Libraries

Let's Talk About It:

Making Sense of the American Civil War reading and discussion series

Photo of civil war uniform items with the text Let's Talk About It

Western Illinois University Libraries and the Department of History will host a free five-part reading and discussion series called "Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War." University Libraries is one of 65 libraries nationwide receiving grants to host the series developed by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

"We are delighted to have been chosen to host this unique series that will allow patrons a chance to discuss the legacy of the Civil War with fellow community members," said Phyllis Self, Dean of University Libraries.

Group discussion events will be held once a month at the library on the following works:

  • "March" by Geraldine Brooks (Penguin, 2006)
  • "Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam" by James McPherson (Oxford University Press, 2002)
  • "America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on Their 150th Anniversaries," an anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography, and short stories, edited by national project scholar Edward L. Ayers and co-published by NEH and ALA.

University Libraries received multiple copies of each book, and anyone with a valid driver's license can come in to the Access Services Desk at the Malpass Library to check them out. In an effort to ensure access to as many patrons as possible, most copies have been placed on 7 day reserve. If you would like a copy for a longer period of time, you may inquire at the desk.

Dr. Timothy Roberts, Assistant Professor with the Department of History will lead a discussion of the book at each session. "McDonough County residents have passion for their Civil War history, and I look forward to having a lively and open discussion of the reading materials," said Dr. Roberts.

In addition to the discussions, Western Illinois Museum is serving as our community partner, and will be hosting a couple of supplemental events to coincide with the book discussion. "This is a wonderful opportunity to collaborate with the University, to create a well-rounded series for our community," according to Sue Scott, Curator of Western Illinois Museum.

A LibGuide has been created for the Let’s Talk About It discussion. It contains a summary of each reading, potential discussion questions, and additional readings and online resources relative to the American Civil War anniversary. The LibGuide can be found at http://wiu.libguides.com/content.php?pid=285493&search_terms=civil+war

Below is the schedule of events:

Thursday, November 17th
Dr. Tim Roberts discusses President Lincoln's Gettysburg Address
Location: Western Illinois Museum at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, December 8th
Imagining War: Featured Reading will be Geraldine Brooks’ March.
Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Room 180 at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, January 19th
Choosing Sides: Featured reading will be America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries, Part Two.
Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Garden Lounge at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, February 9th
Making Sense of Shiloh: Featured reading will be America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries, Part Three.
Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Garden Lounge at 7:00 p.m.
Saturday, February 11th
Home Front: Life During the Civil War Opening Reception Exhibit on view through May 5, 2011
Location: Western Illinois Museum at 1:00pm
Saturday, February 25th
Katie Benson presents, “Fifty Miles to Slave Country: Slavery in Missouri and Why It Matters."
Location: Western Illinois Museum from 1 - 4 p.m.
Thursday, March 1st
The Shape of War Featured reading will be James M. McPherson's Crossroad of Freedom: Antietam.
Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Garden Lounge at 7:00 p.m.
Thursday, April 5th
War and Freedom Featured reading will be America's War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries, Part Five.
Location: Leslie F. Malpass Library, Garden Lounge at 7:00 p.m.

For additional information, please contact Tammy Sayles, Marketing and Outreach Librarian at (309) 298-3298 or via e-mail at tj-sayles@wiu.edu.