Library Plays Role in Voter Education

librarians holding "make your vote count" sign
November 6, 2018

Library assists in campus-wide efforts on voter education!

Voting is your voice, and it is one of few ways we, as a society, get to directly participate in something

With Election Day merely hours away the country is humming of candidate and political party conversations: news sources are a buzz with political topics, ads make their way through mail and social media, grassroots organizations reach out by text message to make sure voters know where to vote and how to get there, but as you head to the polls how do you know who and what you are voting for?  

This election year, as part of a campus-wide effort by Student Life, librarians at the Kathryn A. Martin Library,  Kim Pittman and Kayleen Jones, aimed to address the very question: how do you become an informed and confident voter?  The two hosted a hands-on workshop called “Make Your Vote Count” which invited the campus community to learn how to find information on candidates as well as learn how to find out what issues are on the ballot.

Pittman said that one of the reasons she and Jones enjoyed doing the workshops is “watching people walk through the process: the researching and evaluating of information,” and said “it shows that it does take time, but overall it really isn’t hard.” They also both noted that they enjoyed conducting the workshops because it helps people to “be more empowered, informed, and confident.”

Why is being an informed voter so important?  

“Voting is your voice, and it is one of few ways we, as a society, get to directly participate in something,” said Pittman. Jones also added that, “ we focus a lot on big races, but there are a lot of small local races that are important. Maybe you don’t really relate to a big candidate, instead you can be more involved in your local candidates and issues.”  By taking the time to investigate candidates and issues you can go to the poll with informed choices and can submit your ballot feeling confident about those choices.

What role do libraries play in voter education?  

Libraries are non-partisan and full of information and resources.  As Pittman stated, “We’re not here to tell you who to vote for, we are here to help you make an informed decision,” and that help extends far beyond Election Day. The information is out there and they can help you find it and sort through it.  The two have also hosted “What’s Happening? Evaluating news in a time of information overload” and hope to continue offering these and similar workshops.

For questions about voter education, contact Kim Pittman or Kayleen Jones