access only)

"Paying the Piper" American Journalism Review, Aug/Sep 2005

"Not So Privileged" American Journalism Review, Feb/Mar 2005

"Stop Reading Over My Shoulder" American Journalism Review, June 2002

more links

Bill of Rights Defense Committee

First Amendment Center

Media Ethics Bibliography - from Poynter Online

Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press

Reporters Sans Frontiers

more links...

September 20th, 4 pm, library 1st floor
Sustaining Democracy Through Conflict Resolution
In an informal exchange, Roisin McLaughlin, Director of HECUA's Northern Ireland program Democracy and Social Change, will will explore ways in which democracy can be nourished through conflict resolution.

Hurricane Katrina Teach-In

September 16th, 9 a.m. - 3:30 p.m., Alumni Hall
Hurricane Katrina Teach-In
Gather with the Gustavus community to discuss the some of the many questions that all of us have been asking about the hurricane and its terrible and tragic after-effects. This event has been organized with the support of the Office of the President, the Office of the Chaplains, and the Center for Vocational Reflection. Streaming audio of these talks is now available online.


  • 9:00 Karen Larson (anthropology / interdisciplinary studies) "Katrina Renders America Unto Itself." 
  • 9:15 Mark Bjelland (geography), “Natural Hazards and the Big Easy”
  • 9:30 Kate Wittenstein (history) “The Federal Government, Race, and Katrina”
  • 10:00-10:30 Chapel break
  • 10:30 Russell Shapiro (geology) “Natural Hazard, not Disaster: The Meaning of Hurricanes
  • 10:45 Jeff Jeremiason (environmental studies) “Did Global Warming Contribute to Katrina?”
  • 11:00 Bob Douglas (geography) “Geography of New Orleans: Why the French Got it Right”
  • 11:30 Chris Gilbert (political science) “The Politics of FEMA”
  • 11:45 Casey Elledge (religion) “Natural Disasters and Apocalypticism”
  • 12:00 Andy Vaughn (religion) “The Role of the Church in Presenting Hope"
  • 12:30 Mary Gaebler (religion) “Compassion Alone Is Not Enough”
  • 12:45 Jill Locke (political science) “Race, Poverty, and the Hurricane”
  • 1:00 John Lammert (biology) “Don’t Drink the Water”
  • 1:30 Ben Laabs (geology) “What Happened to the Wetlands?”
  • 1:45 Deborah Goodwin (religion) “Christianity and Faith Based Politics
  • 2:00 Auzannette Harrell
  • 2:30 Lisa Heldke (philosophy) “Food and Agriculture”
  • 2:45 Terry Morrow (communication studies) “Federalism: What We Can Expect from the Federal Government
  • 3:00 Alisa Rosenthal (political science) “Left Behind: Evacuation, Poverty, and the Hurricane”

Printable (.pdf) schedule


Geospatial One Stop Hurricane Katrina Resources (from Firstgov)

Global Warming / Climate Change Collection (National Academies Press)

Gone with the Water: Louisiana's Bayou is in Big Trouble (National Geographic 2004)

Hurricanes Growing Fiercer With Global Warming (MIT, June 2005)

Librarians Index to the Internet on Katrina

Reporting Katrina (

The Storm (PBS - Frontline)

Washing Away: Special Report (Times-Picayune, 2002)

September 12th, 7 pm, library 1st floor
Perspectives on Civil Liberties in the Post-9/11 World
The world has changed in ways that challenge the balance between Constitutional protections and national security. A panel of faculty will explore that tension from a variety of disciplinary perspectives. Greg Kaster (History) will provide a historical overview of terrorism and civil liberties in the US. Alisa Rosenthal (Political Science) will explore the effects of the PATRIOT Act on US citizens and non-citizens. Karen Larson (Interdisciplinary Studies) will provide a cultural reflection on the concept of privacy. And Barbara Fister (Library) will talk about why librarians oppose Section 215 of the PATRIOT Act.

Links of Interest

Congressional Research Reports (collected by the Federation of American Scientists)

Keep America Safe and Free (American Civil Liberties Union)

Preserving Life and Liberty (US Department of Justice)

Special Coverage: War on Terror (FindLaw)

USA PATRIOT Act (Electronic Frontier Foundation)

USA PATRIOT Act and Libraries (American Library Association)

USA PATRIOT Act Text (US Government Printing Office; .pdf format)

Reading in Common Program

This year's Reading in Common book is Khaled Hosseini's novel, The Kite Runner. Set in the U.S. and the author's native Afghanistan, the novel is primarily about the friendship between two Afghan boys, the betrayal that divides them, and the narrator's return to the country to repay a debt. The links below provide some context for the novel's setting.

Author's Website

An Afghan Story (Interview on Fresh Air - NPR)

Afghanistan (Human Rights Watch)

Afghanistan: A Country Study (Library of Congress)

Afghanistan and the US (University of California, Berkeley)

The Massacre in Mazar-I-Sharif (Human Rights Watch)

Rebuilding Afghanistan (US State Department)

Return to Afghanistan (UN HCR)

The Taliban (Wikipedia)

Other Common Reading Programs

Last updated 1/06