Since its debut last spring, the Talks@2 lecture series has become one of the most popular programs at Williamsburg Regional Library, consistently attracting upwards of 50 people to enjoy these fun, approachable presentations on an eclectic array of topics. Thanks to the ongoing success of these programs, library staff have arranged a robust schedule of talks to run monthly January through June, beginning with a look at "The Story of the Banjo in America" from Adult Services Librarian Jesse Kelley.
The series, which features library staff giving talks on particular areas of interest to them, was conceptualized as a way to share the vast and often surprising knowledge of our librarians and other personnel with the community. As an added bonus, the lectures also give WRL users the opportunity to get to know the people who serve them outside of a typical library setting.
The spring season kicks off January 17 with an informative look at an often underappreciated instrument: the banjo. Kelley will trace the story of the banjo from its creation by African slaves on southern plantations through its later popularization by Hollywood and finally to its current popularity in the folk, bluegrass, and country music genres. Attendees will have the opportunity to explore the banjo's journey in American popular culture and enjoy samples of the instrument's unique styles and sounds.
"The banjo is an American instrument- it was created in America and looking at how it was portrayed in American culture can tell us a lot about the country," said Kelley. "It also sounds amazing!"
The rest of the spring presentations will touch on similarly unexpected and intriguing topics. Adult Services Librarians Jan Murray and Janet Curtis will give a joint talk about Iceland, often referred to as the "Land of Fire and Ice," on February 6, which will be followed by a presentation from Adult Services Librarian Andrew Smith on the backstories of famous silver screen cowboys like Tom Mix and Roy Rogers on March 13. The series will continue on April 3 with a talk about how TV dinners have shaped America from Mobile Library Services Manager Eletha Davis, then Special Projects Director Barry Trott will take to the podium on May 16 to discuss "Songs and Tunes of Shakespeare's Times." Adult Services Director Melissa Simpson and Adult Services Librarian Cheryl Edwards will close out the spring season on June 6 with a presentation on one of the most influential and beloved singers of the 20th century, Frank Sinatra.
All six presentations are free and will take place at 2 p.m. on their appointed dates. The first four talks will take place at the James City County Library, while the final two will take place at the Stryker Center. Check www.wrl.org/events for a complete list of Talks@2 and other lectures taking place at WRL this spring.