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New look for library lunch program

After 23 years, what you know as the Brown Bag Lunch program is being reinvigorated with the newly redesigned Cantwell Community Room

November 1, 2008
By PAT WILEY, Saranac Lake Free Library

The Saranac Lake Free Library's popular noon programs are returning to the Thomas B. Cantwell Community Room. Last winter the programs were moved to the John Black Room of the Historic Saranac Lake building on Church Street while the library's Community Room was renovated. The elegant room is now ready, and the programs will begin on Thursday, Nov. 6.

Caper Tissot, lunch programs coordinator, explained that, "This year we're putting a fresh look on the series that has been extremely popular for almost a quarter-century!" The programs are being renamed the Library Lunch Series.

Program kicks off Nov. 6

Article Photos

Howard Riley, left, who will talk about “Tri-Lakes History Viewed through Historic Photographs,” at the kick-off program Nov. 6, stands with program founder Jeanne DeMattos and Rick Knapton who filmed the programs for many years.

Everyone is invited to the first program, which promises to be delightful and informative. At noon on Thursday, Nov. 6, Howard Riley, local historian and raconteur, will present "Tri-Lakes History Viewed Through Historic Photographs."

What did Berkeley Square look like in 1893, 1935 and 1977? What did Main Street look like before the construction of the LaPan Highway? What did the Alpine Hotel look like when it was a dorm for Paul Smith's College? Get the answers to these and many other questions at this presentation. The slide show of archived photographs from the Adirondack Research Room was put together by library volunteer Siobhan Crary.

"If you are new in town, are retired, are free Thursdays at noon, if you have a 12 o'clock lunch break or have never attended before, we invite you to join us for these quality presentations," said Tissot. "Come to the library every other Thursday at noon. Share coffee, tea, homemade desserts and stimulating talk." Home school parents and students also are cordially invited.

Fact Box

The lineup ...

The Library Lunch Series runs from November 2008 through April 2009. Everyone is invited to attend the programs, presented free of charge at the Cantwell Room in the Saranac Lake Free Library, every other Thursday at noon.

Nov. 6 - Howard Riley: "Tri-Lakes History Viewed Through Historic Photos"

Nov. 20 - Brian Mann: "Recapping the News from the White House"

Dec. 4 - Tom Booth: "Trek to the Everest Region"

Dec. 18 - Waickman Family Ensemble: Holiday Music

Jan. 8 - Phil Newton: "Our International Adoption: Challenges and Rewards"

Jan. 22 - Gag Reflex Performance

Feb. 19 - Susan Waters: "Habitat for Humanity: Saranac Lake and Katrina"

March 5 - Jill Breit: "Traditional Arts in Upstate New York - Alive and Well"

March 19 - Brian McAllister: "Up Close with Adirondack Birds"

April 2 - Paul Sorgule: "Working Behind the Scenes: Life as a Chef"

April 16 - Ingrida Miemis: "Latvia, the Land of Amber"

April 30 - TBA

Fall 2008 through spring 2009 programs

"I've arranged a varied set of programs with even wider appeal," said Tissot. "I've searched for the unusual, the fascinating, the funny and, of course, the informative. Topics will include travel, music, acting, history, nature and healthy living."

Renovation facilitates programs

There will be an attractive new setup in the renovated Cantwell Community Room. Updates include new carpeting, display boards and decorative trim. Comfortable tables and chairs were purchased with the lunch programs in mind. The tables are on wheels, allowing flexibility in arranging the room, depending on program requirements.

A new drop-down screen will make showing power point or slide presentations easier for the speakers.

The room was made more accessible last summer when the outside entrance was upgraded to improve wheelchair access. An inside ramp was part of the winter/spring renovations. Access is also available from the library's main floor via an elevator.

Come a few minutes early to enjoy the art shows that change each month. The current exhibit is the Cover Art Show presented by the Arts Council of the Northern Adirondacks.

Hospitality Committee

Bring a lunch, and the library's Hospitality Committee will provide beverages and those delicious homemade desserts. "We're happy to report," Tissot said, "that those fabulous desserts have not changed!" The coffee, both regular and decaf, will be brewed this fall in new coffee makers purchased with the programs in mind. The committee, headed by Joy Harvey, Siobhan Crary and Shirley Morgan, will have an easier time this year as they will be using the convenient, modernized kitchen with more counter space and a full-size refrigerator.

Updated communication

There's a new way to be reminded about which program is next. Fill out a brief form at the library's circulation desk with your e-mail address, and you will receive an e-mail announcement about the next program several days before.

Programs are also listed on newspaper calendar pages, the radio and Time Warner Cable. The library is very grateful to all the media for helping us get the word out about the series.

You can also cut out the list of fall 2008/spring 2009 programs and clip it to your refrigerator to follow the series.

Looking back, looking forward

Twenty-three years ago, then-board member Jeanne DeMattos thought there was a need for programs in the middle of the day, so people could come on their lunch hour, learn about an interesting topic and socialize briefly - all in one hour!

The first Brown Bag Lunch program was presented on Tuesday, Nov. 19, 1985, with Father Emil Tomaskovic, executive director of St. Joseph's Rehabilitation Center, outlining the functions of the institution.

The programs were immediately popular, with around 40 people attending each program. They continued under DeMattos' direction until 2006 when she asked Tissot to take over. Early hostesses were Auretta Herrington, Dorothy Stevens and Barbara Gragg; later Joy Harvey, Jeanne Robertson and Siobhan Crary took over, with many others volunteering to bake cookies. Rick Knapton and Diana Trummer have been helpful taping the programs for Time Warner Cable. Margaret LaPoint and Barbara Sharmer have provided secretarial assistance, while this fall Judith Oehler will be assisting.

"We want to insure that this excellent series Jeanne began will continue. The programs meant a lot to me when I moved to the area. I met so many interesting people and learned a great deal about the community," Tissot said.

Thank you

The library board would like to thank the many, many speakers who have donated their programs through the years. "In total," said Tissot, "there have been well over 320 programs." The board also thanks Historic Saranac Lake for donating the use of the John Black Room during the renovations and everyone who has contributed to the success of the series.



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