MANALAPAN – It’s safe to say that the Monmouth County Library will go out of this world to present entertainment, education and an eclectic view of American history to the residents of Monmouth County, and highlights of the June calendar of events make it as clear as…well, as clear as solar glasses for an eclipse!
Astrophysicist Kevin Manning, whose title and background make him sound so much more formidable than this entertaining internationally acclaimed astronomer really is, will be at the Symmes Drive facility of Tuesday, June 27 to prepare the general public for facts and causes of a solar or lunar eclipse. All of this is in preparation for the Great American Solar Eclipse which will take place on Aug 21. The eclipse, so called because it will be the first time in 99 years that a complete solar eclipse is evident coast to coast, will block the sun for up to two minutes and 40 seconds. The event is so spectacular the US Postal Service is issuing a special first-of-its-kind postage stamp that will change design with the touch of a finger.
“The library, especially here in Monmouth County, is indeed the heart of the community,” said Renee B. Swartz, Chair of the Monmouth County Library Commission, “and the variety of entertainment blended with history and science continue to make it so. This month’s presentations certainly cover a broad scope of interest from the 18th to the 21st century and include so much music and talent that people of all interests will be attracted to several different programs.”
Manning has been acknowledged with national and international awards as an astronomer numerous times, did work at the Brookhaven National Laboratory and was both a Wright Fellow at Tufts University and an Einstein Fellow in Washington, in addition to being an editor of a Department’ of Energy’s scientific journal, and other work with the International Atomic Energy Agency. He has presented workshops at observatories and science centers across the country and has spread his enthusiasm and knowledge of astronomy to people of all ages.
During his June 27 presentation at the Library, Manning will explain the causes of eclipses, and explore both natural and celestial events around them including a presentation of photographs illustrating the occurrences. The library is providing solar glasses for the presentation.
But advancing into outer space does not detract from the library’s dedication to musical and historic programs or mixing the two together for even higher entertainment.
On Thursday, June 22, popular lecturer John Ench will return to the library to review the Great Songs of the 1950s, an exploration of the songs that brought America to its fee in mid-century. The program will include both background and history of several songs, including events of the decade which influenced the writers. Ench will present his program with video, audio and photographs and invite the audience to participate in singalongs for what promises to be a rousing afternoon.
In its continuing salute to pride in American history, the library is bringing America Historic theatre’s executive director Kim Hanley on stage Junes 10 to present Betsy Ross, the Quaker woman who has been credited with creating the first American flag.
“I’m especially happy the Library Comission puts such an emphasis on American history,” Freeholder Director Lillian Burry said. Burry, who is the board of freeholder’s liaison to the library, has long been an advocate of the library’s presentations of historic re-enactors to bring home a variety of events and personages from earlier periods in the united States. The overwhelming crowds at the Jefferson Hamilton Debates on the library stage last month are an indication the public truly does recognize that “our libraries are more than simply a storage space for books, and our commission recognizes there are so many genre to provide education and increased knowledge to its customers.”
Hanley is another in the series of American Historic Theatre re-enactors who have brought standing room only crowds to the Monmouth County facility and given audiences from children through seniors an exciting and entertaining way to appreciate the early days of the United States. An accomplished actress, singer, costumer and dancer trained with the School of American Ballet and the Eglevsky Ballet in New York, Hanley’s specialty in addition to her on-stage performances, is historical fashion, with an academic background stemming from her degree in restoration and history of applied arts from the Fashion Institute of Technology.
All of the programs at the library headquarters at Manalapan as well as its 13 branches around Monmouth County are offered at no charge and in most cases, reservations are not necessary, with seating at performances generally on a first come, first served basis. For a complete list of all activities at each of the libraries, visit www.monmouthcountylib.org.