Carmel Public Library Foundation Lecture Series

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Check out these lectures hosted by the Carmel Public Library Foundation. Watch author talks by Ava Homa, Meredith May and Douglas Brinkley; lectures by astronauts and marine biologists; discussions of on the power of words and individualism versus the collective; and much more.


Cultural Architect: A Poet’s Path to Building Community

Dr. Ayodele Nzinga, November 16, 2023

Join the City of Oakland’s first and current Poet Laureate Dr. Ayodele Nzinga for a poetry reading and thought-provoking discussion on the importance of fostering a city’s cultural arts center.

Your Personal Carbon Footprint

Dr. C. Michael Hogan, October 18, 2023

How does your personal lifestyle rank on Your Personal Carbon Footprint Scorecard? Join CEO of the California Arts and Sciences Institute, physicist, and U.S. energy authority Dr. C. Michael Hogan on an interactive journey of our lifestyle footprint via calculating our personal impact on the environmental crisis. By measuring lifestyle choices including food consumption, transportation choices, gardening preferences, use of electronic devices, and financial decisions, we we can all play a more proactive role in the carbon emissions cycle and in our overall ecological and biological health system.

Dr. Hogan is renowned for his peer reviewed work and research, which focuses on biological, physical, ecological and environmental expertise. Hogan received a PhD in physics from Stanford University and BS from Princeton University

The Bruton Sisters: Modernism in the Making

Wendy Good, September 13, 2023

Margaret, Esther, and Helen Bruton, sisters and distinguished artists in the unique era of the 1920’s-1960’s, were known for their various mediums and modern artistic methods. Their work, recently on exhibit at the Monterey Museum of Art, depicts their creativity and innovation, which later impacted future artists.

Join Wendy Van Wyck Good, a Bruton scholar, author, archivist, and former librarian at the Carmel Public Library, as she leads the discussion on the “three amazing sisters’” influence on California art, design, and architecture, and their ties to both Carmel and the Central Coast.

“Daughters of Smoke and Fire”

Ava Homa, April 12, 2023

The unforgettable, haunting story of a young woman’s perilous fight for freedom and justice for her brother, the first novel published in English by a female Kurdish writer, Ava Homa.

Join author Ava Homa and professor Nancy Middleton as they discuss Daughters of Smoke and Fire, an evocative portrait of the lives and stakes faced by 40 million stateless Kurds and a powerful story that brilliantly illuminates the meaning of identity and the complex bonds of family.

Turning Stress to Strength

Dr. Elissa Epel, March 23, 2023

Discover how specific lifestyle and psychological habits can protect telomeres, slowing disease and improving life. Dr. Elissa Epel, co-author of New York Times best-selling book, The Telomere Effect, and her most recent book, The Stress Prescription is providing new research on stress, as one of the drivers of aging and how we can build our stress fitness and use it for positive transformation to our health and well-being.

The Ghost of Father Coughlin: Past or Present?

Michael Katakis, Fireside Chat at the Library, March 15, 2023

At the height of his popularity in the 1930’s Father Coughlin was one of the most influential personalities on American radio with some 30 million listeners. Join acclaimed author and photojournalist, Michael Katakis for a discussion about the power of words in dangerous times.

“Silent Spring Revolution: John F. Kennedy, Rachel Carson, Lyndon Johnson and the Great Sixties Environmental Awakening”

Douglas Brinkley, February 8, 2023

New York Times bestselling author and acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley chronicles the rise of environmental activism during the Long Sixties, telling a highly charged story of an indomitable generation that quite literally saved the natural world under the leadership of John F. Kennedy, Lyndon Johnson, and Richard Nixon. This is the story of how the environmental revolution in America led to landmark legislation such as the Clean-Air Act, the National Environmental Policy Act, and the Endangered Species Act – all signed into law by President Richard Nixon.

Read the book.


Tech’s Rising Star: Defining the Future of Healthcare

Julia Hu, November 9, 2022

Award-winning entrepreneur Julia Hu’s trajectory proclaimed her an industry leader in Silicon’s Valley’s competitive culture before she was 30 years old. Join Ms. Hu, co-founder and chief executive officer of the digital health company Lark Health as she imparts her remarkable journey and struggles that led to the development of this innovative healthcare platform that today, serves millions.

“My Mother Next Door”

Diane Danvers Simmons, October 12, 2022

In My Mother Next Door, author Diane Danvers Simmons shares the life lessons learned growing up in the revolutionary 1970s in London while her mother at the age of sixty charted her own unfathomable course to independence and freedom, leaving her marriage behind and moving into the house next door with several young male students to start a new life. Join Diane Danvers Simmons to explore this unique journey of forgiveness and liberation.

