BAR HARBOR — Three local libraries are bringing the world to MDI.
Earlier this year, the libraries submitted a joint grant application to participate in a Maine Humanities Council (MHC) program that underwrites visits by foreign policy speakers at libraries. Impressed with the spirit of teamwork shown by the grant application, the MHC chose the MDI libraries — Southwest Harbor Public Library, Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor and Northeast Harbor Library — for The World in Your Library program this fall. All events are free and open to everyone, and the first is set for this Saturday, Sept. 7.
“I love the idea of collaborating with the other two libraries,” said Brook Minner, director of the Northeast Harbor Library. “We are increasingly looking for ways to collaborate to bring excellent library service to the island. We don’t see each other as competition. We view our success as shared success and I think this program will be a good example.”
On Saturday, Sept. 7 at 2 p.m., Scott Erb will be at the Southwest Harbor Public Library to present “Children and War.” There are as many as 300,000 children involved in war and political violence right now, and their stories are heart-wrenching: girls forced to become sex slaves; young boys forced to fight, spurred by forced use of cocaine to make them feel invincible. Professor Erb discusses why children get used in war zones despite international law condemning it, and how difficult it is to rehabilitate former child soldiers. Mr. Erb is a professor of political science at the University of Maine at Farmington, specializing in international relations, foreign policy, and the European Union.
“I know this is a difficult and horrific subject but I feel it is one that deserves our attention. Over the years Southwest Harbor PublicLibrary has had many programs about foreign affairs but none that have ever addressed this particular topicm” said Candy Emlen, director of the SWH Library. “Professor Erb’s talk will be candid, precise,and optimistic. He will leave us informed and hopeful.”
On Wednesday, Oct. 7 from 7 to 8 p.m., Ron Jarvella will be at the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor to discuss “The Chinese Intelligence Network,” exploring how it is structured, how it operates, and what it is after. While most people are familiar with the CIA, MI5, Mossad, and the old KGB, how many can name the Chinese spy agencies? The Chinese pioneered the idea of gathering intelligence on enemies, potential or real. They have been at it longer than anybody else. And Mr. Jarvella will let us in on their secrets. He taught history at the secondary level for more than 30 years. Since retiring to Maine in 1991, he has been active in several Mid-Coast Maine organizations that promote education or the study of international affairs. He has served on the board of the Camden Conference, and is currently on the board of the Mid-Coast Forum on Foreign Relations. He also serves on the advisory board of the Hutchinson Center of the University of Maine in Belfast.
“This is a timely and fascinating topic,” said Ruth Eveland, director of the Jesup. “This kind of cooperation with other libraries, and offering this type of program to the public, fits exactly with the Jesup’s mission to nourish minds, enhance lives and build community.”
Concluding the series on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 7 p.m. will be Seth Singleton with “Will China Rule the World?” Mr. Singleton is Libra Professor of International Relations at the University of Maine. He won the American Political Science Association prize for best dissertation in international relations and has received grants from the Rockefeller Foundation, the National Council on Soviet and East European Research, the Fulbright program, and the Open Society Institute. He has lived and worked at universities in Tanzania, Russia, Ecuador, Vietnam, and Mongolia, and has lectured in about 30 countries of Asia and Africa. Along with teaching, he was Dean of Arts and Sciences at Pacific University in Oregon, founding academic dean of a university in Ecuador and, in 2010-2011, and Associate Provost in charge of curriculum and faculty recruitment at the new Tan Tao University in Vietnam.
“I am excited about this speaker because the rapidly changing nature of China and its impact on the world is going to be one of the most important foreign policy issues we will face in the years to come,” said Ms. Minner.
For more information, contact Melinda Rice at the Jesup Memorial Library, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 207-288-4245.