From 1951 to 1955, the American Library Association’s (ALA) national reading and discussion program, the American Heritage Project, facilitated community conversations about democracy across public libraries in the United States. In partnership between the ALA and the Ford Foundation’s Fund for Adult Education, the American Heritage Project was born from decades of emerging adult education programs across the United States that existed inside and outside of public libraries. The American Heritage Project is significant because it developed a platform of discussion groups that demonstrated the library’s newly established commitment to defending intellectual freedom through adult education.

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