The Albert Lea Public Library serves patrons from the entire community and it will serve as a “clearinghouse” for coordinating the initiative. The library staff will provide in-kind support for projects, communications management, program development, and fundraising.


If you are interested in being a part of this process consider becoming a sponsor. Or, you can participate as an individual.

Online Commitment Form

For more information about how you can participate, contact Peggy Havener Director of the Albert Lea Public Library by email or phone 377-4355.


Choose Civility began in Howard County, Maryland when Dr. P.M. Forni, author of “Choosing Civility: the 25 Rules of Considerate Conduct”, appeared as the keynote speaker at Howard County Library System’s Professional Development Day in 2006. The themes of the book resonated so greatly that staff from Howard County Library System met with community leaders to envision a community-wide initiative. The Albert Lea Public Library wanted to duplicate this collaboration in our community as a way of encouraging the citizens of Freeborn County to choose respect, empathy, and consideration at every opportunity when interacting with others both in the work place and in their personal lives. Choosing civility is simply about adopting positive attitudes as the foundation on which to build a stronger community. Building is construction and working together is community; one of the goals of “Choose Civility – The Power of Words – FREEBORN COUNTY” is to build a stronger, welcoming community.

Howard County Library System has graciously given us support, material and PR tools to develop “Choose Civility, the Power of Words – Freeborn County, MN” as a tool to encourage everyone in our community to form the habit of treating one another with respect, empathy, and consideration.  In a world where conversations are routinely conducted using impersonal formats such as emails or texting we are losing the ability to verbally communicate on a personal level; civility is simply about common courtesy. It is amazing how  wishing someone “good morning”  improves their day; almost as much as it improves yours. Words have the power to destroy or inspire; it’s not only about choosing the right ones, it’s about using them in a positive manner. By making civility a hallmark of our community we are creating an effective marketing tool for business and tourism. There is a long list of the benefits of civility to health, workplaces, schools and economic development but in the end it is about the quality of life for the citizens of our community.


Our Steering Committee is composed of committed individuals representing a variety of organizations within our community (e.g., government, education, nonprofit, business). They are providing active leadership in planning and organizing community events and building a sustainable community initiative. They have a passion for the concept and are willing to use their time, energy and connections to insure that all organizations in the community are included in “Choose Civility, the Power of Words – Freeborn County, MN.”