We talk to our neighbors, friends, and/or family about current events and other happenings on social media, in phone conversations, or by text on an almost daily basis. Beginning this March, connect with your community and explore a program series based on thought-provoking, current events at the Somerset County Library System of New Jersey (SCLSNJ). The series will delve into a range of topics that aim to foster conversations in a polite and respectful setting.
“Presenting programs that help community members connect, explore, share, and discover meet the County’s need for creating meaningful interactions and connections,” said Marcela Dunham, system program coordinator.
During the program series, Library customers will be exposed to different viewpoints and perspectives presented by experts in their fields. These community conversations will include foreign policy, climate change, and more.
“Climate change is happening and its impacts are being felt in New Jersey,” said Professor Anthony Broccoli, co-director of Rutgers Climate Institute. “The more we know about this issue, the better prepared we will be to meet the challenges of its impacts.”
Professor Doug Simon of Drew University will discuss the concept of universal human rights to kick-off the series.
“The difficult task of protecting and advancing human rights around the world is particularly important for us as citizens of the United States,” said Simon. “Why? Because one of the pillars of virtually all of our founding documents is that of human rights, a fact that I think we too often forget.”
In addition to current events, the program series will also touch on other topics including genealogy and the Holocaust. The Holocaust will be explored as a mini documentary series in April at the Manville branch.
“Ultimately, the purpose of the documentary [series] is to encourage people to work toward a more just and humane society using mediation, dialogue, and conflict resolution,” said Peppy Margolis, director of community programs at Raritan Valley Community College.
Connect with your community and explore the issues:
The Clash Between Human Rights and National Interests
Professor Douglas Simon from Drew University discusses the concept of universal human rights and assesses the impact of current global political movements on the human rights movement.
- March 7, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Bridgewater branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1400908.
Climate Change Impacts on New Jersey
Professor Anthony Broccoli, co-director of Rutgers Climate Institute, will explore the range of impacts due to climate change on NJ including rising sea levels and impacts on agriculture.
- March 12, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Mary Jacobs branch, located at 64 Washington Street in Rocky Hill. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1143002.
Global Power Shifts: New Directions for American Foreign Policy
The international system is undergoing a power shift. Prof. Doug Simon, Drew University, examines China’s growing economic power and Russia’s attempts to regain geographic and political influence.
- April 2, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Warren Twp. branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1386521.
Holocaust Remembrance Film Series and Discussion
A series of three locally-produced documentaries featuring history and survivors of the Holocaust, followed by discussion facilitated by Peppy Margolis, director of community programs at Raritan Valley Community College.
- At the Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville.
Think Before You Spit!: The Implications of Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing
Melanie Lenahan, Ph.D., from Raritan Valley Community College, will facilitate a discussion on the benefits and downsides of direct-to-consumer genetic testing, including: privacy, healthcare, and ancestry issues.
- April 29, 6:30-7:30 p.m. at the Manville branch, located at 100 South 10th Avenue in Manville. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1402650.
Earth’s Changing Climate: What’s Past is Prologue
Professor Anthony Broccoli, co-director of Rutgers Climate Institute, will discuss the nature of changes in climate throughout Earth’s history and their causes.
- May 4, 2-3 p.m. at the Bridgewater branch, located at 1 Vogt Drive in Bridgewater. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1396275.
What’s the 411 on Genealogical DNA Tests?
Former Rutgers genetics researcher Anthony May will discuss how to select the right DNA test, know the pros and cons, understand the results in the context of your family tree, and, maybe, make big family history discoveries.
- June 8, 11 a.m. – noon at the Warren Twp. branch, located at 42 Mountain Boulevard in Warren Twp. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1410657.
Close the Gates: Immigration Restriction in US Policy, Past, and Present
Explore the United States’ past and present immigrant and refugee policies with Carl Lindskoog, assistant professor of history at Raritan Valley Community College.
- June 27, 7-8:30 p.m. at the Hillsborough branch, located at 379 South Branch Road in Hillsborough. Register: sclsnj.libnet.info/event/1342712.
For more information visit: SCLSNJ.org.