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Informal Forums Series

As part of its ongoing work with the National Issues Forums to provide opportunities for deliberative civic engagement, the Russell Library is pleased to announce a new series of informal community forums on public issues on selected Friday afternoons throughout this summer.

The main purpose of these Informal Forum Series is to give people with basic National Issues Forums moderating training a chance to hone their skills in a relaxed and supportive environment. These forums also will give participants a chance to get to know new issue guides prepared by the NIF such as the new guide for paying for healthcare. Finally, these forums are perfect for passionate fans of NIF forums who cannot get enough of deliberation.

The Informal Forum Series will take place in the Russell Library from 2:30-4:30 p.m. on the following Fridays:

June 13, 2008
What is the 21st Century Mission for Our Public Schools?
From the very start, Americans have held widely divergent views on issues related to public schools. Many of these have to do with the methods by which we achieve an educated society. How do we ensure that our schools are accessible to all children? By what means do we hold students accountable for learning and schools accountable for teaching them? What is the role of families in the education of their children? What is the responsibility of schools in addressing social issues that affect their students? What is the most efficient and fair way to fund public education?

Download the moderator’s guide for this issue

July 18, 2008
News Media and Society: How to Restore the Public Trust?

Good journalism is vitally important for a strong democracy, but Americans increasingly do not trust the news media. We must restore citizens’ trust in news reporting in order for our democracy to function well. This issue book suggests three approaches to repairing the relationship between the news media and the American people. Each approach offers different perspectives on what has damaged citizens’ trust. Each presents various ways to address those problems. The ideas and suggestions come from citizens and experts across the country.

Download the moderator’s guide for this issue

August 22, 2008
Pathways to Prosperity, Choosing a Future for Your Community

Rapid growth has transformed the South from the poorest region in the nation to the world’s third-largest economy in the span of a single lifetime. But even as many communities prosper, continued commercial and population growth raise troubling questions. What of those who are left behind? Does our enthusiasm for economic progress endanger a distinctive and valued way of life? How do we convert growth into prosperity? It is important to give serious thought to these questions while there are still choices to be made.

Download the issue guide

Volunteer to moderate!
If you have completed basic training for moderating NIF forums and would like to volunteer to moderate or co-moderate a forum at one of these sessions, please contact Jill Severn at 706-542-5766 or

Directions to the Russell Library
The Russell Library is located on North Campus of UGA in the sub basement of the main library building. We have our own entrance that is located on the West side of the Main Library building just below the Rusk Center Building. Parking is available in the North Campus Deck on South Jackson St. For more information about directions and parking visit

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