Athens-Clarke County Library, Rankin Fund and Clarke County Schools partner for National Memorial for Peace and Justice bus tour, March 19

time to talk trip to national memorial for peace and justice Members of the public are invited to reserve their seats for a one-day bus tour to the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and Legacy Museum in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday, March 19.

The Athens-Clarke County Library has partnered with the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund and Clarke County School District to present this unique opportunity for local community residents to visit this thought-provoking memorial and museum in person. The trip will serve as fodder for a community dialogue as part of the Rankin Fund’s “It’s Time to Talk” series, which focuses on issues of race.

 “We are pleased to offer this opportunity to the Athens community as part of our trauma-informed work,” Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell said. “This trip is about understanding and community healing. We want to facilitate productive community dialogue through this shared experience.”

“The Memorial for Peace and Justice is an incredibly inspiring monument. It is our (United States) Holocaust Memorial.  Built by the Equal Justice Initiative, it brings home a critical piece of our history that has often gone unnoticed and unaddressed,” said Karen Sterk, chief executive officer of the Rankin Fund. “The Memorial and the connected Legacy Museum should be on everyone's list to see and experience.” 

"I think this trip will be a wonderful learning experience for all who attend, and I am especially excited that it is planned for a range of ages of Athens people who will get to participate. From students through seniors, this is a rare opportunity to visit the museum and get a real sense of such vitally important and often misunderstood recent American history,” said Bertis Downs, attorney and education advocate.

Tickets for the trip cost $25 each and include lunch. A chartered bus will leave from the library at 7:00 a.m. on Thursday, March 19, and return by 7:00 p.m. the same day. Attendees will tour both the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and the Legacy Museum: From Enslavement to Incarceration.

Clarke County School District eighth graders will have the opportunity to attend as part of a field trip experience. Students will be selected for the trip based on a voluntary assignment.

The memorial and museum opened to the public in April 2018 by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). According to EJI, the memorial is “the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.” The 11,000-square-foot museum is built on the site of a former warehouse where enslaved black people were imprisoned. “It uses unique technology to dramatize the enslavement of African Americans, the evolution of racial terror lynchings, legalized racial segregation and racial hierarchy in America,” according to EJI.

 Athens-Clarke County Library is the headquarters of the five-county Athens Regional Library System. The library system seeks to engage communities and exceed expectations by providing free access to books, online resources, classes and programming for all ages. The Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund’s mission is empowering women through education. The Fund provides scholarships and support for low income women over the age of 35 for postsecondary education.  Started with a bequest from Rankin's Georgia estate (first woman in Congress in 1917) and her desire to help mature unemployed women workers, the fund has now provided over 1,000 women with scholarships amounting to $3.1M across the United States. 


This trip is made possible through a Community Catalyst grant by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, with additional funding by Public Education Matters Georgia. Tickets for the trip may be purchased in person at Athens-Clarke County Library, 2025 Baxter Street, Athens. For more information, call the library at (706) 613-3650.


Athens-Clarke County Library and Clarke County School District partner for student library cards

kids readingThe Athens-Clarke County Library and Clarke County School District have partnered in a campaign to make it easier for Athens children and teens to get library cards as part of a student library card initiative this spring. The library and school district are working together to distribute library card applications – in English and Spanish – to each public school in Athens-Clarke County.  All elementary school students received library card applications in January.  Middle and high school students will receive applications this month.

“Your library card is one of the most important school supplies there is. The library provides free access to educational and enrichment resources for students of all ages, both in our physical buildings and online. These resources can greatly enhance a student’s academic career,” Athens Regional Library System Executive Director Valerie Bell said. “We understand that for many busy families, it can be a challenge to get to the library to apply for a card. That’s why we’re teaming up with the schools to make it simpler for Athens families.”

“When a student develops a love of reading, it helps foster a love of learning – an amazing gift we can give our children,” states Dr. Xernona Thomas, Clarke County School District’s interim superintendent. “We are thankful for the partnership with the Athens-Clarke County Library to provide library cards to all our students. This community partnership encourages students and families to expand their horizons through a variety of exciting events and activities.”

The students receive the library card applications from their homeroom teachers and then can return completed applications to the schools. Library staff will collect the applications from each school, process the applications and then deliver the new library cards to the schools where teachers will distribute them to the students later this spring. For students who already have library cards but may have fines associated with their accounts, the library will offer a one-time fine waiver.

“We believe in giving everyone equal opportunity to be successful in life, and giving young students access to the information and services that a library offers is critical to that goal. By providing a one-time fee waiver, the Board hopes to provide all Athens-Clarke County students the same initial access regardless of the financial resources available to them,” said Ian Thomas, chairman of the Athens-Clarke County Library Board of Trustees.

This student library card initiative is part of the library’s work associated with the Community Catalyst grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, which calls for the library to work with community partners and activists to address trauma.

PINES library cards can be used at libraries throughout Georgia to check out materials, including books, DVDs and even passes to museums and parks. Some services available on the library’s website, such as downloadable eBooks and magazines and certain databases require a library card for access.

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