Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Partners with the Art of Democracy to Foster Public Engagement, Amplify Local Perspectives on National Issues and Encourage Voting

Pittsburgh, PA  –   – 

CivicCLP, a civic engagement initiative of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, in partnership with the Art of Democracy, will host two opportunities in October 2020 for informed and inclusive virtual public deliberations on the U.S. Economy, a key issue facing the country this election year.

Using issue guides and other resources created for the National Issues Forum With the People initiative, CivicCLP will host online forums on the following dates and times:

Let’s Talk About… How Should We Rebuild Our Economy?

Virtual seating is limited and registration is required. Participants are asked to pick one virtual session to attend.

  • Option 1: Wednesday, October 21 | 6:00 – 7:30 pm
    Register here
  • Option 2: Saturday, October 24 | 10:00 – 11:30 am
    Register here

At the conclusion of each online forum, participates will complete a survey capturing their views on the topic of the forum. Survey results from these local conversations will be added to a developing national database of informed public opinion resulting from deliberative engagement events being hosted in communities and on college campuses throughout the United States as part of the National Issues Forums With the People initiative.

CivicCLP is a three-year, grant-funded initiative which aims to provide the community with a greater understanding of the importance of the First Amendment in civic life through enhanced Library programs, services and resources. For this initiative, CivicCLP will partner with The Art of Democracy, a Pittsburgh civic engagement consultancy focused on engaging difference as a resource for civic innovation.

According to Jessica Bayless, Civic & Social Information Services Lead Librarian at Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, “This partnership will focus on inclusion. We are committed to tapping into existing networks that will help us uncover and reveal a wide and diverse range of perspectives on these difficult issues. Providing people from different backgrounds with the opportunity to engage neighbors they may not often hear from or listen to, we hope to engage local people in ways that spur them towards further engagement in the future—voting in the upcoming election, yes, but also ongoing engagement and deliberation through CivicCLP.”

The Art of Democracy will facilitate local engagement and make sure that local voices are integrated with a national initiative for deliberative civic engagement spearheaded by the National Issues Forum: With the People. As Tim Dawson, founder and co-principal of the Art of Democracy explains, “In a democracy, the voice of the people should guide the work of policy makers. Public deliberation provides an opportunity for people to ‘think out loud and together’, to learn from one another and to gain a richer understanding of the problems and possibilities we have as a community. When our opinions are informed by expert information and by the lived experience of our diverse neighbors, the guidance we give policymakers is more likely to address our problems and take advantage of our opportunities in equitable ways.”




About Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh - To Engage our Community in Literacy and Learning

Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is supporting individual achievement and strengthening the power of community. Through the community’s investment, the Library is enhancing the lives of people in the greater Pittsburgh region with dynamic and diverse resources such as creative learning programs for children and teens, job and career assistance for our community's workforce, and free computer and Internet access for all. Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh builds community, enables learning, provides access and values people.

The Art of Democracy

The Art of Democracy (AOD) engages difference as a resource for civic innovation. Working in close collaboration with grassroots and community-based organizations, nonprofit institutions, public officials, public agencies, and public media, we design civic engagement initiatives that tap into a community’s deep and diverse wells of practical knowledge and lived experience. Guided by the principles of human-centered design and deliberative democracy--inclusion, reciprocity, and legitimacy--AOD collaborations can incorporate a range of creative strategies to amplify the voices of a community’s diverse members so that community problem-solving benefits from insights enabled by diverse experiences and multiple sources wisdom.