Adult Programs

The Stockbridge Library, Museum & Archives presents various programs of interest throughout the year. Check the Calendar for specific topics and events. All are welcome!

Do you have a suggestion for a program that you’d like to see at the Library?  Please share your ideas with us by emailing them to email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Thursday, March 2 at 12:00 pm

Cookbook Club

Do you like to cook? Would you like a reason to learn to cook or try new recipes? Do you just want something fun and different to do at lunchtime? Then join our new cookbook club!

On the first Thursday of the month, we invite you to gather together with fellow cooks and friends for lunch, while exploring different cuisines and cookbooks from the Library’s collection.

Our next meeting will take place on Thursday, March 2, 2017 at 12:00 p.m. This month’s featured title will be Modern Potluck: Beautiful Dishes to Share by Kristin Donnelly.

Here’s how it will work:
1. Check the information in our enewsletter or on our website for the date of the next lunchtime meeting. You’ll also see which cookbook is going to be the source for our upcoming exploration. Typically, we’ll choose cookbooks that have interesting things to make but do not require elaborate preparations or impossible-to-find ingredients.
2. Stop in at the Library and ask for the month’s featured cookbook at the front desk. You won’t take it out; just browse at your leisure and have a look at the recipes.
3. From your browsing, choose a recipe that you’ll prepare and bring to the next Cookbook Club meeting. Copy the recipe and put a post-it on that recipe with your name (that way we won’t end up with duplicates).
Tip: choose something you’ll enjoy making—of course—but also keep in mind that the Library does not have a full kitchen, just a microwave and refrigerator. Things that can be served easily in small portions and that don’t require last minute prep will work best.
4. On the designated day, please bring your finished dish to the library with any needed serving utensils. If it is easier with your schedule, you’re welcome to drop your dish off in the meeting room, using the refrigerator if necessary.
5. If possible, also bring some plastic containers for those who may want to bring leftovers home (assuming we have leftovers!).
6. At each meeting, we’ll enjoy the shared food while also chatting about the featured cookbook and your experiences with the recipes. What would you recommend? What surprises, challenges, or need for creative adaptations did you encounter?
7. The Library will provide plates, utensils, etc. Clean-up assistance is always welcomed.
8. At the end of the meeting, we’ll survey the group for their future cookbook interests and any other suggestions.

Please call the Library at 413-298-5501 with any questions.

Sunday, March 5 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Robert D. Kaplan, Author of Earning the Rockies

We are pleased to welcome back author Robert D. Kaplan to our Speaker Series.  Join us on Sunday, March 5, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. when he will discuss his new book, Earning the Rockies: How Geography Shapes America’s Role in the World.

As a boy, Robert D. Kaplan listened to his truck-driver father tell evocative stories about traveling across America in his youth, travels in which he learned to understand the country literally from the ground up. There was a specific phrase from Kaplan’s childhood that captured this perspective: A westward traveler must “earn the Rockies” by driving—not flying—across the flat Midwest and Great Plains.

In Earning the Rockies, Kaplan undertakes his own cross-country journey to recapture an appreciation of American geography often lost in the jet age. Traveling west, in the same direction as the pioneers, Kaplan traverses a rich and varied landscape that remains the primary source of American power. Along the way, he witnesses both prosperity and decline—increasingly cosmopolitan cities that thrive on globalization, impoverished towns denuded by the loss of manufacturing—and paints a bracingly clear picture of America today.

The history of westward expansion is examined here in a new light—as a story not just of genocide and individualism, but also of communalism and a respect for the limits of a water-starved terrain, a frontier experience that bent our national character toward pragmatism. Kaplan shows how the great midcentury works of geography and geopolitics by Bernard DeVoto, Walter Prescott Webb, and Wallace Stegner are more relevant today than ever before. Concluding his journey at Naval Base San Diego, Kaplan looks out across the Pacific Ocean to the next frontier: China, India, and the emerging nations of Asia. And in the final chapter, he provides a gripping description of an anarchic world and explains why America’s foreign policy response ought to be rooted in its own geographical situation.

