In 2004, Senator Robert Byrd passed a constitutional amendment establishing Citizenship Day as Constitution Day, mandating all schools that receive federal funding must provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution every year during the month of September.
In compliance and personal appreciation for such an “incredible” document and law, CSU East Bay’s Linda Dobb, Associate Provost and University Librarian, along with some input from the office of the president, decided to celebrate Constitution Day by creating an exhibit to educate members of the university community during the month of September.
Since September 1787, the United States Constitution has been described as a “living document” in that it has endured through time and is flexible enough to adapt as American society grows and changes. When the Constitution was signed into law, a holiday known as Citizenship Day was established to recognize the adoption of the Constitution as well as American citizens.
“It [The Constitution] guarantees our freedoms and is the basis for the kind of society we enjoy in our country. Our lives would not be the same without it,” said Dobb. “I think it is important to appreciate the genius that went into establishing America as a place where we can live with free debate and guarantees that exist nowhere else on earth.”
The exhibit, which is located on the second floor of the University Library, includes pieces such as the federalist papers, copies of the constitution, quill pens with phrases from the constitution on them, as well as one of only 500 copies of the special edition of the constitution printed by Arion Press in 1987. The book is printed on fine parchment paper hand-made from calfskin with hand-drawn, illuminated initials of the delegates who signed the constitution.
“The library purchased the Arion Press book in 1989 to make it available in the library archives for scholarship assignments and research papers,” said Jared Mariconi, library services specialist and evening supervisor for the library’s access services department.
Mariconi, who has been a part of CSUEB’s celebration of Constitution Day for the past two years, says the exhibit highlights the resources in an interesting way and students and staff have said the exhibit is “visually attractive.”
The exhibit also features a 10 question self-quiz on the constitution, with questions ranging from who the oldest signer of the constitution was, to which branch of governmenthas the right to establish a post office, declare war and coin money?”
“Last year we had some students take the quiz and come to the reference desk and see if they knew the right answers,” said Dobb.
Constitution Day has become a way for CSUEB to show its creativity as well as its historical knowledge of one of America’s influential documents.
This entry was published in The Pioneer Online on Thursday, September 27th, 2012 at 5:31 pm.