Brown University News Bureau

The Brown University News Bureau

1997-1998 index

Distributed October 2, 1997
Contact: Tracie Sweeney

NEH awards $250,895 to library-based public policy discussion program

The Choices Library Program, a project of Brown University's Choice for the 21st Century Education Project, is one of six library or reading-based projects across the country selected to receive support from the National Endowment for the Humanities for the coming fiscal year. The grant will help the public policy discussion program continue in libraries in more than a dozen states.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. -- The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded $250,895 to Brown University's Choices for the 21st Century Education Project to continue the innovative Choices Library Program, a nationwide reading and discussion series designed to engage the American public in consideration of the nation's future.

The NEH award follows a rigorous, highly selective review process. For the current fiscal year, only six library or other reading-based projects across the nation will receive NEH support, according to Nancy E. Rogers, director of the NEH division of public programs.

The NEH called the Choices Library Program "outstanding," Rogers wrote in a congratulatory letter to Susan Graseck, director of Brown's Choices Education Project. One evaluating panelist remarked that participants in the library program would "gain a concrete sense of the responsibilities of civic participation." Another, Rogers noted, commented that the "content is impressive and unusual because it is as much about [the democratic] process as about the particular issue under discussion."

The Choices Library Program, begun in 1992, is a partnership of the Choices Education Project, state library systems and state humanities councils, and local public libraries and scholars The multisession reading and discussion series are held in public libraries and other community settings and focus on a central question: "Who are we as a nation, and how should we define our role in a changing world?" The program does not advocate any particular point of view on the question. Rather, it seeks to bring together citizens ranging from high school students to senior citizens in a non-partisan public space to deliberate about the direction in which the nation should head as the next century approaches.

Last year, the program ran in more than 90 libraries in eight states. With this continuing support from the NEH, it will run this year in 150 libraries in 13 states: Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Minnesota, Nebraska, North Carolina, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia and Wisconsin.

The Choices for the 21st Century Education Project

The Choices for the 21st Century Education Project is a program of the Thomas J. Watson Jr. Institute for International Studies at Brown University. Choices is a multifaceted educational program that seeks to engage the American public - student and adult - in consideration of international issues and strengthen the quality of public life in the United States. The Choices Education Project develops curricular materials and works with high school teachers nationwide. Today teachers in more than 4,200 schools are using Choices curricular materials in their classrooms with approximately 700,000 students annually. Choices public programs engage general audiences in deliberation on our changing international role and the implications for domestic policy, and increase public participation in the democratic process.