“This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future”

Jonathan Martin, September 21, 2022

Join Jonathan Martin, senior political writer for The New York Times and co-author of the New York Times best-seller This Will Not Pass: Trump, Biden and the Battle for America’s Future, in conversation with Betsy Fischer Martin, an Emmy-winning journalist who was the longtime Executive Producer of Meet the Press with Tim Russert, and is currently a professor of politics and the Executive Director of the Women & Politics Institute at American University. They will discuss the book’s authoritative account of the recent eighteen-month crisis in American democracy, and whether the long-established traditions and institutions of American politics can survive.

“The Honey Bus: A Memoir of Loss, Courage and a Girl Saved by Bees”

Meredith May, March 9, 2022

Meredith May recalls the first time a honeybee crawled on her arm. She was five years old, her parents had recently split and suddenly she found herself in the care of her grandfather, an eccentric beekeeper who made honey in a rusty old military bus in the yard. That first close encounter was at once terrifying and exhilarating for May, and in that moment she discovered that everything she needed to know about life and family was right before her eyes, in the secret world of bees.

Read the book.

Individualism vs. The Collective

Fireside Chat at the Library, February 9, 2022

A discussion exploring the fundamental conflict in America today and why we need to solve it.

“Bitskrieg: The New Challenge of Cyber Warfare”

Professor John Arquilla, January 12, 2022

New technologies are changing how we protect our citizens and wage our wars. Among militaries, everything taken for granted about the ability to maneuver and fight is now undermined by vulnerability to “weapons of mass disruption”: cutting-edge computer worms, viruses, and invasive robot networks. At home, billions of household appliances and other “smart” items that form the Internet of Things risk being taken over, then added to the ranks of massive, malicious “zombie” armies. The age of Bitskrieg is here, bringing vexing threats that range from the business sector to the battlefield.

In this new book, world-renowned cybersecurity expert John Arquilla looks unflinchingly at the challenges posed by cyber warfare – which he argues have been neither met nor mastered. He offers fresh solutions for protecting against enemies that are often anonymous, unpredictable, and capable of projecting force and influence vastly disproportionate to their size, strength, or wealth. The changes called for require radical rethinking of military and security affairs, diplomacy, and even the routines of our daily lives.

Read the book.


Is the California Dream Dead?

Fireside Chat at the Library, November 17, 2021

A discussion of today’s definition of the California Dream and the possibility to attain it.

Meet the Stars in Space: Three Astronauts and their Journey

November 10, 2021

Have you ever wondered what it takes to become an astronaut or what’s it’s like to live in outer space? Three astronauts will share their experiences and perspectives;

  • Stephen Nathaniel Frick, American astronaut and a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions. Frick’s second mission delivered and outfitted the European Space Agency’s Columbus Laboratory, preparing it for future scientific work benefitting life on Earth.
  • Daniel Wheeler Bursch, American astronaut, had four spaceflights, including a record making long-duration stay aboard the International Space Station from December 2001 to June 2002.
  • James Hansen Newman, American astronaut, had four spaceflights, including the first Space Shuttle mission to begin the assembly of the International Space Station.

Into the Deep: The Secret Lives of Fishes off Carmel’s Storied Coastline

James Lindholm, Ph.D, September 22, 2021

Thousands of people visit Carmel’s coastline every year, but very few know of the wonder that lies beyond the waves. Join James Lindholm, Ph.D. Distinguished Professor of Marine Science & Policy & Chair, Department of Marine Science California State University Monterey Bay, and immerse yourself in the ‘living laboratory’ that is the Carmel Bay.

Same Storm, Different Boat

Fireside Chat at the Library, January 21, 2021

Come and engage with a multi-generational panel as they explore the various impacts of Covid-19 and coping mechanisms that are associated with distance learning, economic shifts, and social isolation.


Read-In for Social Justice

Dr. Andrew Drummond, Fireside Chat at the Library, November 18, 2020

Come share a book or reading that has had a major influence on your perspective regarding social justice and equity. Discussion facilitated by Dr. Andrew Drummond, Interim Dean of the College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences, California State University Monterey Bay.

Can Literature Inform in a Time of Plague

Michael Katakis and Lettie Bennett, Fireside Chat at the Library, October 14, 2020

Can literature, from the ancient Greek philosophers to the great writers of the 19th and 20th centuries inform society through these turbulent times? Join acclaimed author, Michael Katakis and Lettie Bennett for thoughtful conversation.

The Pandemic: What We Know Now

Dr. Syra Madad, October 6, 2020

Join Dr. Syra Madad, a nationally recognized leader in public health and special pathogen preparedness and response for Pandemic insights. The impacts of COVID-19 exceed all modern day epidemics, emerging as the worst public health crisis in a century. The talk will highlight where we are, where we need to be and what we can do to combat COVID19. Recommendations on changes that need to be made to improve biological preparedness and response across the U.S. healthcare infrastructure will also be discussed.

