UW News

September 30, 2016

‘We the people’: All invited to UW Constitution read-aloud event Oct. 7

UW News

UW Libraries is inviting the public to Suzzallo Library at lunchtime on Oct. 7 to listen to — or participate in —  the annual reading of the United States Constitution.

An image of artist Junius Brutus Stearns' painting of George Washington signing the U.S. Constitution at the Constitutional Convention of 1787. The University of Washington will hold its annual Constitution read-aloud event on Oct. 7 at Suzzallo Library.

Artist Junius Brutus Stearns’ painting of George Washington signing the U.S. Constitution at the Constitutional Convention of 1787.Wikipedia

The event, the 11th annual UW Reads the Constitution, will be held from noon to 1:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 7, on Suzzallo’s third floor, outside the Reading Room.

All are invited to listen to the reading or to participate. Each reader who signs up will get a page to read aloud as the event starts, until there are 100 total readers. Participants can sign up online with UW NetID or Google login. Small copies of the Constitution will be available.

The event is associated with Constitution Day, which is on Sept. 17. But the university is not in session at that time, so UW Libraries holds it a little later so students can participate.

The mood of Constitution readings is nonpartisan, relaxed and informal — and no rehearsal is required, said organizer Cassandra Hartnett, UW Libraries government publications librarian.

“Not every passage of the Constitution is as fascinating as, say, the Preamble or the Second Amendment, but it is the range of voices that makes such an impression on me,” Hartnett said. “The different individuals evoke the collective minds who worked to draft, sign and amend the document. And we are the ones who can amend it in the future.”

She said she is inspired by the core group of readers who participate each year. “We may not know each other’s names, but we have a special connection. We all seem to agree that we hear something new each time — a clause or turn of phrase that never struck us before is suddenly illuminated.

“And every year we are all reminded that members of our military defend the Constitution with their lives.”


For more information, contact A.C. Petersen, UW Libraries communications officer, at 206-543-9389 or acpete@uw.edu.