LABOR GETS LITERARY
Rather than remain a cold bureaucracy behind a marble edifice, federal agencies appear anxious to get cozy and cuddly with the public. Sort of. Case in point: the U.S. Department of Labor — which is 100 years old this year — is asking the citizenry to suggest titles of “books that shaped work in America” as kind of a national group project.
“Think of this effort as an online book club where people from all walks of life can share books that informed them about occupations and careers, molded their views about work and helped elevate the discourse about work, workers and workplaces,” declares Labor Secretary Thomas E. Perez.
He recommends “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee and Richard Scarry’s “Busy, Busy Town” among other titles. The agency has recruited notables to offer input as well. George Shultz, a former labor secretary himself, favors “Life on the Mississippi” by Mark Twain. Author Daniel Pink prefers “Working” by Studs Terkel and “The Narrative Life of Frederick Douglass,” written by the former slave and abolitionist himself.
It is an interesting exercise; other titles appearing on the ever-expanding roster include “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller; “The Book of Virtues” by William Bennett and the Federalist Papers, the 1788 classic authored by Alexander Hamilton, John Jay and James Madison.
Indeed, that trio knew how to work. Find the outreach at dol. com/books