Learning Series

The Friends of Eldredge Public Library sponsors a fall and spring learning series each year. It is a program of enlightening and entertaining courses open to the public at a suggested donation of $10 per course.  All net proceeds are used by the Friends of the EPL to support the Library.

Registration is required.   To register online and donate by credit card or Paypal, click here. If you prefer to donate by check and to either mail in or drop off your registration at the library, please click here to get the registration form.  

For further information contact the committee at learningseries@eldredgelibrary.org or call the library at 508 945 5170.  


Learning Series Spring 2022

January and February

The Art of Seeing

ONE SESSION: 10:00- 11:30 a.m. Wednesday, January 26

Location: Chatham Community Center

Photography is 90 percent seeing and 10 percent photographing. If you can’t see it, you can’t photograph it!  Excellent photography reveals an emotional attachment between photographer and subject matter. Passion is a powerful force!

In this class, “The Art of Seeing” will be the predominant focus. Pre-visualization, composition, understanding the relationship between light and the camera, versatility, color theory and a few certain technical aspects will be discussed. 

Christine Sanders is an award winning and widely published Chatham based photographer, specializing in landscape, wildlife, and lifestyle imagery.


Capitalism and Democracy

ONE SESSION: 10:00 -11:30 a.m. Wednesday, February 23

Location: Chatham Community Center

Join former State Senator and Cape Air Founder and Board Chair Dan Wolf as he discusses the complexities facing our democracy and the pressures facing our economic system. In this lecture and guided conversation, Dan will discuss innovations and strategies for building a progressive social enterprise.

Dan Wolf is an entrepreneur, aircraft pilot, and politician. In 1989, he founded the Cape Cod-based airline Cape Air which originally flew between Provincetown and Boston and has since expanded internationally. In 2010, he was elected to the Massachusetts Senate to represent the Cape and Islands district and served three terms.



Vincent Van Gogh:  Painter of Emotions

TWO SESSIONS: 10:00-11:30 a.m. Wednesdays, March 2 & 9

Location: Chatham Community Center

Throughout his life, Vincent Van Gogh was poor, often hungry and ill.   When he died in 1890 at the age of 37, it seemed that his work would be forgotten.  All that has changed, and Vincent is now one of the most famous and beloved painters of all time.    Come join Beth Stein as she examines the life and times of Van Gogh through his iconic works of art.

Beth Stein is a retired educator who had developed award winning programs in art education for her students and since retiring to the Cape has entertained her adult audience with a wide array of presentations on modern masters


Comedies with a Twist

FOUR SESSIONS: 1:00 to 2:30 p.m.  Mondays, March 7, 14 ,21 & 28

Location: Chatham Community Center

Over the years Carol Yindra’s film courses have been a cornerstone of the Learning Series program and this year will be no different. Carol’s courses typically focus on an organizing theme and this year it will be movies with a twist, be it a dark turn, a humorous new angle, or a radical new perspective at the film’s end.  Films may include the following: “Moonrise Kingdom”, ‘Knives Out”, “A Fish Called Wanda”, “Midnight Run” and “Keeping Mum”.

Carol Yindra has been teaching in the Learning Series for many years, and the films she has carefully collected have delighted audiences from the start.



Feeding the World While Preserving the Environment

 TWO SESSIONS: 10:00 -11:30 a.m.  Mondays, April 4 & 11

Location: Chatham Community Center

This course will address the conflict between the needs to increase food production and to protect the environment. We will assess options for developing agricultural systems that can provide sufficient nutritious foods for everyone, promote economic growth to reduce poverty, protect ecosystems and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Gary Toenniessen, with a Ph. D in microbiology, began his long career with the Rockefeller Foundation working on environmental problems associated with the Green revolution. Eventually as Managing Director, he oversaw the Foundation’s worldwide program in agricultural development. He has co-authored several books, most recently Securing the Harvest: Biotechnology, Breeding and Seed Systems for African crops.


The Empire of the Athenians

TWO SESSIONS: 10:00 – 11:30 a.m.  Wednesdays, April 13 & 20

Location:  Chatham Community Center

During much of the Golden Age of Ancient Greece, Athens held the pre-eminent position among the various city-states of the Greek peninsula and held sway over an extensive grouping of island cities and other maritime populations.  This offering will explore the rise of Athens to the hegemony of Greece, and its precipitous decline, while touching on her original and inestimable political and cultural contributions to Western civilization.

