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.  

Classes will take place at the Eldredge Public Library & limited to 40 people,  with the exception of the Music of Vienna program, which will take place at the Chatham Community Center.

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

Fall 2022 Learning Series


Birds of Cape Cod: The Fall Migration

FOUR SESSONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Mondays, September 19 and 26 and October 3 and 17

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Naturalist Phil Kyle will explore the secrets of migration. What cues trigger the birds to move south? When do migrants leave, why do they leave, which ones are they, where do they go? How do the birds that stay survive the harsh winters? He will also look at the amazing adaptations of common birds.    Whether distinguishing male from female with ultraviolet vision, singing to defend their "yards", or courtship displays, the way they act is astounding once the secrets are revealed. 

Phil Kyle has been birding for over 50 years, has written a column on birds for the Cape Cod Times, was the president of the Cape Cod Bird Club, Director of Education for South Shore Natural Science Center, and past Head Naturalist at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History. He graduated from Cornell University and taught Biology at Barnstable High School.


Senior Citizen Issues: Public Policy Problems and Practical Solutions

TWO SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tuesdays, September 27 and October 4

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Drawing on his 40 years of experience in public health and senior citizen policy, Dr. Jim Knickman will examine our national approach to senior issues, including innovations, challenges, and failures. While the increase in the human life-span has been a great achievement, the economics of aging suggests that longer life spans have been a challenge to both federal programs and for many families caring for older adults.  Dr. Knickman will address the key issue of making the years after retirement, meaningful, productive, and affordable. A special focus will be related to senior citizens living on the lower Cape including housing, financial, and social needs. 

Jim Knickman retired as the Chair of the National Council on Aging. He has a PhD in Public Policy and Economics from the University of Pennsylvania and spent 20 years as a researcher and faculty member at New York University.  He also served as vice president for research at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and as President of the New York Health Foundation. Jim is currently President of the Harwich Friends of the Council on Aging.



The Ukraine from an Historic and Diplomatic Perspective

TWO SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tuesdays, October 11 and 18

Location: Eldredge Public Library

In this series former diplomat Lawrence Goodrich will review the history of Ukraine and its relations with its neighbors from the founding of Constantinople to the present day. He will include a look at the development of the Eastern Slavs, Kievan Rus, and the ever-shifting borders as Russia, Poland, Lithuania, Austria, and others struggled for dominance in the region. Finally, he will consider the breakup of the Soviet Union and Russian-Ukrainian relations in the aftermath.

Lawrence J. Goodrich is a former diplomat, journalist, and business owner. During his 11 years as a Foreign Service officer (1977-1988), Goodrich served at U.S. Embassies and Consulates General in Moscow, Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Bucharest, Toronto, and on the Soviet desk in the State Department. He also spent 12 years as a senior writer and editor at the award-winning Christian Science Monitor newspaper.


The Vienna School — Haydn, Beethoven, and Mozart

THREE SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesdays, October 12, 19 and 26

Location: Chatham Community Center

In this class Joe Marchio will explore the history, interrelationships, and influence of three of classical music’s greatest composers. The class will also be informed by Vienna, the city, and how their music emerged from a specific place and time.

Joe Marchio currently serves as music director of the Chatham Chorale and pastor of First Congregational Church in Chatham. He has performed as an organist throughout the United States and Europe and has also taught Learning Series courses for many years in addition to a number of other Cape venues.


The Etruscans:  Genius before Rome

TWO SESSIONS:  1:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Mondays, October 24 and 31.

Location: Eldredge Public Library

In this course Frank Smith will discuss what we know and do not know about the mysterious precursors of the Romans in Italy, the Etruscans. The territory they inhabited, now called Tuscany, derives its name from this people, whose vibrant culture, art, and architecture will be the focus of our discussions. The Etruscans influenced the Romans but then disappeared, only to be rediscovered in the 17th and 18th centuries.  

Francis J. Smith is a Fulbright Scholar, former lecturer in the Classics at Harvard’s Graduate School of Education, and 1985 MA Teacher of the Year. The former head of Classics and Modern Languages at Wayland HS, he was featured in the PBS documentary Great Teachers of America.



Hiking: A Celebration of Cape Cod

THREE SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesdays, November 2, 9, and 16

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Cape Cod is a great place for walks, from long and adventurous hikes to slow and mindful strolls. We will explore the history, artists, and the magical diversity of the outer Cape. The third session will be an optional walk picked by attendees.

Mark and Patti McGrath retired to Cape Cod 25 years ago as a great place for their kids to visit.  Mark is a hike leader for 3 groups. He also enjoys photography, history, and telling stories. He has given over 50 talks about his adventures on Cape Cod.


The Life and Music of Cole Porter

THREE SESSIONS:  2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays, November 3, 10, and 17

Location: Eldredge Public Library

John Whelan will explore the life and music of legendary composer and songwriter Cole Porter, a giant of the American musical theater during the first half of the twentieth century. The series includes a close look at Porter's lyrics, with their sophisticated rhyme and meter, and at Porter's life story, through his iconic songs as he moved from Indiana to Yale and then to Broadway and a transcontinental lifestyle. The session will include an in-depth discussion of some of his major musicals, including "Anything Goes”, "Can-Can," "Kiss Me Kate," and "High Society."

John Whelan 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. John is a retired stockbroker, writes a monthly column for the Cape Cod Chronicle, and is the author of several books, including I am of Cape Cod.


Striving for Sustainability on Cape Cod

TWO SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Tuesdays, November 8 and 15

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Association to Preserve Cape Cod’s Executive Director, Andrew Gottlieb, will give APCC’s perspective on what sustainability means for Cape Cod. Critical issues facing Cape Cod will be covered, such as water quality, renewable energy, climate resilience, and a viable economy. Learn about recent regional achievements, projects underway, and actions still needed.

In the second session, Kristin Andres, APCC Associate Director for Education, will provide practical tips for the property owner. Our managed landscapes have a role to play in the health of the Cape’s environment in both their design and maintenance. Learn about some ways to strive for sustainability at home by being climate-wise in your landscape choices, how to best support pollinators and birds, and ways to deal with drought and deluge.


Mary Cassatt: Beloved American Impressionist

 ONE SESSION:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 30

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Mary Cassatt was an American painter and printmaker, but lived much of her adult life in France, where she first befriended Edgar Degas, and later exhibited among the Impressionists.  Cassatt often created images of the social and private lives of women, with particular emphasis on the intimate bonds between mothers and children. Many of her works have become icons of the Impressionist movement. Come and hear Beth Stein discuss the life of this extraordinary woman who defied the conventions of her time to become one of the most beloved of all artists. 

Beth Stein is a retired educator who 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.



Cape Cod Fisheries: Past, Present, and Future

TWO SESSIONS:  10:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. Monday, December 12 and Tuesday, December 13

Location: Eldredge Public Library

Seth Rolbein from the Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen’s Alliance will talk about the history, importance, and challenges commercial fishermen face on Cape Cod. In this presentation, he will explore and explain the differences in styles of fishing and their impact - from dragging to gillnetting, longlining, traps, weirs, and others. He will also explain their “Small Boats Big Taste“ program which is connecting the needs of the fishing community to the needs of the whole community, including foodbanks and pantries - with a special focus on the use of underutilized species.  

Seth Rolbein is the director of the Cape Cod Fisheries Trust. He began his career as a journalist in the mid-Cape in the 1970s. He then joined WGBH-TV in Boston as a writer, reporter, and documentary filmmaker, also writing for many regional and national publications.  He may be joined by local fishermen depending on the tides and the weather.