FDLP

Celebrating Constitution Day

Each September, Federal depository libraries across the nation celebrate Constitution Day with special events, library displays, and promotion via library websites and social media. Constitution Day is the perfect time to celebrate your library and promote the wonderful resources and services your library staff provides to the public.
Assembled here is a sampling of the many ways in which depository libraries have commemorated this important moment in U.S. history.

2017 Constitution Day Celebrations
  • At Indiana University of Pennsylvania’s Stapleton Library, Political Science Professor Dr. Gwen Torges and the College of Humanities and Social Sciences hosted a people’s reading of the Constitution on the library’s portico. The first 100 participants received a special “We the People at IUP” t-shirt, as well as a Pocket Constitution and a star-shaped cookie. IUP President Michael Driscoll began the event with a reading of the Preamble. They also hosted “A Casual Conversation with the Framers of the U. S. Constitution” where some of the Constitution’s authors discussed the challenges in drafting the Constitution and speculated about what the Founders would think of today’s politics.
  • The Library of Virginia hosted an information table in the lobby to spread the word about U.S. Government documents. They tweeted questions from the Civics Flash Cards and the Citizens’ Almanac and handed out Pocket Constitutions.
  • Michigan’s Delta College Library hosted a national traveling exhibit, “The Age of Progressive Reform: Creating Modern America, 1900 – 1917.” This panel exhibition explored the Progressive Era through letters, cartoons, pictures, and broadsides that highlight important aspects of the period. The library also passed out free copies of the U.S. Constitution to patrons.
  • The University of Texas, Rio Grande Valley’s University Library hosted an information table and presentation for patrons, created a display, as well as served cake and refreshments.
  • The University of Colorado, Colorado Springs’ Kraemer Family Library created a display table with FDLP publications, FDLP signage, and free Pocket Constitutions for patrons.
  • Montana State University, Billings’ Library hosted a celebration for patrons with refreshments and free Pocket Constitutions.
  • Abilene Christian University's Brown Library in Texas created a display to highlight both Constitution Day and Citizenship Day. They placed a deck of Civics Flash Cards on top of the display. They also put a QR code on the sign which when scanned lead to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services online practice test.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University’s VCU Libraries hosted a discussion on freedom of speech featuring a historian and political scientist.
  • The Brooklyn College Library in New York created a display in the library, passed out Pocket Constitutions and word search puzzles, and talked to students on the campus quad about U.S. Government information resources.
  • Bangor Public Library in Maine created an informative display for patrons.
  • Memphis Public Library in Tennessee developed displays in the History and Children’s departments as well as the lobby area within the Benjamin L. Hooks Central Library with the theme; “We the People.” Within the displays, they’ve included free FDLP promotional items including Ben bookmarks, Pocket Constitutions, the How a Bill Becomes a Law poster, and a Ben Word Search.
  • Northwestern Michigan College’s Osterlin Library hosted a panel of three lawyers, the police chief, and a professor discussing the Constitution and Freedom of Speech. They also offered cake and Pocket Constitutions.
  • Florida State University’s Robert Manning Strozier Library created an informative display for patrons, utilized the new 2017 Constitution Day poster from GPO, and offered free Pocket Constitutions.
  • Utah State University’s Merrill-Cazier Library celebrated Constitution Day with a week of events including exhibits, a photo booth, a Preamble Challenge, quizzes, crossword puzzles, and free Pocket Constitutions. They also created a Constitution Day Libguide.
  • Oakland Community College’s, King Library in Michigan created Constitution Day information tables with free FDLP promotional pencils, sticky note pads, FDLP folders, and Pocket Constitutions. The library created a book display featuring GPO’s Constitution Day poster, supplementary books, and Government documents. They also posted information about Constitution Day and other resource links about the United States Constitution on the OCC Libraries website.
  • The Dayton Metro Library in Ohio created a Constitution Day video and shared it on the library’s Facebook page.
  • The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse’s Murphy Library created a LibGuide for Constitution Day, as well as a display with free Pocket Constitutions, publications, pamphlets and articles, and other materials.
  • The Jackson District Library in Michigan created a display with free Pocket Constitutions, buttons, and other informational materials.
  • The University of Albany Libraries presented a table of promotional literature and an exhibit. Highlights of the event were the 150 Pocket Constitutions distributed, the word puzzle raffle of patriotic jelly beans, and the brief visit by “Little Ben” Franklin.
