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Democracy and Libraries

YPRL Staff

25 February, 2021

“Democracy depends on an informed population. And where can people get all the information they need? —At the Library.” Elliot Shelkrot, (Media Talk videotape)

With online sources and digital communication becoming the norm, we are regularly faced with misinformation, fake news, and the reduction of important concepts, ideas, and global updates to single sentences (or 280 characters). Most of our news comes in short, sharp (often misleading) headlines or quick attention-grabbing bursts. In some instances, as with Facebook, news has been removed from our feeds entirely, making it more difficult for many of us to find out what’s happening in our country and around the world.

It can often be difficult to know where we stand, what our rights are, and what is expected of us as citizens and community members.

So, where can you go to get the facts?

Your public library, of course!

Here at YPRL, we have a great range of books, films, magazines, and websites to help you in your awareness and understanding of democracy.

Featured Democracy Resources

Democracy hacked: how technology is destabilising global politics by Martin Moore, 2019

Martin Moore explains how hackers interfere in our democratic processes and why they can do it. He outlines what we need to do to save democracy for the digital age. This is a story about active measures, data mining, the collapse of local news, trolling, surveillance, and you.

Growing pains: the future of democracy (and work) by Gwynne Dyer, 2018

Australian journalist, author, and historian Gwynne Dyer unpacks recent daily realities including Brexit, Trump becoming President, and substantial support for the extreme Right. She asks how these events came about, and what it means for our future.

Follow the leader: democracy and the rise of the strongman by Laura Tingle, 2018

In this essay, Laura Tingle argues that “democratic leaders build a consensus for change, rather than bludgeon the system or turn politics into a popularity contest”. She offers profiles on both Australian and international leaders and discusses the rise of the “strongman”, for whom power trumps all.

The third pillar: how markets and the state leave the community behind by Raghuram Rajan, 2020

This book offers insights into how the economy, society and the state interact, why things break down, and how we can find our way back to a more secure and stable plane.

Elections matter: ten federal elections that shaped Australia by Benjamin T. Jones, Frank Bongiorno and John Uhr (eds), 2018

In a world of fake news and populist politics, elections can seem like theatre. With growing rates of informal votes and a perceived narrowing of differences between the major parties, do Australian elections really matter? This book uses ten Australian examples proving that elections do matter, even when you think they don’t.

On us by Mark Scott, 2019

In a world where every opinion seems to matter equally, this book asks: how do we step outside our own echo chamber to understand others? What are we losing when we share fewer national moments? And why does more information mean less insight?


  • Citizen four: Edward Snowden changes history with his information leaks.
  • The highest court: Inside the High Court of Australia.


  • Athenian Democracy: Explore the Athenians' view of their great political experiment: democracy.
  • The Modern Political Tradition: Your opportunity to navigate the labyrinth of Western political and social theory.
  • Digital Disconnect - Fake News, Privacy and Democracy: This film trains its sights on the relationship between the internet and democracy.


  • Mother Jones
  • Time Magazine International
  • The Week
  • North & South
  • Reason


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