New Booklet Brings Reflection Component to Service Activities

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Talking Service: Readings for Civic Reflection is a new booklet published by the Great Books Foundation designed to bring reflection to service-learning activities. Talking Service is a discussion companion for groups, courses, retreats and workshops engaged in service.

enable all Americans to serve

Talking Service: Readings for Civic Reflection (The Great Books Foundation, Fall 2008, $7.95) is a new booklet that prompts students and volunteers to ask: "Why do I serve?" Talking Service, published by the Great Books Foundation in conjunction with the Project on Civic Reflection and edited by Adam Davis and Elizabeth Lynn, promotes discussing and reflecting on service in order to bring meaning and context to these activities.

Adapted from The Civically Engaged Reader: A Diverse Collection of Short Provocative Readings on Civic Activity (The Great Books Foundation, 2006), Talking Service contains seven readings from classic and contemporary sources, as well as an introductory essay on service and reflection exercises and questions for discussions.

With the new president-elect, national service will be brought further to the forefront. According to the official website of the Barack Obama 2008 presidential campaign,, Obama will "enable all Americans to serve" and will "integrate service into learning." Such plans would only continue the recent upswing in volunteer activity. According to a recent study released by the Corporation for National and Community Service, 60.8 million Americans spent 8.1 billion hours volunteering in 2007. There were 1 million more volunteers in 2007 than in 2002.

But what does service mean for the millions who serve? What does it mean for the community? Talking Service aims to get at the heart of these issues through relevant selections such as A Bed for the Night, by Bertolt Brecht, A Gift of Love, by Martin Luther King Jr., and Earliest Impressions, by Jane Addams.

About the Great Books Foundation: The Great Books Foundation is a nonprofit educational organization founded in 1947 that publishes anthologies of classic and contemporary literature and promotes Shared Inquiryâ„¢, a Socratic, text-based discussion method.

About Adam Davis: Adam Davis directs Justice Talking, a reading and discussion series for AmeriCorps members. He holds a Ph.D. in social thought from the University of Chicago.

About Elizabeth Lynn: Elizabeth Lynn directs the Project on Civic Reflection at Valparaiso University. She holds a Ph.D. in religion and literature from the University of Chicago.

Lindsay Tigue
The Great Books Foundation
(312) 332-5870, ext. 259


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