  • The Virginia State Law Library hosted a party for the law clerks and staff of the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Court of Appeals of Virginia. They gave away Pocket Constitutions (which were also used as table decoration), Ben bookmarks, and Ben word search printouts. They adapted the GPO Constitution Day poster to create an invitation for the event.
  • The Middendorf-Kredell Branch of the St. Charles City-County Library in Missouri celebrated with games, free handouts, displays, and an interactive Constitution from the Constitution Center.
  • The University of Texas at San Antonio Libraries partnered with UTSA Special Events Center and UTSA Student Government Association to distribute 1,500 free Pocket Constitutions and information pamphlets about Government documents at the Library and to host a voter registration table. They also created a LibGuide.
  • The University of New Hampshire’s Dimond Library celebrated Constitution Day with a week-long table display that included free Pocket Constitutions, the Ben’s Guide word search, Ben bookmarks, and other FDLP handouts. Library patrons and personnel were also invited to complete a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle of Preamble by Mike Wilkins (1987); progress toward completion was shared on the library’s social media.
  • Wichita State University Libraries created a Constitution Day and Citizenship Day display and associated LibGuide that includes pictures of the display, resources featured in the display case, and links to other resources.
  • Harford Community College in Maryland celebrated Constitution Day along with their 50th anniversary in the FDLP. They held numerous Constitution Day programs called “Scientist & Inventor,” with Living Historian David Fisher portraying Benjamin Franklin. They also created a LibGuide, a variety of displays, and shared cake, Pocket Constitutions, Constitution Day buttons, as well as various GPO resource flyers and promotional materials. GPO Director Davita Vance-Cooks attended the event and delivered congratulatory words to the library staff.
  • New Mexico State University Library created a display and handed out free Pocket Constitutions to students and staff.
  • Texas A&M University, Kingsville’s Jernigan Library created displays and an information table for students.
  • The University of Guam’s RFK Library created a wonderful and eye-catching display for patrons.
  • Marshall University’s Morrow Library created a wonderful display for patrons using a variety of historic and current Government publications.
  • At Southern Methodist University's Fondren Library, Julia Stewart, Government Information Librarian, armed with civics flash cards and red and blue Mustang cookies, looked for students who could answer Constitution questions correctly. Success! Stewart located many students ready to take a study break and demonstrate their knowledge of the U.S. Constitution.
2016 Constitution Day Celebrations 
  • The University of Guam Library presented a beautiful display for patrons that highlighted publications and resources from the Government documents collection.
  • Southern Oregon University’s Hannon Library presented a display, free Pocket Constitutions and GPO promotional items for patrons, and a Constitution quiz contest with a prize of a $50 Barnes & Noble gift card.
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library hosted a Constitution Day event that included a recorded debate with attendance of 80+ patrons and university news exposure.
  • California’s Fresno County Public Library hosted a citizenship swearing-in ceremony and presented a display with Pocket Constitutions for patrons.
  • The Harford Community College Library in Bel Air, Maryland partnered with their campus’ Office of Student Activities and focused on voting rights and voter registration. They had volunteers from the Harford County Board of Elections at tables both in the Library and in the Student Center. Digital Signs in the Library showcased a Constitution Day slide presentation, and a presentation on “Electing a President” was shown in the Library and the Student Center. Also, the Library created a Constitution Day LibGuide, passed out buttons, and there was also a Constitution Day event for kids.
  • Virginia Commonwealth University hosted a campus and community event with a presentation called, “Changing the Constitution: Learning from History to Make a Difference in the Future.” It was presented by the VCU Department of History Chair and Professor of Political Science, and over 50 people attended. Free Pocket Constitutions were also distributed.
  • Brandeis University in Massachusetts combined Constitution Day with a voter registration celebration. The library provided students with information on how to register in Massachusetts & their home states, applications to vote absentee ballots in their home state, a guide for those who wanted to think about their options, free printing of voting forms, stamps & envelopes, buttons, Pocket Constitutions, and cake.
  • The University of Kentucky held a variety of events, including a First Amendment Essay Contest; a talk on Supreme Court decisions on gender and sexuality; a presentation by Ambassador Anupam Ray, Consul General of India, on international perspectives of freedom of speech; a discussion on the First Amendment; voter registration; free Pocket Constitutions; and refreshments, just to name a few.
  • Missouri’s Jefferson College Library celebrated Constitution Day with a patriotic photo booth. Each participant cited their favorite amendment, got a Pocket Constitution, and then took a photo.
