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Understanding presidential impeachment: a reading list

November 13, 2019 Meaghan McGoldrick
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Wednesday marked the first day of the public hearings on whether to impeach President Donald Trump. 

Having trouble following? You’re not alone. But never fear — one Brooklyn librarian has compiled a comprehensive guide to understanding impeachment, complete with everything you might want to know about the process but were too afraid to ask.

“I made a list of books and actually a couple of podcasts to help library patrons better understand impeachment,” Corina Bardoff said Wednesday, as the first day of hearings kicked off.

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Bardoff, who has worked in the information hub of the Brooklyn Public Library’s Central Branch for four years, is the brains behind the organization’s impeachment reading list: “BKLYN Understanding Impeachment.”

The list, made up of 12 books and two seasons of a podcast, is “sort of a grab bag,” Bardoff told the Brooklyn Eagle.

“It’s really a bunch of different takes on impeachment,” she said. “There are general impeachment guides, like ‘The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Impeachment of the President and Impeachment: A Citizen’s Guide’, which helps you understand the legal argument. I also included a lot of historical texts for people like me who learn best through example.”

While Bardoff says there’s something for everyone, her favorite part of the guide is the podcast.

“I’m halfway through the second season of ‘Slow Burn’ and I’m loving it,” she told the Eagle. The show’s second season, hosted by Leon Neyfakh, takes a deep dive into the impeachment of former President Bill Clinton.

“It’s a really great historical perspective,” Bardoff said.

“I want people to know that they can always go to a librarian if they have questions, or if they want recommendations,” Bardoff went on, adding that the list is part of BPL’s Bklyn BookMatch program, which creates tailor-made lists for New Yorkers based on their interests (or questions about current events), made by librarians themselves, as opposed to an algorithm.

“This is an amazing thing they’ve done. [These lists] are all 100 percent personalized and customized,” BPL Spokesperson Fritzi Bodenheimer said Wednesday. “You can fill out an online form and say, ‘I really like books about mystery and history,’ and they would make a list completely catered to you. It’s totally algorithm-free and personalized.”

Librarians make the lists by hand, Bodenheimer said, similar to how Bardoff compiled the impeachment guide.

“I think this is a time where a lot of people have a lot of questions,” she said. “I think that, if we can use that as an opportunity to get more books into people’s hands, or podcasts into their ears, and help them in the process, then that’s great.”

Here’s the full reading list, as designed by Brooklyn Public Library:

Correction (2:30 p.m.): This article has been updated to reflect the correct spelling of Corina Bardoff’s name.


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