ICfL staff members have had their eyes out for relevant stories, tools, and tricks so you don’t have to. Topics and resources for this month include historical dates in science and the United States, entrepreneurship for adults, films that celebrate America, programming ideas, and lifelong learning sources. We hope you find these resources useful and inspiring. Enjoy! 


U.S. History

Historical Scientific Happenings

Programming/ Display Ideas

  • Let’s Talk About It (LTAI) – will relaunch in October with two new themes, more than 40 new books, and several updates! For those who are not familiar with LTAI, it is a scholar-led book discussion program hosted locally by public libraries. The ICfL provides logistical support, scholar coordination, and book sets. The program is made available through a partnership with the Idaho Humanities Council, which provides the bulk of funding. We’ve incorporated a bunch of new books across a variety of innovative and updated themes designed to attract a fresh and broader audience, while also allowing longtime LTAI fans to expand their horizons. We have diversified our reading selections to include a variety of voices and titles such as short stories, poetry, essays, genre fiction, and even a couple of graphic novels. If you have any questions about how the program works or how to participate, please contact Amelia Valasek at amelia.valasek@libraries.idaho.gov of 208.639.4138.
  • Libraries as Launchpads Initiative from Creative Startups – offer straining programs for librarians interested in supporting entrepreneurs and small business in their communities.
  • Tiki Torches – Isabelle and Kim at Community Library Network’s Pinehurst Library recently hosted this program using twine and recycled glass bottles


Films That Celebrate America:

1776 (1972) A musical retelling of the American Revolution’s political struggle in the Second Continental Congress to declare independence from Great Britain. Stream: Google Play, iTunes Store, Microsoft Store, Prime Video, Vudu. 

Amend: The Fight for America (2021) This six-part Netflix original docuseries guides viewers through the chronology of the 14th Amendment—which outlines the rights of citizens under “the equal protection of the law”—and how it has affected everything that makes America what it is today. Stream: Netflix.

American Family (2002) This first drama series featuring a Latino cast ever to air on broadcast television tells the story of Jess Gonzales, the patriarch of a family in East Los Angeles just trying to live the American dream. DVD available from Amazon.

Asian Americans (2020) Delivers a bold, fresh perspective on a history that matters today, more than ever. Told through intimate personal stories, the series will cast a new lens on U.S. history and the ongoing role that Asian Americans have played. Stream: iTunes, PBS.org.

Country Music (2020) Explore the history of country music—from its roots in ballads, hymns, and the blues to its mainstream popularity—and meet the unforgettable characters and storytellers who made it “America’s Music.” Directed by Ken Burns. Stream: PBS.org, Prime Video.

Dances with Wolves (1990) Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military. Avatar is basically the same story, only the red people are blue. Based on the book by Michael Blake. Netflix, Prime Video. 

Flower Drum Song (1961) The Rodgers and Hammerstein musical that explores what it means to be an American in the “pursuit of happy times.” Based on the book by C.Y. Lee. Stream: Broadway HD, Pluto TV, Prime Video.

Hamilton (2020) The filmed version of the original Broadway smash hit Hamilton combines the best elements of live theater, film, and streaming in an astounding blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B, and Broadway. Presenting the tale of American founding father Alexander Hamilton, this revolutionary moment in theater is the story of America then, told by America now. 2004 biography Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow. Stream: Disney+. 

Harriet (2019) The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. Stream: Cinemax, Prime Video. 

Hidden Figures (2016) The story of a team of female African-American mathematicians who played a vital role at NASA during the early years of the U.S. space program. Based on Margaret Lee Shetterly’s book that finally revealed the story of these unsung heroines of American history. Stream: FXNOW, Prime Video.

The Jewish Americans (2008) Acclaimed filmmaker David Grubin traces 350 years of Jewish American history, from the arrival of the first Jews in 1654 up to the present day. Focusing on the tension between identity and assimilation, this film tells a quintessentially American story, which other minority groups will find surprisingly familiar. DVD available at Amazon.

A League of Their Own (1992) is a fictionalized account of the real-life All-American Girls Professional Baseball League (AAGPBL). And remember, there’s no crying in baseball! Stream: Prime Video, STARZ.

Lincoln (2012) Based loosely on Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 biography Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln, this story of the final four months of Lincoln’s life focuses on his efforts in January 1865 to abolish slavery and involuntary servitude by having the Thirteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution passed by the United States House of Representatives. Stream: HBO, Hulu, Prime Video. 

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) Because the more things change, the more they stay the same. Stream: HBO Max, Prime Video.

The Music Man (1962) Professional con man Harold Hill offers to solve the problems of each town he visits by forming a boys’ marching band. The thing is: Professor Hill knows nothing about music and one town’s librarian knows how to find things out. Stream: Prime Video. 

National Treasure (2004) Benjamin Franklin Gates has been searching his whole life for a fabulous treasure hidden by our nation’s founding fathers. To protect it from thieves, he must decipher multiple clues outlined by a map on the back of the Declaration of Independence, which he must first steal before beginning the search. Stream: Disney+, Prime Video. 

Navajo Code Talkers of World War II (2018) During World War II, a group of Native American Marines devised an unbreakable code that helped the United States maintain the upper hand in its battles against Japan. Filmed on location at key locales in Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Guam, and Saipan, this gripping documentary features first-person accounts from six original Navajo Code Talkers who helped change the course of U.S. history with their extraordinary service. 70 minutes, 1 DVD. Available from PBS.

Pollyanna (1960) Pollyanna is an orphan who brings sunshine into the lives of everyone she meets. But her aunt doesn’t appreciate her effervescent niece, and it isn’t until she almost loses Pollyanna that the aunt realizes the true power of love and lightheartedness. Based on the book by Eleanor H. Porter, this is quintessential Disney Americana! Stream: Prime Video.

The Right Stuff (1983) The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program. Based on the book by Tom Wolfe. Stream: Prime Video, Tubi. 

The Roosevelts: An Intimate History (2014) A documentary that weaves together the stories of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American history. Stream: Google Play, iTunes, Microsoft Store, PBS, Prime Video, Vudu, YouTube. 

Stonewall Uprising (2020) In the early morning hours of June 28, 1969, police raided the Stonewall Inn, a popular gay bar in the Greenwich Village section of New York City. That night the street erupted into violent protests and street demonstrations that lasted for the next three days. The Stonewall riots marked a major turning point in the modern gay civil rights movement in the United States and around the world. Now streaming free of charge on PBS 

There are many more films that celebrate America. You can browse some of the titles at PBS.