| By Andrea Henderson |
In a New York Times opinion piece, sociologist Eric Klinenberg explored the critical place the public library plays in the social infrastructure of a society stating: “Libraries are the kinds of places where people with different backgrounds, passions, and interests can take part in a living democratic culture.”1 Gale is committed to delivering information that fuels every library in its efforts to bring this culture to life in its locality. We’ve recently created special collections to help inform library patrons as they construct their viewpoints on complex issues that are subject for discussion in homes, schools, workplaces, churches, and spaces across communities.
To start we asked ourselves, what are the issues we are talking about with our families and close friends in the more intimate surroundings of our homes? What are the topics that we are discussing in more public settings, perhaps at the gym or waiting to drop off or pick up our kids? What is occurring within our neighborhoods and towns that has us questioning our views on a topic? What events are transpiring across the country that are filling us with a sense of unease, distress, or worry? The answers to these questions established the basis for the topics in Gale’s Current Issues collection…. Alcohol abuse; Bullying and cyberbullying; Diversity; Environmental issues; Gender equality and relations; Guns; Homelessness; Immigration; Marijuana; Mental health; Prescription drugs and the opioid epidemic; Racism; Sexism; Sexual assault and abuse; Sexuality; Transgenderism; and more.
Given highly-searchable digital access to the most sought-after current events topics, patrons have the resources to critically explore issues through authoritative articles written by subject matter experts who approach a topic from varying angles. Take, for instance, the pieces of the collection that examine racism. Coverage in the collection includes Unlocking Current Issues: Race and the Law; The Black Lives Matter Movement; Police Brutality, Racial Profiling, and Discrimination in the Criminal Justice System; Racism in American Institutions: The Race Controversy in American Education; and Race and Ethnicity in Digital Culture: Our Changing Traditions, Impressions, and Expressions in a Mediated World. Traversing subjects from law to education, or the criminal justice system to digital culture, is a powerful tool in facilitating a deeper understanding of racism. Then, when those moments, big and small, fill us with questions, emotions, and reactions, we are better equipped to articulate our point of view and join the conversation with those around us.
Keep your collection current, when your patrons need it most. Request more information about the Current Issues collection or one of several other collections that support diverse learning desires.
1 “To Restore Civil Society, Start With the Library,” New York Times, 8 September 2018.