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CivicCLP: Local, State and National Civic Resources

This guide provides resources to learn more about civic and community engagement through the Library's programs, services and materials. CivicCLP's objective is to connect the community with resources and information that can lead to actionable steps, as

Elevating Civic Literacy in PA

 

The downward trend on civic literacy in the US has become downright alarming. Last year, the University of Pennsylvania released a study showing only 47% of American adults can name all three branches of government. Earlier this month, data released by the United States Education Department showed that eighth-grader test scores in U.S. history and civics fell to the lowest levels on record last year. Businesses are concerned that too many young people lack a basic understanding of the Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, and the responsibilities of being a citizen.

Speakers:

  • Jim Gerlach, Former PA Congressman, CEO, Greater Reading Chamber Alliance
  • Angelique Hinton, Executive Director, PA Youth Vote
  • Arielle Jennings, Chief Partnerships & Sites Officer, Generation Citizen

Local

Find Your Legislator

A phone call from a constituent can, indeed, hold more weight than an email, and far outweighs a Facebook post or a tweet.


Writing Your Elected Representatives (ACLU)

Letters and faxes are an extremely effective way of communicating with your elected officials. Many legislators believe that a letter represents not only the position of the writer but also many other constituents who did not take the time to write. 


League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh

The League of Women Voters of Greater Pittsburgh, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy.


Western PA Regional Data Center

The Western Pennsylvania Regional Data Center provides a shared technological and legal infrastructure to support research, analysis, decision making, and community engagement. It was created in 2015 and is managed by the University of Pittsburgh Center for Urban and Social Research, in partnership with Allegheny County and the City of Pittsburgh. The Data Center would not be possible without the trust of our partners and support from the Richard King Mellon FoundationThe Heinz Endowments, and the University of Pittsburgh.


Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh

Sister Cities Association of Pittsburgh connects the Pittsburgh region with international partner cities to develop mutually beneficial relationships in the area of commerce, education and culture; and to work together to address and solve global challenges facing cities of tomorrow.


JCC’s Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement

The Center for Loving Kindness and Civic Engagement (CFLK) was established in August 2017 to strategically counter the demoralizing rhetoric of public discourse to strengthen the fabric of the community by amplifying the long-held values of ‘Love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘Do not stand idle while your neighbor bleeds’ as we redefine ‘neighbor’ from a geographic term to a moral concept.

State

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts

Pennsylvanians for Modern Courts (PMC) works to educate all Pennsylvanians about our courts and how to navigate them with confidence, provide resources to make that possible for all residents of the Commonwealth, and advocate for judicial reforms that promote inclusion and access to justice. We engage in a wide variety of initiatives to accomplish these goals and are constantly developing new programming based on community feedback.


Civics-Ed

Civics education undoubtedly plays a vital role in maintaining a strong democracy, as a basic understanding of how government works is required for citizens to become active participants in society. As one of the three branches of government, the judiciary reflects the core values of American democracy while acting as one of its essential pillars.

Recognizing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court created the Commission on Judicial Independence (PACJI) in 2005. Among their chief tasks, they are charged with fostering a greater public understanding about the role of the judiciary and explaining the essential need of an independent judiciary in America. As part of their efforts, the material below was created as a resource for teachers, students and the public to learn more about the work, role and structure of the state’s courts.


Find Your Representative

Find Your Senator 

National

The American Association for State and Local History (AASLH): Civic Education and Engagement Resource Kit  

As the public history community prepares to commemorate the 250th anniversary of American Independence in 2026, the theme of civics has been brought to the forefront of planning conversations. The Semiquincentennial presents an unequaled opportunity for renewing civic education and engagement by interrogating the history and legacy of the United States’ founding, from the successes and failures to the evolution of democracy and citizenship. 


Bill of Rights Institute

The Bill of Rights Institute develops educational resources on American history and government, provides professional development opportunities to teachers, and runs student programs and scholarship contests. The Institute's depth of knowledge is drawn from a full-time staff with more than 100 years of combined classroom experience, as well as from partners who are experts in their fields.


National Constitution Center

The National Constitution Center brings together people of all ages and perspectives, across America and around the world, to learn about, debate, and celebrate the greatest vision of human freedom in history, the U.S. Constitution.