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Book lists…

I think it fascinating that government agencies create “reading lists” of recommended books. The Ninth Circuit Library of the United States Courts has a list called Understanding Freedom’s Heritage: How to Keep and Defend Liberty by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy(!). It is described as being prepared for young people and “includes some acknowledged classics and some idiosyncratic choices.”

The military is big on reading lists. There is the Chief of Staff of The Air Force Reading List and the Coast Guard Reading List, for example.

The State Department has its Suggested Reading List for Foreign Service Officers.

The newest list I have found is the U.S. Department of Labor’s list of Books that Shaped Work in America. There have been more than a dozen stories about this project in the media. The DOL describes the project this way:

In honor of its Centennial in 2013, DOL, in partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress, is developing a list of Books that Shaped Work in America. To get started, we’ve asked members of the DOL family, as well as many other esteemed individuals, for suggestions. That includes you! Suggest a book to add to the list.

Of course, this list is a work in progress, and essentially always will be, since — like America itself — work is constantly changing and evolving.

Read more about this initiative.

Each book has its own page at dol.gov, too.

Here is a short essay about the list by Kathy M. Newman, who is a professor of Literary and Cultural Studies at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh:

Don’t forget to make your own suggestions for the list!

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