Franklin And Future Of Democracy Topic

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Library Director To Give Founders Day Talk At W&L

Michael Barsanti, the Edwin Wolf 2nd Director of the Library Company of Philadelphia, will be the featured speaker at Washington and Lee University’s virtual Founders Day/Omicron Delta Kappa (ODK) Convocation on Jan. 19 at 5 p.m.

The title of Barsanti’s talk is titled “Friendship, Franklin, and the Future of Democracy.” It will be available to watch online at

Barsanti is the 30th person to lead the Library Company of Philadelphia since its founding by Benjamin Franklin in 1731. The library’s mission is to foster scholarship and increase public understanding of American history before 1900 by preserving and interpreting the valuable materials in its care. The Library Company houses an extensive noncirculating collection of rare books, manuscripts, broadsides, ephemera, prints, photographs and artwork.

“The timing of Michael Barsanti’s virtual lecture about the important factors concerning democracy could not be more opportune,” said Elizabeth

Oliver, interim provost at W&L. “Having him speak on Founders Day allows us the opportunity to think more about the nature of our nation’s history and future.”

During his time as director, Barsanti has led a new strategic initiative to bring innovation to the practice of American history and to reimagine its place in the making of informed American citizens.

His career path has included work in education, arts and organizational management. Barsanti has worked at the Rosenbach Museum and Library, the Pew Center for Arts and Heritage, and the Free Library of Philadelphia Foundation. He also taught arts administration at Drexel University.

Founders Day is the formal convocation of Washington and Lee’s winter academic term, and a time at which Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society founded at W&L in 1914, annually inducts new members.

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