AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library announced it has been awarded a national grant based on the film “American Creed” to host community discussions on what it means to be “American” and what is the defining element of American identity.

Through a series of programs in March, participants will view films and hear from organizations that work with new Americans.

On March 7 at 6 p.m., the library will host a community conversation moderated by history professor Joseph Hall after watching “American Creed.” In the film, Pulitzer Prize-winning historian David M. Kennedy and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice come from different points of view to explore ideals of freedom, fairness and opportunity. Their inquiry frames the stories of citizen-activists, including baseball manager Joe Maddon, Marine Tegan Griffith, civic entrepreneur Eric Liu and others striving to realize their own visions of America’s promise.

On March 14 at 5 p.m., the library will show the film “Blue Collar and Buddha.” The dramatic documentary explores America’s most recent refugees, struggling against the mounting tension of a post-Vietnam era filled with guilt and anger.

A group of Laotian refugees have built a Buddhist temple on a small farmstead on the outskirts of a resolutely blue-collar town in Illinois. Their efforts to preserve their culture and religious heritage have been greeted by several terrorist attacks on their temple. By investigating opinions of townspeople and officials concerning the Laotians, the film becomes a barometer of America’s attitude toward refugees and immigrants. Featuring rich and colorful Buddhist ceremonies and Laotians working in a factory, the film is a moving portrait of the experience of today’s refugees and the drama that results when East meets West.

Following the film, a discussion will be held on assimilation and who gets to be called an American. In addition, participants will discuss how communities accept or do not accept changes in demographics.

On March 28 at 5:30 p.m., Catholic Charities Maine Refugee and Immigration Services will speak about its cultural orientation and mentoring programs and give firsthand accounts of what newcomers to America are asking about navigating daily life in the United States. Audience members can ask questions and share thoughts on what they see as the process of “Americanization.”

The programs are co-sponsored by the American Library Association and the National Endowment for the Humanities. American Creed Community Conversations center on the American Creed documentary by WTTW and Citizen Film with major underwriting from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

For more information, contact the library at 207-333-6640 or visit

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.