Ridgefield Library chosen for ‘Founding Era’ public programming grant

The Ridgefield Library has announced that it has been awarded the Revisiting the Founding Era Grant to implement public programming and community conversations that explore America’s founding and its enduring themes.

“The library is honored to be one of only a hundred libraries nationwide, and one of only two in Connecticut, to receive this grant,” said Brenda McKinley, Ridgefield Library director.

As part of the grant, the library will receive copies of a reader containing scholarly essays on selected historical documents from the Gilder Lehrman Collection, $1,000 to help implement programs, and additional digital resources, training, and support from the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the American Library Association.

These resources will allow Ridgefield Library, along with its program partners, Keeler Tavern Museum and History Center, Ridgefield Historical Society, Drum Hill Chapter of the DAR, Books on the Common, Ridgefield League of Women Voters and the Connecticut Project for the Constitution, to launch a program series on the Founding Era.

The series includes a panel discussion and community conversation, moderated by Todd Brewster, journalist and professor at Mt. Holyoke College, on Sunday, Jan. 27, at 2 p.m. at Keeler Tavern Museum. The panel will feature a NYU law professor, Nadine Strossen; Ridgefield Teacher of the Year, Jennifer DeJulio; Connecticut Attorney General Will Tong and a Western Connecticut State University history professor, Leslie Lindenauer, who will discuss key documents from the founding era and how they relate to our world today. There will be time for audience engagement and question and answers.

On Sunday, Feb. 10, at 3 p.m., at the library, author and Yale legal scholar Akhil Amar will bring to life the characters from the Constitutional Convention of 1787. A living history program for young people about slavery, featuring Cheyney McKnight, is slated for March, and other programs are in the works, including a talk by art historian Michael Norris about George Washington in Art on Sunday, Feb. 24, at 2 p.m. The library and its partners plan to continue the themes raised in Revisiting the Founding Era with an ongoing series entitled First Principles.

Revisiting the Founding Era is a three-year national initiative of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, presented in partnership with the American Library Association and the National Constitution Center, with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. The grant provides 100 public libraries across the country the opportunity to use historical documents to spark public conversations about the Founding Era’s enduring ideas and themes and how they continue to influence lives today.

For more information, visit foundingera.org. To register or find out more about the program, visit ridgefieldlibrary.org or call 203-438-2282.