The DeKalb Public Library is joining a 21st-century community-building initiative inspired by Benjamin Franklin’s “club for mutual improvement,” launched more than 200 years ago.
Beginning in October, the library will host, in conjunction with Northern Illinois University’s P20 Center, Ben Franklin Circles. A teen-only group will meet on the first Wednesday of each month at 4 p.m. beginning Oct. 4, and an all-ages group will meet on the third Wednesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. beginning Oct. 18.
Ben Franklin Circles gather people in conversation about shared values and common goals. Participants discuss 13 civic virtues championed by Ben Franklin, qualities such as justice, humility, moderation and order, as a lens into self-improvement and civic engagement.
There are more than 70 Ben Franklin Circles running around the country in public libraries, community centers, cultural institutions and individual homes. The Circles initiative was started by the nonprofit cultural and community center 92nd Street Y, the Hoover Institution at Stanford University and Citizen University.
“Ben Franklin Circles offer people a chance to discuss their vital concerns and aspirations with fellow citizens,” William Damon, a professor at Stanford University and Senior Fellow at the Hoover Institution, said in a news release.
“Research has shown that people from all walks of life, young and old alike, can benefit from opportunities to talk face-to-face about meaningful issues with others from their communities, and such opportunities have become all too rare at this time in our society.”
Ben Franklin Circles are dedicated to exploring the 13 virtues identified by Franklin: Temperance, silence, order, resolution, frugality, industry, sincerity, justice, moderation, cleanliness, tranquility, chastity and humility. The group will engage in conversations on what each of these virtues means today on a personal and societal level. In October the group will discuss temperance, of which Franklin’s definition is, “Eat not to dullness and drink not to elevation.”
This program is free and open to all ages. No registration is required. Teenagers are welcome to come to both or either discussion group.
For information, contact Samantha at firstname.lastname@example.org or 815-756-9568, ext. 1701.