Democracy Talks at the Library

In January 2017, the WFPL launched Democracy Talks, a series of events designed to illuminate the democratic process and create space for conversation. Our expert speakers introduce new perspectives and provide much-needed context for complex ideas. We hope that attendees leave each talk empowered to further engage with these ideas, be it in dialogue, action, or reflection.

Nearly 500 people have attended 17 Democracy Talks programs on topics ranging from immigration to housing to climate change. Some of the presentations have a local focus, while others are national or international in scope. Several have been enhanced by a partnership with Watertown Community Conversations, with skilled facilitators fostering civil discourse around the topic at hand.

We’re proud to announce two Democracy Talks events taking place this fall:

  • On Tuesday, September 17, we welcome two speakers from the Metric Geometry & Gerrymandering Group (MGGG) for Democracy Talks: Beyond the “Eyeball Test” for Political Gerrymandering. The MGGG is a team of mathematicians, data scientists, and geographers who believe that gerrymandering of all kinds is a fundamental threat to our democracy. In this program, our speakers will discuss the applications of computing and geometry that MGGG has developed to detect and combat gerrymandering across the United States, with a particular focus on local redistricting in Massachusetts.
Massachusetts congressional districts from


  • On Tuesday, November 19, we’ll introduce a new format to the series with our first Democracy Talks Book Discussion. We’ll be talking about Jill Lepore’s This America: The Case for the Nation, a brief (160-page) history of nationalism and “manifesto for a better nation.” If you’re interested, you can pick up a copy of the book at the library starting in mid-September, read it ahead of time, and bring your questions and thoughts to the group for discussion.

This America Jill.jpg

We hope to see you at one or both of these upcoming Democracy Talks programs!

– Brita, WFPL Digital Services Librarian

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