Last year, nearly 1,000 people turned out to attend the East Hampton Library’s inaugural “Tom Twomey Series,” and the Library is launching its second round of presentations on Saturday, April 16th.
“The original idea of the series came from Tom Twomey,” explained East Hampton Library Director Dennis Fabiszak, “who figured now that the building was done and we had the Baldwin Room, a good way of getting the Library board members more involved would be for each of them to plan a program to do at the Library.”
Sadly, Twomey, the former Chairman of the Library’s Board of Managers, unexpectedly passed away before the series was created. “As soon as he did, we got together and figured out one of the best ways to honor his memory would be to go ahead and name the series after him, and make it slightly bigger and better than what we thought he was planning it to be,” noted Fabiszak. “In addition to the series, in his will, he left some money to us to do one local history program per year, named the ‘Tom Twomey Local History Lecture.’ So we’ve made that the last program of each season.”
The inaugural finale took a look at the East End’s maritime past. “Last year we had Bruce Collins, who’s on the Library board, talking about the history of fishing and East Hampton, and showed all of these photos he had from the 50s and 60s,” Fabiszak said. “It really was an excellent program. We actually think the video might be good enough for the schools to use to teach students about the history here.”
Fabiszak is also thrilled with the last presentation of the 2016 series. “This year the final program is going to be a guy who grew up on Plum Island,” he added. “So he has this firsthand knowledge of Plum Island that nobody has really. And he has great photographs and some great stories. We think that will be really exciting.”
When deciding what to feature for the series’ second year, the Library turned to the community. “We have a pretty good committee and we got together and looked at the feedback we got last year. People really wanted programs that were local, that they could relate to,” he noted. “We tried to focus on things that either directly effect people’s lives out here or we knew was on people’s minds. And then we reached out to the board members and saw what their interests were and who they thought they could bring in as great speakers.”
The Library wanted to offer a diverse roster of lectures. “We try to have a wide range of topics and something that will appeal to everyone,” he said. “We’re always going to have a musical performance. Last year we had a wonderful singer do a historical musical performance and this year we have a great harmonica performance, where they’re also going to talk about the history of harmonica music and give sampling as they work through the talk.”
He expects the series to be used as a community resource. “Libraries are about providing information and informing people of all ages. We’re hoping that’s what we do,” Fabiszak explained. “We’re also just looking to put on some great programs and educate the public.” They’re also optimistic it may help the Library welcome some new faces. “We’re hoping some of the programs will actually bring people in that have never been here before, because they’re really interested in the topic and the speaker,” he said. “And, that when they come here, they’ll walk around and find all the other great things, and come back.”
The public’s support has allowed the series to reach more than just attendees. “We’re really happy we have Suffolk County National Bank and Twomey, Latham, Shea, Kelley, Dubin & Quartararo LLP as underwriters,” he shared. “Because of that, we’ve hired LTV again to film each of the programs and edit them, and they’ll be shown on LTV, but they’ll also be shown on the website. The series is large enough that we felt it should have its own home on the website.” For those unable to make it to a program they’re interested in, they can view it online at tomtwomeyseries.org.
“We’re really trying to give the public what they want,” added Fabiszak.
The 2016 “Tom Twomey Series” will include “Colonial Commerce” – the series kick-off event, featuring items from the Library’s Long Island Collection with Frank Sorrentino, Researcher, and Steve Russell Boerner, Archivist on Saturday, April 16th at 5 p.m.; “The Pond Scourge” with Professor Christopher J. Gobler, Director, The Gobler Lab, Stony Brook University, on Saturday, May 7th at 5 p.m.; Live Music! “Harps, Harmonicas and Heavy Breathers: A History of the People’s Instrument” with Kim Field and Randy Weinstein, Authors/Performers, on Saturday, May 21st at 5 p.m.; “Campaign Theatrics 2016” with political correspondent Patrick Healy, The New York Times, on Saturday, June 4th at 5 p.m.; “The Cost of Health Care” with reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, The New York Times, and Robert S. Chaloner, President and CEO, Southampton Hospital, on Saturday, June 25th at 5 p.m.; “Hampturbia in the Age of Escalade Entitlement” with architect Preston T. Phillips on Thursday, July 21st at 6 p.m.; “Lessons from Katrina: Preparing for the Net Big One Here” with Scott Cowen, Tulane University, and Larry Cantwell, East Hampton Town Supervisor, on Thursday, August 25th at 6 p.m.; “Frontiers in Stem Cell Research” with Susan L. Solomon, The New York Stem Cell Foundation, on Saturday, September 10th at 5 p.m.; and “The Tom Twomey Lecture in Local History: Life on Plum Island” with Ed Faszczewski on Saturday, October 15th at 5 p.m.
Admission to each program is free, but advanced registration is required.
East Hampton Library is located at 159 Main Street in East Hampton. For more information, call 631-324-0222 or visit easthamptonlibrary.org.