  • Montana’s McNickle Library at Salish Kootenai College celebrated Constitution Day with free Pocket Constitutions and fun, takeaway activities for patrons.
  • Montana State University-Northern’s Vande Bogart Library created a beautiful display in the library with relevant publications, Pocket Constitutions, and candy for patrons.
  • The University of Delaware Library presented a patriotic puzzle for patrons to work on, free Pocket Constitutions, and enlargements on display of all four pages of the Constitution.
  • The University of Georgia Law Library gave out Pocket Constitutions to those who answered trivia questions related to the Constitution and Georgia and showcased FDLP materials at a display table.
  • Louisiana State University Shreveport’s Noel Memorial Library celebrated Constitution Day with displays in the library and free Pocket Constitutions for students and patrons.
  • McKendree University’s Holman Library passed out handouts/promotional items from GPO, gave students Pocket Constitutions, hosted voter registration, and held a contest for a chance to take a selfie with their mascot Bogey or with Liberty, their eagle mascot for the day. Selfies submitted were entered to win one of six restaurant gift certificates.
  • The New York State Library passed out Pocket Constitutions to patrons and exhibited New York State’s handwritten 1788 copy of the U.S. Constitution. They also exhibited a few items from their Government documents collection, as well as a few 1787 newspapers that printed the text of the Constitution. View the press release.
  • Loyola University New Orleans’ Monroe Library gave Pocket Constitutions to a freshman first-year seminar class titled, “Investigating the Constitution.” They also offered a Constitution Day Research Guide.
  • Texas A&M Kingsville’s Jernigan Library created a display that combined Constitution Day with Hispanic Heritage Month.
  • Lamar University in Texas presented a program from National Park Service Park Ranger Josh Stringer, who guided a look at the NPS as an agent to protect our unique American story, heritage, and ideals set forth by America's founding documents.
  • The University of Iowa once again presented a reading of the Constitution by U.S. Army cadets/ROTC, free Pocket Constitutions, and a Constitution-themed latte at their campus coffee shop.
  • The Manchester City Library in New Hampshire created an eye-catching Constitution Day display with free Pocket Constitutions and FDLP promotional items from GPO for patrons.
  • Kansas’ Colby Community College showcased an activity table where patrons could do crossword puzzles or word-finds to win a prize, an informational table that included Constitutional handouts, and a talk from the County Commissioner and former Sheriff about the Constitution from current and historical perspectives.
  • The University of Louisville in Kentucky celebrated Constitution Day by passing out cupcakes to those who correctly answered questions about the Constitution. Additionally, posters of the Founding Fathers were located throughout Ekstrom Library.
  • The Washington State Law Library presented a display, along with free Pocket Constitutions and takeaway activities for patrons.
  • The Ohio Supreme Court Law Library featured a game for patrons about the Constitution’s amendments to try to win a Pocket Constitution. Patrons could also take a quiz to find out which Founding Father they are most like.
2014 Constitution Day Celebrations 
  • Ellender Memorial Library at Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana created a display in the library and set up a Constitution Day table in the school’s Student Union where staff were giving away goodie bags that contained: a Pocket Constitution, an FDLP pencil and notepad, a brochure on the Government information department in the library, and peppermints. USA bracelets and pens were also given away as the library staff informed students about Constitution Day.
  • The Indiana State Library prepared a display that featured a copy of the Constitution with Amendments, books and pamphlets from the Federal Government documents collection pertaining to the Constitution, and flags (Indiana and U.S.). They also held fun and educational activities during each day of Constitution Week.
  • The Folke Bernadotte Library at Gustavus Adolphus College in Saint Peter, Minnesota observed Constitution Day with a variety of activities and resources to promote the study of the Constitution. The library and the Dean of Students Office showcased a Constitution Day display near the entrance of library with free Pocket Constitutions available. Patrons were also able to test their Constitution IQs by taking a quiz, and all patrons received free treats for participating.
  • Snowden Library at Lycoming College in Williamsport, Pennsylvania invited students to sign an oversized copy of the Constitution. Visitors to the library also had the opportunity to view a display of books about the Constitution and pick up a copy of the document. Students in Judicial Politics and Behavior visited the library and served cake in celebration of the anniversary.
  • Chicago Public Library created a display for patrons to experience and passed out Constitution Day word search games.
