Community Read continues this spring

Posted 02/01/17

Author Robert Putnam will present a keynote lecture about his book Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis to cap off Fitchburg State University’s Community Read this spring. The address will be preceded in February and March by other talks and film screenings that explore themes in Putnam’s work.

Our Kids: The American Dream in Crisis is a New York Times bestseller and “a passionate, urgent” (The New Yorker) examination of growing social inequality in the United States. Putnam’s volume offers a personal and authoritative look at a new American crisis where a growing “opportunity gap” has emerged over the past 25 years. The crisis challenges the traditional assumption that Americans who have talent and try hard will succeed.

Throughout the Community Read, which began last fall, the campus and wider audience is invited to explore Putnam’s book and the topics it raises. All of the Community Read events are free and open to the public.

The university recently received a grant for $3,000 from Mass Humanities to support its Community Read programming. Mass Humanities grants inspire considered thought, conversation and action through the humanities. See more about the work Mass Humanities does to improve civic life in Massachusetts at masshumanities.org.

The spring’s Community Read events begin with an intergenerational community panel discussion at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 16 at the Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. The panel will feature area high school students and community members discussing the American dream and whether it is still achievable for all. Local high school students are creating entries for an essay contest on the topic, and the winners will be invited to participate in the event.

A look back at the Market Basket boycott of 2014 will be held at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 22 at Ellis White Lecture Hall at Hammond Hall on the Fitchburg State campus, 160 Pearl St., including a short documentary by Fitchburg State Professor Kevin McCarthy. The event will also include in-person testimonies from Market Basket employees and veterans of the boycott.

The programming continues with a movie marathon starting at 11 a.m. Saturday, March 4 at the Leominster Public Library, 30 West St., Leominster. The Mount Wachusett Community College Humanities Project will present the films Modern Times (1936) and The Devil and Miss Jones (1941). The films will be introduced by Fitchburg State Professor Joseph Moser, who will also lead a post-screening discussion. Lunch will be provided and registration is required. Visitors may register by visiting the library website or by calling 978-534-7522. This event is co-sponsored by the Community Read and the Leominster Public Library.

There will be a community discussion of the book at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 8 at the Fitchburg Public Library, 610 Main St. Another discussion will be held at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 22 at the Lunenburg Public Library, 1023 Massachusetts Ave., Lunenburg, co-sponsored by the library and the Lunenburg Council on Aging, led by Fitchburg State Professor David Weiss.

Putnam’s keynote address will follow at 7 p.m. Tuesday, April 4 at Hammond Hall, 160 Pearl St. Admission is free and open to the public.

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