Exploring Citizenship Day: Programs, Books & Films

By Adriana Blancarte-Hayward, Manager, Outreach Services
September 14, 2017
53rd Street Library

Constitution Day and Citizenship Day is observed each year on September 17 to commemorate the signing of the Constitution on September 17, 1787, and to “recognize all who, by coming of age or by naturalization, have become citizens.”

Here at the Library, we welcome you as you are.   We welcome people with diverse cultural backgrounds and celebrate the rich multicultural diversity that builds New York City.

Please see below for a short selection of programs, books, and films to reflect on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship, what it means to be a citizen.

PROGRAMS: For those immigrants who are on their path to becoming American Citizens, each branch Library has a New Americans Corner where you can find information and resources related to citizenship and other immigration-related topics. We also have programs and services that can help you achieve this goal such as our NYCitizenship Program and English classes for Speakers of Other Languages.

Name of event

Branch located



Citizen Talk Club: Discourse Among Informed Citizens Assures Civil Society.

Spuyten Duyvil Library


Saturday, September 16

Citizenship and Immigration Presentation with USCIS

Mosholu Library

2:00 PM

Saturday, September 16

U.S. Citizenship Study Workshop

53rd Street


Saturday, September 16

NYCitizenship Information Session


4:30 PM

Wednesday, September 20

Citizenship and Immigration Presentation with USCIS

West Farms Library

5:00 PM

Thursday, September 21

NYCitizenship Information Session

Bronx Library Center

3:30 PM

Friday, September 22

U.S. Citizenship Study Workshop

Hamilton Grange Library


Wednesday, September 27

US Citizenship Test Study Group

Wakefield Library


Monday, September 20, 27

Citizenship Test Preparation English Class for INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED ENGLISH SPEAKERS

St. Agnes Library

2:30 PM

Thursday, September 21, 28

Citizenship Test Preparation English Class for INTERMEDIATE/ADVANCED ENGLISH SPEAKERS

St. Agnes Library

1:30 PM

Tuesday, September 19, 26,


BOOKS: We have books and media available in many languages in our World Language Collections.  Here are some books on accessible history writing exploring America’s founding principles to make you happy you joined this grand experiment (Thanks to Readers Services Team):

Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville

One of the most authoritative, reflective set of observations about American institutions and the American character ever written. (Written by a Frenchman)

Travels With Charley by John Steinbeck

Author John Steinbeck was 58 when he set out to rediscover the country he had been writing about for so many years. With his elderly French poodle, Charley, he embarked on a quest across America, from the northernmost tip of Maine to California's Monterey Peninsula.

Leaves of Grass by Walt Whitman

A poetry collection celebrating the American experience.

Common Sense by Thomas Paine

Paine's political pamphlet that called for America to declare independence from Great Britain.

This Land is Our Land by Linda Osbourne

Explores the way government policy and popular responses to immigrant groups have evolved throughout U.S. history, from 1800 to today. 

Hamilton: Original Broadway Cast Recording

What most native-born US citizens know about American History.


* You can Celebrate Citizenship Day (September 17) and learn about the American civic experience with screenings of the four-part PBS documentary series Constitution USA at Mid-Manhattan Library at 42nd Street, please see attached flyer.

“In a meager apartment on the outskirts of New York City lives a quiet, old man who was once President of an African country. Former law professor and Supreme Court justice David Kpormakpor served as Interim President of Liberia between 1994-95, during its disastrous civil war. He now lives alone, on welfare, among thousands of Liberian refugees, many of whom question why he did not simply take the money and run when he had the chance. In an unforgettable scene that explores his elusive personality, Kpormakpor assists his home health aide, Fanta Fofana, as she studies for her upcoming citizenship exam. The endearing Fanta is a widowed refugee from Sierra Leone who is looking to bring her three children to America.”

Yearning to leave behind his life of misfortune in the Middle East, Ibrahim Jarrah wins the U.S Green Card Lottery for a chance to become an American citizen. He lands in New York City the day before 9/11 and the events of the September terrorist attacks forever shape the struggles he faces on his journey to capture the American dream.

“Sometimes we must unlock the pain of the past to ensure a more hopeful future. Passages chronicles the personal odyssey of filmmaker Gabriela Bohm before the birth of her child as she journeys to understand who she is and where she came from. From Hungary to Romania to Israel and finally to Argentina, Gabriela investigates and learns truths that allow her to bridge the gap between being a daughter of Holocaust survivors and her new life as a mother and American citizen”

“14: Dred Scott, Wong Kim Ark & Vanessa Lopez explores the recurring question about who has the right to be an American citizen. 14 examines the citizenship clause of the 14th Amendment through compelling personal stories and expertly-told history. Under the Fourteenth Amendment, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside.” The story is told through the lives of three ordinary and extraordinary American families who changed history by their courageous challenges to the powerful status quo - Dred and Harriet Scott, Wong Kim Ark and Rosario and Vanessa Lopez.”