County Library Holding ‘Choose Civility’ Campaign

SNOW HILL – Following the success of last year’s campaign, the Worcester County Library will kick off a months-long initiative focused on civility.

Beginning this month, the Worcester County Library will launch a “Choose Civility” campaign to promote kindness, respect and civil discourse in the community. First presented by Howard County Public Library in 2007, the Choose Civility movement has since spread nationwide.

Library Director Jennifer Ranck said the Worcester County Library introduced the civility campaign last year.

“We had a great response and the staff really liked it,” she said. “We were fortunate enough to receive another grant to continue this initiative.”

This year, the library will use funding provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Maryland State Library to offer “Choose Civility Passports,” which include designs for children and adults.

“It gives people a way to practice civility in their everyday life …,” Ranck said. “For a child, it might be to read to another child or to hold the door open for someone. For an adult, it might be to donate toiletries to a food bank or donate pet food to a local animal shelter.”

Ranck said the goal of the program, and the passports, is to get people in the daily habit of practicing civility.

“You will often hear that civility is something that is lacking in our society,” she said. “We are hoping this initiative helps reverse that trend. We think that civility leads to happiness and a better quality of life.”

The Choose Civility campaign will run through May and will conclude with a prize drawing, which is expected to raise participation in the program.

Special events are planned throughout the months of March, April and May and will include community discussions, book discussions based on P.M. Forni’s “Choosing Civility,” mindfulness with yoga series, and storytimes for children and families.

A Ben Franklin living history presentation will also take place on April 23 at 2 p.m. at the Berlin branch library. Franklin himself started what he called “a club for mutual improvement” and inspired the group to examine 13 core virtues to improve their own lives and positively impact society.

“We have a multitude of different programs during this campaign,” Ranck said. “We hope everyone finds something that speaks to them.”

Officials said library patrons can pick up a passport at any branch.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.