April | 2024


April 9: Deadline for proposals for fall seminars and workshops. Contact the Curriculum Committee.

May 3: Deadline to propose summer programs.

May 3, 11:30 am-1 pm: New member coffee, in person at the Northampton Lathrop Meeting House.

Date TBD: Annual meeting online, likely in the afternoon of May 13, 14 or 15. Check the weekly bulletin "This Week in LIR".

May 18, 2-4 pm: Fall Preview, in person at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley. Moderators will also be interviewed online for those unable to attend in person.

May 22, 4-6 pm: Spring Social at the Look Park Garden House 

Ongoing programs:

Fridays, 10 to noon: Encore! Link will be sent to all members. Others may contact the office to be added to the Encore list.

LIR Café Society:

  • First Fridays, 12:30 pm: LIR Café Society in-person gathering at Pulse in Hadley. Note new time and day.
  • Second Thursdays, 1:45 pm: Reading Round Table facilitated by Ralph Lowen. Zoom link will be sent to all members.
  • Fourth Thursdays, 2 pm: LIR Cafe online discussion facilitated by Naomi Yanis. Link will be sent to all members.

Outreach to local communities. Members are invited to attend these meetings and help spread the news! Contact the Communications Committee for details. There may be additional meetings this spring, but here are four:

  • April 15, 2 pm at the Easthampton Lathrop
  • April 16, 2 pm at the Northampton Lathrop
  • April 29, 6:30 pm at the South Hadley Public Library 
  • April 30, 2 pm at the Clapp Library, Belchertown 

New Member Coffee

By now, all of our new members are wending their way through their seminars while familiarizing themselves with the way our classes operate. If you are fortunate enough to meet in person or a hybrid situation, you’re able to enjoy spontaneous conversation. Zoom classes allow us to dial in from anywhere and not be inconvenienced by weather, illness, or distance. 

We’re encouraging all new members to join us at our rescheduled coffee on Friday, May 3, from 11:30-1:00 P.M. at the Lathrop Meeting House, 1 Shallow Brook Drive, in Northampton. Board and Council members will be on hand to share valuable information and answer questions. 

We look forward to meeting those of you who are new and have never attended a new member event. Questions or transportation issues? Please contact Suzie Metz, Social Events Coordinator, by email or at 201-259-2277.

From the

Communications Committee

The weather is warming up! How about a brand new FCLIR t-shirt? If we don’t have your size, we can get it. $15 each. Help advertise our awesome program and let others know you are a member!

Do you tell friends and neighbors about FCLIR? Maybe you would like to have something to share that has our website and official name. Email Edie Kirk and she will mail you some business cards to keep in your wallet or handbag, to give to friends (or strangers). Your help is appreciated.

Member Profiles: John and Lise Armstrong

This month, FCLIR introduces two of our most active members, Elizabeth (Lise) and John Armstrong. This intellectually active, curious, and vibrant couple have been valuable members and leaders of LIR for nearly three decades. READ MORE

Some ideas for summer proposals

Summer programs begin with you, just as the seminars and workshops that we enjoy during the fall and spring semesters do. In addition to online offerings, we hope that summer 2024 can include some small-group excursions or other in-person activities. Consider proposing a summer extracurricular activity this month. Here are some ideas to get you started. READ MORE

Introducing LIR’s New Hybrid System

LIR has a new hybrid option, called the Owl. We have been testing it in the four Spring hybrid seminars, all of which are still being held at the Annex, but it is portable and we'll set it up at the Spring Preview to interview moderators online for those unable to attend in person. There will never be a perfect hybrid setup, but the Owl has proved popular and it certainly adds to FCLIR's options. READ MORE

“What’s It All About, Encore?”

Nominations for possible Encore presentations come from the seminars. Toward the end of each semester, moderators are asked to nominate one or two presentations that could be interesting to people who were not in the seminar. Selections may be made by the moderator, or seminar members may be asked to suggest presentations. The moderator then sends the information about the top two nominations to the Encore subcommittee.

Encore presentations are offered on Friday mornings during seminar semesters. Each session is two hours, usually offering two presentations with a 10-minute intermission. In a typical semester lasting 8-10 weeks, there will be 16 to 18 presentations in the series. Dates are announced weeks in advance to allow FCLIR members and community members to reserve the dates on their calendar.

The goal of the Encore program is to share interesting presentations about a wide variety of subjects both to LIR members and to non-LIR members who may be curious about what LIR seminars are about. And we hope to interest some non-members to become members.  

