Lifelong Learning

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Read. Think. Engage. Learn.

Learning doesn’t stop when one becomes an adult. We keep changing and growing, discovering new areas we’d like to study. Adult learners often learn for the love of it, not for the attainment of a degree or certificate. The Lifelong Learning @ GPL program seeks to bring together people who: 1) like to share what they know with others, and 2) like to learn new things together.

The group leaders of the program are volunteers who plan and facilitate short seminars. These seminars usually run for 5 or 10 weeks with one 90-minute session each week. Participation is limited to 15 people (unless otherwise noted) to promote active involvement and discussion. It is hoped that participants can attend most, if not all, of the classes in a series.

Individuals may sign up for these programs online through the GPL events calendar or by calling the library. Signup is handled on a first come, first served basis.

All materials and activities in Lifelong Learning are free of charge to participants. Books, films, and readings are available for check-out at the library, and field trips (if any) also are free.

Made possible with the support of the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust.

Come learn together!


Winter - Spring 2017 Offerings

Depression-Era Hollywood Films: Comedies, Tragedies, and a Few In-Between

Facilitator: Joseph Moser, PhD
When: Sundays, 2:00-4:00 pm
Runs 5 weeks, beginning January 8, 2017, through February 5 (snow date: Feb. 12)
Where: Sibley Hall
Sign Up: Pre-registration is required. Class size limited to 30. Signing up for the first session commits the registrant to the entire 5-week course. Events permitting only a small number of participants may be restricted to Groton residents only during initial sign-up, but will be opened to non-residents at least one month before the event.

This course will engage with the culture of the Great Depression through film viewings, readings, discussions, and lectures. We will focus particularly on the genre of screwball comedy, one of the greatest vehicles of American social satire, and the works of exceptional directors such as George Cukor, Howard Hawks, Leo McCarey, and Preston Sturges. We will highlight the wit and whimsy of these films, as well as their sly commentary about class differences, gender conflict, and the harsh economic realities of the period. We will also address the evolution and influence in the 1930s of the censorship regime known as the Hollywood Production Code.

FILMS TO BE DISCUSSED WILL BE SHOWN AT THE LIBRARY SATURDAY AFTERNOON THE DAY BEFORE THE CLASS (beginning January 7). They will also be available to borrow at the Circulation Desk.

Books or materials recommended: They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Novella) by Horace McCoy.

Facilitator: Joe Moser is an Associate Professor of English & Film Studies at Fitchburg State University. His research interests include gender and race in film, literary and film genres, and war literature and film. He has a Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas.


Art Matters! Three More Installments of This Five-Part Series Continue from the Fall Program

Where: Sibley Hall

  • Leonardo Da Vinci
    Wednesday, January 18, 2017, 7:00 pm — Sign up here

    He was one of the greatest painters in the world, but painting was not what he did the best. Da Vinci was a scientist, a chemist, a mathematician, an engineer, a designer of military equipment and strategist, a sculptor, a concert level musician, and an inventor. He was The Renaissance Man. Join us for a look into all the works of Leonardo da Vinci and the vision that was his genius.

  • Pablo Picasso
    Wednesday, February 22, 2017, 7:00 pm — Sign up here

    Whether you swear by him or at him, Picasso was undeniably the most successful and influential artist of the 20th Century. He was certainly the most influential artist since Leonardo da Vinci. He was able to change his style, so quickly, so completely, that he seemed like many different artists. You can’t like it all - he made over 50,000 works of art. But there will be one era, one style, even a single painting, that will make you say; "I didn’t know Picasso did that, I love that." Join us for a look at, and a discussion of, the many, many styles, expressions, loves and lives of the man at the heart of modern art.

  • Impressionism
    Wednesday, May 17, 2017, 7:00 pm — [sign up will be available at a later date]

    The Impressionists, painters of light, painters of nature, and painters of human nature, changed the way the whole world looked at art. Like a stone dropped into a still pond, the ripples from this revolutionary style of painting spread out, influencing a whole new generation of artists. Join us for a close look at many of the paintings that moved the world into the modern era.

ArtMatters is an Art Awareness Program designed to engage all ages with stimulating, informative, and entertaining presentations on a single artist, style, or period of art. A typical presentation compromises 35-50 fire art reproductions, displayed in the salon style, thereby encouraging comparison, discussion, and reflection. All of the images are arranged and displayed together so they can be enjoyed and compared for the entire length of the presentation. ArtMatters, we bring the museum to you!

Made possible thanks to the Groton Public Library Endowment Trust.


Great Decisions 2017

Facilitator: Jim Simko
When: Thursdays, 7:00-8:30 pm
Runs 8 sessions, beginning January 19, 2017, through March 9 (snow make-up date: March 16)
Where: GPL, various locations
Sign Up: Pre-registration is required. Class size limited to 15. Signing up for the first session commits the registrant to the entire 8-week course. Events permitting only a small number of participants may be restricted to Groton residents only during initial sign-up, but will be opened to non-residents at least one month before the event.

