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We are teaming up with Humanities Washington this fall to bring thought-provoking and informative programs to several libraries.

The programs cover a range of topics, from politics and war to children’s literature and fruitcake.

“By partnering with Humanities Washington, we have the opportunity to provide library programs that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to offer,” said Kim Neher, NCRL’s adult services manager. “These programs are designed to help people in our communities think — in big and small ways — about the world that we all share.”

Humanities Washington is a nonprofit organization in Washington state that was established by the National Endowment for the Humanities more than 40 years ago. It partners with libraries, museums, colleges, historical societies and other nonprofit agencies to bring programs that foster community discussion. Since 1984, it has maintained a Speakers Bureau of cultural experts, scholars and storytellers who talk about everything from state history to philosophy to current social issues. The roster of speakers changes every two years.

The goal of their programs is to increase cultural understanding and build bridges between people who might otherwise ignore or even dislike each other.

“We find ourselves in a unique position, considering the politic of the country, where the rhetoric has become so toxic,” said Zaki Barak Hamid, program director for Humanities Washington. “We are trying everything we can to bring about what I call a return to reason. We need to bring people to a place where they can talk to each other on controversial topics like politics and religion without trying to kill each other.”

He added, “The more controversial the topic, the more our speakers get booked and the more people in attendance. That tells us there is a lot of hunger for these kinds of discussion around the state.”

The mission of Humanities Washington is to spark conversation and critical thinking using story as a catalyst to foster more thoughtful and engaged communities.

“North Central Regional Library is committed to offering engaging, inspiring, and intellectually stimulating programs in our communities — and we’re fortunate that Humanities Washington can help make that happen,” Neher said.

Here is schedule of programs that will be coming to NCRL libraries this fall:

Crazy Politics: Populism, Conspiracy Theories, and Paranoia in America

Author and professor Dr. Cornell Clayton will explore political polarization by looking at the relationship between civility and democratic participation throughout the history of the U.S. Clayton is the director of the Thomas S. Foley Institute for Public Policy and Public Service at Washington State University.

  • Leavenworth Public Library, Sept. 26, 6:30 p.m.
  • Wenatchee Public Library, Sept. 27, 6:30 p.m.
  • Soap Lake Library, Sept. 28, 5:30 p.m.

Great Writers and the Great War: Literature as Peace Activism

Author and professor Charles Andrews will lead a discussion on creative nonviolence and peacemaking through art. He will talk about how British writers in the peace movement of the 1930s thought literature and arts could prevent war, and what we can learn from them. Andrews is an associate English professor at Whitworth University.

  • Waterville Public Library, Sept. 6, 11 a.m.

Bandanas to Badges: Songs and Stories of Northwest Workers

The acoustic music trio Trillium-239 will share stories and songs of working life in the Northwest, beginning with American settlement of the West and ending with modern high-tech industries. The Richland based group is made up of Michelle Cameron on cello, Janet Humphrey on guitar, and Mary Hartman on guitar and banjo.

  • Cashmere Library, Sept. 15, 4:30 p.m.
  • Ephrata Public Library, Sept. 16, 12:30 p.m.

Not Just For Kids: How Children’s Literature Inspires Bold Conversations

Lecturer Anu Taranath will showcase children’s books from around the world, as well as diverse communities in the U.S., to help adults think about society from a new perspective by looking at our differences and similarities. Taranath is a senior lecturer for the University of Washington, specializing in global literature, identity, race and equity.

  • Entiat Public Library, Sept. 19, 6 p.m.
  • Twisp Public Library, Sept. 21, 6 p.m.

The High Road: Fighting Selfishness through Dialogue

Professor Tony Osborne traces dialogue to its ancient roots and discusses its pre-conditions, such as the necessity to quiet the ego and suppress the urge to “one-up” others. He teaches that cultivating a desire to engage teaches humility and broadens a persons horizons. He is a professor of communications studies at Gonzaga University and is a strong supporter of community journalism.

  • Tonasket Library, Sept. 26, 5 p.m.

The Hidden History of America’s Favorite Music

Radio host and producer Amanda Wilde looks at musical heritage that emerged from 19th century blackface minstrelsy, which led to the first American entertainment craze. She will talk about race in American music and how music can be an agent for change.

  • Ephrata Public Library, Oct. 5, 7 p.m.

H2OMG: Making Sense of Water Scarcity in an Insecure World

Philanthropist and public-policy advisor Rachel Cardone will talk about water scarcity and its effects globally and in Washington state. Cordone is an independent consultant on water issues who previously established the water, sanitation and hygiene program for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

  • Waterville Public Library, Oct. 6, 11 a.m.

Coming Home: How the Humanities Helps Soldiers Find Meaning After War

Author and professor Jeb Wyman shares stories of people who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and incorporates experiences and insights from famous writers and philosophers about war and its aftermath. Drawing on interviews with veterans, Wyman will talk about the profound moral and emotional impact of war and how humanities can help heal wounds. Wyman is a faculty member at Seattle Central College and an academic director for Antioch University.

  • Manson Community Library, Oct. 17, 6 p.m.

Hollywood and the Homefront: Tinsel Town’s Contribution to WWII

Historian and former radio broadcaster John Jensen will talk about the unprecedented push by Hollywood to contribute morale-building war dramas, troop entertainment, and training films to help the war effort. He will share stories and examples of wartime propaganda through various media that was used to educate, inform and sway American public opinion.

  • Wenatchee Public Library, Oct. 21, 2 p.m.

The Ancient Fruitcake: What Really, Really Old Food Tells Us About History, Culture, Love and Memory

Author and broadcaster Harriet Baskas explores how and why ancient foods hold memories, tell stories, and connect people with family, culture and history. Baskas has written seven books and created radio programs and other projects for NPR, NBC News, CNBC, and USA Today.

  • Manson Community Library, Nov. 14, 6 p.m.
  • Wenatchee Public Library, Nov. 15, 6:30 p.m.
  • Twisp Public Library, Nov. 16, 6 p.m.
  • Waterville Library, Nov. 17, 1 p.m.
  • Tonasket Public Library, Nov. 18, 1 p.m.


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