In this short, intense meditation on the American landscape, Robert D. Kaplan reminds us of an overlooked source of American strength: the fact that we are a nation, empire, and continent all at once. Earning the Rockies is an urgent reminder of how a nation’s geography still foreshadows its future, and how we must reexamine our own landscape in order to confront the challenges that lie before us.


Photo by Wilco Van Dijen

About the speaker: Robert D. Kaplan is the bestselling author of seventeen books on foreign affairs and travel translated into many languages, including Earning the Rockies, In Europe’s Shadow, Asia’s Cauldron, The Revenge of Geography, Monsoon, The Coming Anarchy, and Balkan Ghosts.

He is a senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and a senior advisor at Eurasia Group. For three decades his work has appeared in The Atlantic. He held the national security chair at the United States Naval Academy and was a member of the Pentagon’s Defense Policy Board.

Foreign Policy magazine twice named him one of the world’s “Top 100 Global Thinkers.”

Thursday, March 9 at 5:00 pm

Book Club

Join the book club on Thursday, March 9, 2017 at 5:00 p.m. for a discussion of this month’s featured book, How the Irish Saved Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland’s Heroic Role from the Fall of Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe by Thomas Cahill.  Copies available at the main desk.

The book club generally meets at 5:00 p.m. on the second Thursday of the month.  New members always welcome – even if you haven’t read the book!

Saturday, March 11 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Partisanship, Gerrymandering, and the Right to Vote

In his farewell presidential address in 1797, George Washington expressed dismay regarding the establishment of political parties. He expressed concern that such parties likely to “become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government.”

Has partisanship – allegiance to a political party – come to dominate our electoral system? Are voters more likely to vote the party line, rather than for a particular candidate?  Join us on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. when John Hyson will tackle these important questions and more.

One powerful instrument of partisanship is gerrymandering – the drawing of legislative districts in such a way as to ensure that a particular party will win the majority of seats in an upcoming election. In recent years, federal courts have reviewed challenges to voting restrictions and gerrymandering. In these cases, the courts have interpreted and applied the requirements of the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965 and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. At the present time, two such challenges – alleging racial gerrymandering – are under review by the Supreme Court. And, in December 2016, a lower federal court set aside the drawing of legislative districts by the Wisconsin state legislature on the ground that the legislature’s actions represented unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering – the establishment of districts that were designed to produce a legislature dominated by a particular political party.

Republicans have come to dominate state legislatures and governorships. Some of this domination is the product of the imposition of voting restrictions and alleged racial and partisan gerrymandering. In January 2017, President Obama announced that he would be joining former Attorney General Eric Holder in an effort to increase the number of Democratic state legislatures and governorships.

Are partisanship and gerrymandering undermining fundamental democratic values? If so, what can be done? Is it reasonable to expect legislative solutions? Are the courts capable of dealing with the problem? Come participate in this timely and important discussion.

About the presenter: John Hyson is a graduate of Harvard Law School and was a law clerk for a federal district court judge in Boston.  Mr. Hyson taught at Villanova Law School for 36 years. A past president of the Stockbridge Library Board of Trustees, he lives with his wife Marilou in Stockbridge.

Tuesday, March 14 at 5:00 pm

Four Fabulous Food-Themed Films

The Library is pleased to launch a new monthly film series, beginning January 2017. Four fabulous food-themed films will be shown – one each month – at 5:00 p.m. in the Morris Stockbridge Room. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

This month’s featured film will be Eat Drink Man Woman (1994), directed by Ang Lee. A senior chef lives with his three grown daughters; the middle one finds her future plans affected by unexpected events and the life changes of the other household members.

