Last month, The Library, NOAA, and the National Science Foundation launched a four-part reading and discussion series on climate change called “Pushing the Limits.” When Mike Bauer, The Library’s Lifelong Learning Coordinator, told me that facilitating this discussion was one of the highlights of his library career, I had to know more. I asked Mike to connect me to one of the participants who attended the launch event so that I could get to the heart of why this series is making a real impact on the lives of people in Bonner County.
The following is an interview I conducted with one of the attendees at the Pushing the Limits launch, Suzy Prez.
Marcy: How did you hear about Pushing the Limits, and what piqued your interest about it?
Suzy: We had Mike on the radio (KRFY) to talk about it. I have a deep interest in saving this planet and finding common ground through language and discussion. There is a lot that separates people. I’m interested in what unites us. I’ve thought about returning to college or taking courses after I retire, because I’m always looking for ways to stimulate my thinking. This was just what I was looking for. Listening without judgement is part of what I do in my career as a broadcaster for KRFY, but I like to find ways to keep exercising that. Conversation is the only way to test it.
Marcy: The launch was Aug. 5 and it was an orientation to the series and subject matter. From what you learned there, is it what you were expecting?
Suzy: Facilitation will be important. Mike (Bauer) and Robin Fox (of the National Weather Service) have already shown themselves to be qualified to do this. Mike sent out a list of the agreements that the group established and I expect that people will respect others’ viewpoints. For me, contributing to the discussion will be a challenge because I’m so used to listening. When I conduct interviews on the radio, my job is to listen.
Marcy: Do you think the initial group adequately represented all sides of the issue of climate change?
Suzy: I don’t think many people challenge whether or not climate change is happening. That has been scientifically established and most people seem to agree on that. Where opinions differ is identifying what is causing it and how to address it.
Most of the people who were there had a common perception of climate change. It would be nice if some people with varying points of view attended the upcoming discussions. I think I am pretty open minded, but I do wonder how I would react to someone who had a completely different perspective. I’d like to challenge my way of thinking to hear the other side from someone who really makes a case for it.
Marcy: Do you think the library is the appropriate organization to facilitate this discussion?
Suzy: If it’s inspiring and educational, then yes. There is a scientist there to answer questions about the scientific aspects. And, since this is a discussion based on a book that is at the library, it makes sense all around.
Part of the mission of the library is to engage the community. That may be the reason why our library is awesome. Having discussions about relevant topics like climate change bring us together and create opportunities to learn from each other. It’s a group study.
Marcy: You are a broadcaster for KRFY Community Radio, so you are pretty plugged in to our local community. Are there other topics or initiatives that you think locals would like to see The Library support to engage the community?
Suzy: We need to hear from and engage with the youth. Young people have so much to contribute to important discussions. More one-day workshops for youths that promote active engagement in the community, nation, and planet. More opportunities for youth to find a voice.
Another topic that could lend itself to this type of discussion is neuroscience; how brains develop. It is an up and coming subject of interest. I love The Library’s collection of “Great Courses.” Maybe there could be a monthly, “Dinner & Great Courses Cafe,” or something.
Marcy: Maybe you could spearhead that when you retire.
Suzy: You never know.
The first book discussion in the Pushing the Limits series will take place on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 1 p.m. at Monarch Mountain Coffee. The book, “Heat” by Arthur Herzog is the first of three books to be discussed in the series. “Heart Like Water,” by Joshua Clark will be the basis of the Communities Working Together theme on October 7th. November’s theme, Building Community Resiliancy will be highlighted in the discussion of the book, “The Thinking Person’s Guide to Climate Change” by Robert Henson. All three books are given to participants free of charge thanks to grants from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the National Science Foundation. The local Sandpoint chapter of 350.org is a sponsor.
“We have seen so much interest in this topic and discussion format, that we might explore continuing this program after Pushing the Limits is over,” Mike Bauer commented.
“All of the books for the first series are gone and I expect that we will have more drop in participants as people hear about the series.”
Books for each discussion are to be distributed at the previous one, but all available books are already reserved and registration is full for all sessions. For more information or to get on the waiting list for a book and to participate, contact Mike Bauer at 265-2665.
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All of the following classes and events take place at the Sandpoint Branch Library, 1407 Cedar, unless otherwise indicated.
• Friday, Sept. 8, and Friday, Sept. 15 — American Sign Language Practice, 9:30 a.m., Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar St. Silent signing practice. Free and open to anyone. Some signing experience suggested. Meet in the lobby. Information: 510-423-1079.
• Saturday, Sept. 9, 16, 23 and 30 — Beginning ASL Class, 9 a.m. at the Sandpoint Library. Learn American Sign Language with Susan Schaller. For more information, contact Mike Bauer, 263-6930 ext. 1243 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Saturday, Sept. 9 — Pushing the Limits, 1 p.m. at Monarch Mountain Coffee, 208 N. Fourth . A 4-part book discussion series on climate change. Registration is full. For information or to be added to the waiting list, contact Mike Bauer at The Library, 263-6930 ext. 1243 or email@example.com.
• Monday, Sept. 11 — Organic Gardening & Seed Saving, 1 p.m., Sandpoint Library lobby. A community conversation about organic gardening and seed saving techniques.
• Saturday, Sept. 16 — Basic Computers, 8:15 a.m. sharp at the Sandpoint Library. Beginner-level class on computer use. Registration required, 263-6930.
• Tuesday, Sept. 12 — Mother Goose, 10:15 a.m. The Library’s Story Times will be at Creations on the Cedar St. Bridge for a while due to the construction project. Stories and singing for babies and toddlers 0-3 yrs and caregivers. Info: firstname.lastname@example.org.
• Tuesday, Sept. 12 — Preschool Story Time. 11 a.m. at Creations. Stories and crafts for kids ages 2-5 years. The Library’s Story Times will be at Creations on the Cedar St. Bridge for a while due to the construction project. Info: email@example.com.
• Tuesday, Sept. 12 — Mindstorm Robotics, 3 p.m. at the Clark Fork Library, 601 Main. Kids 8-plus learn to code with Lego Mindstorm.
• Wednesday, Sept. 13 — Make It at the Library, 2 p.m. at the Clark Fork Library. Tweens and teens make a variety of STEAM projects. Info: 266-1321.
• Clark Fork Autumn Reading Program — For all ages @ the Clark Fork Library, 601 Main St. Earn silent auction “bucks” when you log your reading between September and December. Info: 266-1321.
• StoryWalk — Take the family on a special Back to School StoryWalk. At Dover City Park, read “School’s First Day of School” by Adam Rex. At McNearny Park in Ponderay, enjoy “Wemberly Worried” by Kevin Henkes. For more information, visit www.ebonnerlibrary.org or call Suzanne Davis, Children’s Services Librarian, 263-6930 ext. 1211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.