As spring moves along and these seminars draw toward their conclusion, please think about which presentations to nominate!

Elisa Campbell, Encore Coordinator

What is the FCLIR Lottery?

"The Lottery" is FCLIR's name for the process by which members are enrolled in seminars and workshops based on their registration requests. Historically, enrollment was managed by a small group of the founding members of LIR. In 2003, oversight was transferred to the Curriculum Committee. That committee published a formal procedure that remains largely intact today.

So how does it work? And what are the issues? READ MORE

FCLIR/Loomis Folklore Series Concludes

Over three Friday afternoons in March, folklorists Carrie and Michael Kline led listeners into another world through Appalachian culture and song. Beginning with an old English folk tune called “Wild Hog in the Woods,” they engaged the audience (both live and on Zoom) in toe-tapping through such familiar sing-alongs as “Sixteen Tons'' and “Froggie Went a Courting.” 

Three years ago, the Klines moved from West Virginia to Sunderland, Massachusetts. They have spent their working lives honoring people across lines of race, class, gender, sexual orientation and language to gain often unheard parts of our fragmented history. These songs and spoken histories, along with their upcoming events, can be found at the Klines' website, www.folktalk.org

This special event was approved by Council and funded by FCLIR, in cooperation with Loomis Village in South Hadley, which provided the auditorium space, technical assistance, and refreshments after each session. 

Kay Klausewitz and Nancy Clune

Five College Book Depository Tour

On February 9, a small group of curious folks joined Jason Fuller, manager of the FCI Book Depository, for a tour of the facility, housed in the huge FCI Annex, and shared their observations.

Vivienne Carey wrote:

"I loved the tour and am happy to share these thoughts.

"When we were led inside the main storage area I was taken aback by the vast space around me. The number of books and periodicals stored is truly huge. The complex method of keeping track of each and every book wherever it is within the overall library system is a marvel of organization and computer technology, offering members of all the colleges a stunningly comprehensive array of materials.

"The resources of this facility are available to all FCLIR members. They can also be researched online and picked up at any of the college libraries. I encourage everyone to take a tour and learn about how the collection is stored, kept track of, and protected from fire and flood.

"In sum, I attended the tour although not expecting it to be particularly interesting and instead found myself fascinated by every detail that was enthusiastically shared with us by Jason, the Manager of the Collection."

Bev von Kries also thought the tour was well worth it:

"I was surprised that much of the use of the collection is by libraries from literally around the world and that most of the requests are for articles from journals and periodicals. The requested material is scanned then emailed to the borrower. On average there are around 50 requests a day.

"A fun fact about the climate-controlled storage area is that the bookshelves are about 26 feet high and items from the higher shelves are retrieved by a staff member driving a powered stock picker. When the Smith College Nielsen Library was being remodeled, pretty much its entire collection was moved into the Book Depository.

"I definitely recommend taking this tour the next time it is scheduled. It’s surprisingly interesting and Jason Fuller is an excellent tour guide."

With such rave reviews, FCLIR definitely expects to schedule another tour, hopefully in late summer or early fall.

What's the difference between the weekly bulletin and the newsletter?

In the last few weeks, FCLIR members have received a weekly e-mail from the FCLIR office, This Week in LIR, each Monday. This weekly bulletin is sent only to members, and includes only calendar items and other announcements for the coming week. A few of the announcements may be repeated for two or three weeks in a row, like the call for seminar proposals from the Curriculum Committee. This Week in LIR also includes the notes notes that used to be sent in the monthly Council bulletin for members.

This newsletter, on the other hand, is prepared by the Communications Committee and sent out on an irregular schedule to a much larger list of people, including many who are not currently members. We expect between four and six issues annually. The newsletter contains both complete short articles and also longer articles that are continued on our website.

With its longer horizon, the newsletter's calendar section tries to look ahead two or three months. But as always, we encourage you to look at the online calendar for the most current information.

Would you like to contribute something to the newsletter? Please contact Edie Kirk to work out the details.

Contributors to this issue: Elisa Campbell, Kathy Campbell, Vivienne Carey, Nancy Clune, Edie Kirk, Kay Klausewitz, Kristin Langevin, Joanne Locke, Suzie Metz, Bev von Kries

This issue was edited by Barbara Hyams, Edie Kirk and Kathy Campbell, and produced by the office manager.

Office Hours: Our hours for returning calls and emails are Monday through Friday, from 9 AM to noon. Please make an appointment if you would like to stop by the office in person.