Dean P. Nicastro is a Chatham resident with a long-standing fascination for the classical world.  A graduate of Harvard Law School and an attorney by profession, he has practiced both public and private sector law, most notably serving as a Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General, Quincy City Solicitor, and Massachusetts Medical Society Vice President & General Counsel.  He is also in his seventh year as a Chatham Select Board member and serves as the board’s liaison to the Library.  A classics major at Harvard College, he taught Greek and Latin at Boston College High School.


 The Genius of Rodgers and Hammerstein

THREE SESSIONS: 1:30 -3:00 p.m. Thursdays, April 21, 28 & May 5

Location: Chatham Community Center

A long time Learning Series favorite, John Whelan has taught classes for the Learning Series from Rock and Roll to Broadway favorites to the American Songbook.  This year he will be teaching a crowd pleasing three-session course on Rodgers and Hammerstein in which he will discuss such perennial favorites as Oklahoma, State Fair, South Pacific, the King and I, Cinderella, Flower Drum Song and the Sound of Music.

John Whelan needs no introduction to Learning Series audiences. He has been teaching classes at both the Eldredge and Snow libraries for many years, always to rave reviews, and this year will surely be no exception.



May and June

Afghanistan: An Evolving Story

ONE SESSION: 1:00 – 2:30 p.m.  Wednesday, May 4 

Location: Chatham Community Center

This one-session course will provide two complementary perspectives on Afghanistan today: one a historical, geo-political view, and the other a personal recollection of years spent in developing a school for girls in Kabul.

In the opening session (May 4th) Hank Holden will bring his military experience to bear, in particular, on such areas as the country’s 19th century past, the Russian engagement in the country in the 1970’s , and the more recent  U.S. involvement from 2001-2021.

Hank Holden, who has taught several classes for the Learning Series in the past, has performed distinguished service in Vietnam and is a student of international affairs and U.S. policies in Afghanistan.  

The second session (May 11), Marian Smith has been cancelled.


How the Brain Becomes the Mind

FOUR SESSIONS:  10:00 -11:30 a.m. Thursdays, May 26 & June 2,  9 & 16

Location:  Chatham Community Center 

Are the brain and the mind one and the same?  If the mind is simply the sum-of-the-parts of the brain’s structure and physiology, how can we explain our capacity to reason or to appreciate beauty?  How do we discriminate between good and evil? The aim of this four-session course is to illustrate that, while the human mind is constrained by the brain’s biological properties (witness the effects of coffee or wine), it has the capacity to understand nature as well as the pursuits of the humanities.

Dr. Thomas Byrne is a Harvard Professor of Neurology at Harvard Medical School and Senior Lecturer in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at MIT; in addition, he is a neurologist at Mass General Hospital.   This series of lectures is based on a course Dr. Byrne has taught for over 20 years at Yale College, MIT, and now Harvard College. This course will reflect his deep interest in the interrelationships between the sciences and the humanities.


The Evolution of the Orchestra and the Music that Came with It

 TWO SESSIONS: 10:00 -11:30 a.m.  Mondays, May 16 & 23 

Location: Chatham Community Center

Join Dr. Matthew Scinto of the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra for a two-part series on the development of the orchestra from Mozart to Mahler, and how innovation and new ideas for music fueled the genre we know today. Dr. Scinto will explore the changes that influenced the orchestra from the 1700s to today, technological innovations of the orchestra instruments, and new ideas developed by composers over three centuries. This course is accessible for all levels of musical knowledge.

Dr. Matthew Scinto is the founder and conductor of the Cape Cod Chamber Orchestra. He also conducts throughout New England. He received his doctorate from Boston University in Orchestra Conducting.


The Power of the Supreme Court

TWO SESSIONS: 10:30 -12:00 p.m. Tuesdays, May 17 & 24 

Location:  ON ZOOM

Dr. Jane Scarborough will explore the growth of the power of the Supreme Court since its creation as the 3rd branch of government under Article III of the Constitution.  Alexander Hamilton, writing anonymously under the pen name "Publius" in support of ratifying the newly proposed Constitution, famously dubbed the judiciary as "the weakest branch."  She will explore the role of the Court prior to the 20th century and finally how it became far from "the weakest branch" but the powerful and influential body it is today.  She will conclude with a discussion of the current Supreme Court term.
Dr. Jane Scarborough earned her BA in history and Ph D in American constitutional history from Rice University.  She earned her juris doctorate from Northeastern University School of Law, where she subsequently became a professor teaching constitutional law.  She has been admitted to the bars of New York and the Supreme Court. She has spent her life studying, teaching, and elucidating the US Constitution.