November 5th Newspaper Column

Dickens Fest is in full swing, Thursday Morning Conversations continue, a MOOC is beginning, and we have an author visit scheduled for next week. We are B-U-S-Y at the Caestecker Library!

Mayor Jon McConnell is our guest Thursday morning (November 5) at 10:00 for our second-to-the-last “Conversation” of 2015. Find out what’s happening in the city while enjoying coffee and donuts and the company of your friends and neighbors.  Next week’s guest is Melanie Simpkins from the Green Lake County Health Unit. Conversations will then take a break for the holidays and return in January.

Thursday night we welcome an altogether different kind of visitor – Mrs. Charles Dickens! Mrs. Dickens will arrive at 6:30 and will give us some family insight into the female characters who populate her famous husband’s novels. It is sure to be an eye-opening and entertaining appearance.

Saturday morning we get the kids involved in Dickens Fest with a 10:00 screening of Walt Disney’s Oliver and Company, loosely based on Oliver Twist. For comparison purposes, we will screen Roman Polanski’s version of the same novel beginning at 2:00 Sunday afternoon.

Tuesday evening brings our friend (and literary fest favorite) Doug Northrop to the library to discuss “Dickens’ Heroines: The Angel in the House.” Doug brings his professor’s close reading of Dickens’ texts to a lively discussion of the role(s) women play in his novels. If Dickens had a Facebook page, the relationship status would most likely read “It’s complicated.”

Many thanks to the Friends of the Library for refreshments and the Caestecker Library Foundation for program funding to help make Dickens Fest possible.

Have you heard of MOOCs? They are Massive Open Online Courses, and there is one through UW-Madison that begins next week that the library is involved with. The course is called Climate Change Policy and Global Health, and it will address how climate change is having (and will continue to have) a dramatic impact on global public health – from natural disasters and the increased spread of infectious disease to predicted crop losses and heat waves. The MOOC will bring in experts from around the globe to discuss three primary issues: renewable energy, agriculture and food, and urban design and active transport. All learners are welcome to participate regardless of prior experience to learn more about the human impact on climate change and, ultimately, public health.

Interested? You can register at We will host the first discussion for local participants on Tuesday evening, November 17 beginning at 6:30.

And that author visit I mentioned? Save some time next Thursday afternoon (the 12th) to see Kelly Condon and Pat Dobrinska talk about their new children’s book I Love You…Unconditionally. They will be here from 4-6:00 p.m.