Orwellian America

Orwellian America

Government transparency & personal privacy in the digital age

Big Brother is watching you. 

In January 2015, the DC Public Library, with funds granted by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, presented a 10-day series of events titled Orwellian America? Government Transparency and Personal Privacy in the Digital Age

The program launched Jan. 21, with a live-streamed marathon reading of George Orwell's classic dystopian novel 1984.

Other events included workshops on protecting individual's online privacy, film screenings, and a live-streamed program, "Privacy vs. Security: A Conversation," at the Newseum.

You can watch the Newseum program below.

A monthlong celebration

Neighborhood libraries across the city will be hosting programs led by community partners, book discussions, and film screenings as a part of this series of events. Click here for a full list of all Orwellian America events./p>

Special events | Downloadable posters | Resource guides | Special thanks

Special events

'The Internet's Own Boy' Special Preview Event

Black Cat
Jan. 18
8:30 p.m. 

D.C.’s iconic Black Cat nightclub will be hosting a free screening of The Internet’s Own Boy, the inspiring documentary about the life of Internet activist and political organizer Aaron Swartz

1984 Readathon

1984 Cover

Jan. 21
Join us in the Great Hall at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library for a live marathon reading of 1984 by George Orwell. Special guest readers and members of the public will be on hand to read aloud the entire text of the book, live and streaming at DC Public Library on YouTube.

The program begins at 10 a.m. and will run to approximately 9 p.m. (To apply to be a reader for the Readathon please fill out our application from.)

This reading of 1984 by George Orwell is made possible by permission of Bill Hamilton as the Literary Executor of the Estate of the Late Sonia Brownell Orwell.

Accessing Government Information Online

Sunlight Foundation

Jan. 22Jan. 27Jan. 29
6 p.m.

The Sunlight Foundation believes that in order to achieve an informed and engaged citizenry, the public must have the means and the knowledge to access the vast ocean of online government information.

Learn about the value of government transparency and how you can access government information online.

Internet Safety for Teens

Jan. 22
6 p.m.

Cybersecurity is a vital and ever-present concern. There is a need for people to be educated about keeping their data as safe as possible in the digital environment and one of the most vulnerable populations for losing control of personal information is teenagers.

The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu will lead a workshop to educate our teens about Internet safety.

United States of Secrets

Jan. 24
12 p.m.

Join Frontline producer Mike Wiser for a special screening and discussion of "United States of Secrets, Part 1." 

Learn about the evolution of "The Program": a top secret surveillance operation that began in the Bush administration and continued at the NSA until Edward Snowden's revelations in 2013. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Mr. Wiser.

Listen to the event below.

The Tor Browser & Web Privacy


Jan. 24
3 p.m.

Tor is free, open-source software that allows users to surf the web anonymously. The former Direction of Outreach from The Tor Project will walk you thru how to install and use the Tor Browser Bundle, as well as, other tips to help stay safe on the Internet.

Be sure to bring your laptop!

GPO - Keeping America Informed

Government Printing Office

POSTPONED - Due to expected inclement weather this program will be rescheduled at a later date.

Jan. 26
6 p.m.
Superintendent of Documents Mary Alice Baish, will discuss the ways in which the U.S. Government Publishing Office and the Federal Depository Library Program support Federal Government transparency by "Keeping America Informed."

The presentation will include a demonstration of GPO's discovery and access tools that aid the public in finding the Government information they need.

Conozca sus Derechos Como Cliente de Inmigración (Programa Bilingüe - Bilingual Program)

AyudaFTC Logo

Jan. 27
6 p.m.

Conozca sus Derechos Como Cliente de Inmigración: 
Información sobre cómo proteger su información personal, recibir el servicio legal de inmigración más adecuada, y de cómo evitar el fraude notarial.

Your Rights as an Immigration Client: 
Information on how to protect your personal information, receive the most appropriate immigration legal service, and avoid notario fraud.

Follow the Money

Center for Responsive Politics
Jan. 28
6 p.m.

The Center for Responsive Politics will highlight the topic of transparency in campaign finance. The nonpartisan nonprofit group will provide tools and training for voters to access information about who is funding their candidates and money's effect on government policy, with the goal of allowing voters to take a more active role in choosing candidates.

The Center for Responsive Politics will lead a workshop on the subject of access to election information at the DC Public Library.

Privacy vs. National Security

Newseum and Spy Museum

Jan. 31
2 p.m.

Join us at the Newseum's Knight Studio as representatives from the International Spy Museum and the Newseum Institute
 discuss issues of government transparency and national security, moderated by by the Newseum. 

Voice your opinion afterwards with our electronic voting system. See a TV studio in action as the conversation is live streamed to the DC Public Library, Newseum and Spy Museum websites.

Downloadable posters

Resource guides

Learn more about government transparency and personal privacy:

Special thanks

IMLSMajor funding for these programs has been provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services

Additional support has been provided by the DC Public Library Foundation and the Friends of the Chevy Chase Library.