Join America's largest discussion program on world affairs at your local library! Sponsored by the Foreign Policy Association, this program provides background information and policy options for the eight most critical global issues facing America today and serves as the focal text for discussion groups around the country. Great Decisions 2017 Briefing Books will be provided, thanks to the generosity of the GPL Endowment Trust. Participants should expect to read a chapter and some outside reference work prior to each meeting.

The Topics for 2017 are: The Future of Europe / Trade and Politics / Conflict in the South China Sea / Saudi Arabia in Transition / U.S. Foreign Policy and Petroleum / Latin America’s Political Pendulum / Prospects for Afghanistan and Pakistan / Nuclear Security.

Facilitator: Jim Simko has a background in the social sciences and is the owner of a small business located in Wellesley. He led the 2015 and 2016 Great Decisions seminars.


Writing Creatively

Facilitator: Richard Meibers
When: Tuesdays, 10:00 - 11:30 am
10 sessions, beginning January 24, through March 28
Where: Groton Senior Center, 163 Main Street, West Groton
Sign Up: Pre-registration is required. Class size limited to 12. Because of the small class size, preference will be given to first-time participants.

In this seminar, participants will write essays, memoirs, and short stories, and present them to the group for discussion and editing. We will help jump start your thought process to write the stories you hold. Participants are expected to write something each week.

Facilitator: Richard Meibers is a professional writer. His most recent work is Falling Off the Wind (2012).


Book Discussion Series: Are We Born Racist?

Facilitator: June Johnson, Esq.
When: Wednesdays, 7:00-8:30 pm
Runs 4 sessions, beginning January 25, 2017, through February 15
Where: Sibley Hall
Sign Up: Pre-registration is required. Class size limited to 15. Signing up for the first session commits the registrant to the entire 4-week course. Events permitting only a small number of participants may be restricted to Groton residents only during initial sign-up, but will be opened to non-residents at least one month before the event.

Join Groton Resident June Johnson as she leads a discussion series on the book, Are We Born Racist? Where do our prejudices come from? Why are some people more biased than others? Is it possible for individuals, and society as a whole, to truly defeat prejudice? In the pages of this book, leading scientists, psychologists, educators, activists, and many others offer answers, drawing from new scientific discoveries that shed light on why and how our brains form prejudices, how racism hurts our health, steps we can take to mitigate prejudiced instincts, and what a post-prejudice society might actually look like. Bringing a diverse range of disciplines into conversation for the first time, Are We Born Racist? offers a straightforward overview of the new science of prejudice, and showcases the abundant practical, research-based steps that can be taken in all areas of our lives to overcome prejudice.

Book: Are We Born Racist? New Insights from Neuroscience and Positive Psychology, Jeremy A. Smith, Jason Marsh, and Rodolfo Mendoza-Denton, 2010.

Facilitator: June Johnson is an attorney, and professional mediator with Common Ground Mediation in Groton and Leominster. She has loved books since being a young child and finds them wonderful resources for learning new information as well as for sorting out her own perspectives and understanding. For the last ten years June has facilitated workshops for the Alternatives To Violence Project at Shirley Medium State Prison. She has been part of a Racial Justice Working Group at First Parish Groton Unitarian for the last two years and she is a facilitator for Communities For Restorative Justice (C4RJ) of which Groton is a member community.


Groton Police Academy

When: Wednesdays, 6:30-8:30 pm
Runs 8-10 sessions, beginning March 1, 2017, through end of April/early May (TBD)
Where: Sibley Hall
Sign Up: will open on October 1. Restricted to Groton residents only until one month before the event, if space is available.
Class size: 40
This series will be held concurrently at the Senior Center during the day.

Learn more about the amazing Police Department in Groton and policing in general. Topics to be covered include: law enforcement, forensics, basic criminal law, special operations, criminal investigation, K-9 demonstration, crime prevention, police tactics, senior safety/TRIAD, special investigations, Attorney General’s Office, police equipment, emergency management, court system, police defenses, and detectives.

There will be an optional Saturday morning session with demonstration at the shooting range. Date TBD.


Stories Only You Can Tell: A Memoir Writing Workshop

Facilitator: Zoann Guernsey
When: Tuesdays, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Runs 6 sessions, beginning March 7, through April 11, 2017
Where: Sibley Hall
Sign Up: [sign up will be available at a later date] Class size limited to 12. Because of the small class size, preference will be given to first-time participants.

Our life experiences are rich with stories. Here is the opportunity to record memories, write your family stories, or revise an earlier attempt at family history. This course is designed to build confidence in beginning writers and re-energize experienced ones. Bring pen/pencils and your favorite writing paper! Space is limited so please sign up. First-time participants and Groton residents will be given preference.

Facilitator: Zoann Guernsey moved to Groton with her family when she was nine years old. She has taught elementary school for the last 20 years, and has enjoyed leading the "Stories Only You Can Tell" workshops for the last several years, both in Maine and in Groton.


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