  • McKendree University in Lebanon, Illinois passed out Constitution booklets to patrons that included the entire text of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Declaration of Independence along with interesting trivia and historical information. Patrons had the opportunity to win prizes and take part in a scavenger hunt, and ice cream treats were also offered. In support of their local chapter of the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution, the bell in the Bothwell Chapel on campus was rung for one full minute at 3:00 p.m. that day, as bells across the country were rung in unison in commemoration of the anniversary. On top of all that, Holman Library created a LibGuide and a display in the library.
  • University Libraries at Arizona State University created an informative LibGuide for patrons in honor of the anniversary.
  • The Mark and Helen Osterlin Library at Northwestern Michigan College celebrated their 50th anniversary in the FDLP in conjunction with Constitution Day. Pocket Constitutions were offered to patrons along with pencils and sticky notes with GPO’s Federal Digital System’s logo and U.S. flag temporary tattoos. The History Department presented on the historical event, and the library had readings of the Constitution as well.
  • Augusta University held community festivities such as: a Constitutional Quiz Bowl where students could win prizes by answering questions about the Constitution, a patriotic photo booth, and Pocket Constitution giveaways. There was also a Constitution reading by the Student Government Association. That program included singers who sang patriotic songs in between the sections of the Constitution. In addition, the Political Science Club set up a voter registration table. Finally, Democracy Plaza was set up as a public forum to answer Constitutional questions that affect Americans’ daily lives. Students were encouraged to express their opinion about Constitutional issues, such as "equal protection under the law," on whiteboards.
  • The Delta College Library in Grand Rapids, Michigan hosted a prestigious traveling exhibit from September 17 – October 31, 2014 entitled, "Lincoln: The Constitution and Civil War." Offering a fresh and innovative perspective on Lincoln that focused on his struggle to meet the political and constitutional challenges of the Civil War, the exhibition explored how Lincoln used the Constitution to confront three intertwined crises of the war—the secession of Southern states, slavery, and wartime civil liberties.
  • The University of Iowa presented a reading of the U.S. Constitution by the U.S. Army Cadets. Pocket Constitutions were also passed out at the Main Library and elsewhere on campus. University Libraries also made available an informative guide to Constitutional research sources. The coffee shop on campus, T-Spoons, offered a special latte for the occasion, the “Liberty Latte.”
  • The Neumann Library at the University of Houston-Clear Lake presented a bulletin board display on the Bill of Rights, a book display, and an annotated bibliography that was published in the library's blog. The University also conducted a ceremony unveiling new murals containing images (with text) of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
  • The Harford Community College Library in Bel Air, Maryland observed two historical events on September 17, 2014: the 227th signing of the U.S. Constitution and the 200th anniversary of our Star Spangled Banner. The Library created an informative Constitution LibGuide for their patrons. Free Pocket Constitutions and giveaways were available to all in the library where there were also Constitution Day showcase displays, the How a Bill Becomes a Law poster, the Constitution of the United States poster, and various Government documents on display. Cake was also shared to commemorate the occasion. The staff also created this wonderful promotional video and this fabulous educational video.
  • The Hilton M. Briggs Library at South Dakota State University partnered with the University's Political Science faculty and students to recognize Constitution Day. The library created displays and provided Pocket Constitutions. The Political Science Club led a parade in colonial costume to various buildings on campus including the library. Costumed club members distributed Pocket Constitutions and candy.
  • The Los Angeles County Law Library created an instructional and fun website with Constitutional facts and related games for display on the library's public computers and in a special display stand. Staff also gave away free copies of the U. S. Constitution and FDsys pencils.
  • The Morrow Library at Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia celebrated the occasion by putting up a display and by inviting the school paper reporter to write a story on this event.
  • The James C. Jernigan Library at Texas A&M University-Kingsville presented a table and Constitution Day display with a variety of information on the FDLP. A wide variety of Government documents were on display, including those about Hurricane Katrina, The Financial Crisis, the Deepwater Horizon, and the Vietnam War. Library staff also staffed the table and talked with patrons about FDLP resources and FDsys.
  • The University of Delaware Library created an incredibly detailed research guide on Constitution Day, with a little something for readers of every age.
Share Your Events with GPO

The staff at the U.S. Government Publishing Office always likes to hear about the creative ways your library celebrates Constitution Day. Share your event details and photos with us via askGPO. Under the “Ask a Question” tab, use the category, “Federal Depository Libraries” and the subcategory, “Marketing Strategies/Radio Spots.”

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