Wired for Reward : How Teenage Brains are Vulnerable to Addiction

Darryl “Flea” Virostko & Panel, February 10, 2020

Meet Darryl “Flea” Virostko, legendary, world class surfer who rode the big wave to surfer stardom, fell into addiction and then rose again to help others overcome. It’s important to be able to recognize addictive behaviors — and it’s never too early to start speaking with your child about it! Listen to our distinguished panel of experts to learn how to help your teen discover practical strategies that can give them the critical thinking tools they need to make healthy choices. Q&A follows the program.

Big Data/Big Brother

Professor Vinnie Monaco, February 5, 2020

Join Naval Postgraduate School Asst. Professor of Computer Science, Vinnie Monaco, to learn how, and to what extent, your personal information is being divulged. The interactions people have on the Internet generate an abundance of data that often contain personal and sensitive information. Combined with recent advances in machine learning, it is becoming increasingly difficult to remain anonymous and control exactly what personal information is divulged. Everything from search queries and movie ratings, to the way a person types on a keyboard or clicks on a button reflects some aspect of their identity. However, this phenomenon is a double-edged sword and actually has the potential to both increase security and threaten user privacy.

Design Thinking: The Achievement Habit

Dr. Bernard Roth, January 15, 2020

A co-founder of the Stanford d.School, and author of The Achievement Habit, Dr. Bernard Roth introduces the power of design to drive positive change in your life by providing simple tools to solve problems and achieve your objectives. He will share his insights that stem from design thinking—previously used to solve large scale projects. These insights can be used to gain confidence to achieve personal goals and overcome obstacles that hinder fulfilling personal potential.

Freedom of Speech: The Constitution in Conflict

Dr. Michelle Welsh, January 8, 2020

Freedom of speech as often been viewed as our most precious right, the right to think and speak without government censorship. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution sways “Congress shall make no law…abridging the freedom of speech or of the press…” But freedom of speech has never been interpreted by the Supreme Court to be as absolute as those words appear. What are the limits? What happens when free speech conflicts with other constitutional rights?


The Russian Job: The Forgotten Story of How America Saved the Soviet Union from Ruin

Douglas Smith, December 4, 2019

After decades of the Cold War and renewed tensions, in the wake of Russian meddling in the 2016 election, cooperation between the United States and Russia seems impossible to imagine ―and yet, as author and historian Douglas Smith reveals in his new book, it has a forgotten but astonishing historical precedent. In 1921, facing one of the worst famines in history, the new Soviet government invited the American Relief Administration to save communist Russia from ruin. It was the largest humanitarian operation in history―preventing the loss of countless lives, social unrest on a massive scale, and, quite possibly, the collapse of the communist state.

Read the book.

Cognitive Reserve: Maintaining Cognitive Function into Late Adulthood

Dr. Quinn Kennedy, November 6, 2019

Dr. Kennedy will describe research that indicates how “cognitive reserve” can help stave off age-related declines in cognitive function and onset of dementia symptoms.  She will cover everyday activities that can help build up cognitive reserve and free resources for additional information on cognitive aging.

An Evening’s Conversation: Ernest Hemingway and Traveling the World

Michael Katakis, January 31, 2019

A conversation with Michael Katakis, an internationally acclaimed photographer, author and international manager of Hemingway’s literary estate, about his most recent book, “Ernest Hemingway: Artifacts From a Life.” This book provides an illuminating story of American icon Ernest Hemingway’s life through the documents, photographs, and miscellany he kept.


“Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs”

Douglas Smith, March 14, 2018

Please join author Douglas Smith for a riveting exploration and comprehensive perspective on a notoriously misunderstood historic icon, Rasputin. In his latest book, “Rasputin: Faith, Power, and the Twilight of the Romanovs,” Smith draws on long-lost documents from archives in seven different countries to overturn many of the old myths about the infamous Russian mystic, presenting Rasputin in a fascinating new light.

Women and the Veil in the Muslim World: Oppression or Empowerment?

Dr. Bonnie Irwin, January 17, 2018

Historically, veiling is a tradition that is common to all the Abrahamic religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. One need look no further than the traditional bridal veil to see the remnants of what was once a common practice of modesty. Given that only traces of the tradition remain in Christianity and Orthodox Judaism, we most often associate veiling with Islam today, and many Americans misunderstand why veiling is prevalent in the Middle East and why a woman might choose to wear a veil. Dr. Irwin will explore how the complexities of veiling in Islamic societies vary within religious, cultural, and political contexts and in comparison to the traditions of veiling in Muslim-American communities.


“Troublemakers: The Story of Silicon Valley’s Coming of Age”

Leslie Berlin, November 8, 2017

In the space of only seven years and thirty-five miles, five major industries—personal computing, video games, biotechnology, modern venture capital, and advanced semiconductor logic—were born. Join historian Leslie Berlin as she presents Troublemakers, the gripping tale of six exceptional men and women, pioneers of Silicon Valley in the 1970s and early 1980s and how they worked together across generations, industries, and companies to bring technology from Pentagon offices and university laboratories to the rest of us. In doing so, they changed the world.

Read the book.