Coming up:
Tuesday, April 11, 2017 Big Night

Sunday, March 26 at 4:00 pm

Speaker Series: Eugene R. Fidell on Military Justice

“You can’t handle the truth.” These iconic words, bellowed by Jack Nicholson as Colonel Jessup in the 1992 movie A Few Good Men, became an emblem of the conflict between honor and truth that the collective imagination often considers the quintessence of military justice. The military is the rare part of contemporary society that enjoys the privilege of policing its own members’ behavior, with special courts and a separate body of rules. Whether one is for or against this system, military trials are fascinating and little understood. In his book Military Justice: A Very Short Introduction, Eugene R. Fidell opens a window on the military judicial system, offering an accessible and balanced assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of military legal regimes around the world. It illuminates US military justice through a comparison with civilian and foreign models for the administration of justice, with a particular emphasis on the UK and Canadian military justice systems.

Join us on Sunday, March 26, 2017 at 4:00 p.m. when Eugene R. Fidell, drawing on his experience as a serving officer, private practitioner, and law professor, presents a hard-hitting tour of the field, exploring military justice trends across different countries and compliance (or lack thereof) with contemporary human rights standards.

He digs into critical issues such as the response to sexual assault in the armed forces, the challenges of protecting judicial independence, and the effect of social media and modern technology on age-old traditions of military discipline. A rich series of case studies, ranging from examples of misconduct, such as the devastating Abu Ghraib photos, to political tangles, such as the Guantánamo military commissions, throw light on the high profile and occasionally obscure circumstances that emerge from today’s military operations around the world. As Fidell’s account shows, by understanding the mechanism of military justice we can better comprehend the political values of a country.

About the presenter: Eugene R. Fidell is Senior Research Scholar and Florence Rogatz Visiting Lecturer at Yale Law School and of counsel to the Washington, DC law firm Feldesman Tucker Leifer Fidell LLP. He served in the United States Coast Guard and co-founded the National Institute of Military Justice. He chairs the Committee on Military Justice of the International Society for Military Law and the Law of War and edits the Global Military Justice Reform blog.  He and his wife, journalist Linda Greenhouse, live part-time in Stockbridge.

Tuesday, March 28 at 6:30 pm

The Art and Business of Coffee

Come to the Library on Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at 6:30 p.m. to hear Lisa Landry, co-owner of No. Six Depot, talk about the intersection of art and business and how it all relates to a “beautiful cup of coffee.”  Learn more about the bean we love and this very special place nestled in the heart of West Stockbridge.

Lisa’s talk will include specifics on coffee: where it comes from, how it’s grown, how it’s processed, and how to brew it.  Two types of coffee samples will be offered for tasting.  Lisa also will give us a look at the inner workings of No. Six Depot: how they select and roast the coffee, their business model and branding, and all that goes into combining a roastery, cafe, art gallery, and event space.

For more on No. Six Depot visit:

Tuesday, April 4 at 5:30 pm

Lee Sheldon on Star Trek, Edge of Night, and Videogames



The answer is Lee Sheldon, a world-class game designer, book author, script writer, and writer/producer of more than 200 TV shows.  Join us on Tuesday, April 4, 2017 at 5:30 p.m. to learn more about his fascinating work in movies, TV, and gaming.


Lee Sheldon is also author of Impossible Bliss, a mystery novel, and of the standard text for teaching game writing.  Now working on his 43rd game, Mr. Sheldon is an innovative Professor of Practice in the Interactive Media & Game Development Program at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.  He lives with his wife in Stockbridge.

Saturday, April 8 at 4:00 pm

Consider the Source: Truth and News in the Misinformation Age, Part 1

Part 1: Facts or Fakes: Finding Reliable Information in the Digital Age

Program details to follow.

Tuesday, April 11 at 5:00 pm

Four Fabulous Food-Themed Films

The Library is pleased to launch a new monthly film series, beginning January 2017. Four fabulous food-themed films will be shown – one each month – at 5:00 p.m. in the Morris Stockbridge Room. Admission is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be available for purchase.

This month’s featured film will be Big Night (1996), an award winning film written and directed by Stanley Tucci, starring Tony Shalhoub, Stanley Tucci, and Marc Anthony. A failing Italian restaurant run by two brothers gambles on one special night to try to save the business.

Saturday, April 22 at 4:00 pm

Consider the Source: Truth and News in the Misinformation Age, Part 2

Part 2: Fake News, Real News: Why the Difference Matters to our Democracy

Program details to follow.