Nantucket Atheneum News

Geschke Lecture With General David Petraeus Thurs. Aug. 9 at 7 pm

Retired US Army General David Petraeus sits down for a conversation about  Iraq and Afghanistan, his views on current geopolitical issues, and what civilian life has been like during the Nantucket Atheneum’s next Geschke Lecture on Thursday, Aug. 9 at 7 pm at the Nantucket High School auditorium.

The general will be joined in conversation by Robert Greenspon.

General Petraeus has served as Director, Central Intelligence Agency (2011-2012) and commanded U.S. and International Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He is  currently partner and chairman of KKR Global Institute and a professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College and the University of Southern California

A graduate of the United States Military Academy, General Petraeus also earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and later completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

Admission is $25. Tickets available at the library and online.

“Danseur” Explores The Social Stigma Of Being A Male Ballet Dancer

By Adelaide Richards

The documentary film Danseur is inspired by the experience of director and producer Scott Gormley. His son Jack started dancing at seven and at first was only interested in taking hip hop dance classes. When Gormley watched his son however, he was struck by Jack’s fluidity of movement and suggested that he take a ballet class. He took to ballet immediately. Gormley and his wife, noted to their dismay that Jack’s circle of friends diminished rapidly. They discovered that Jack was being bullied and made to feel like an outsider because he was doing something that his friends considered effeminate. Gormley wondered whether other parents of boy ballet dancers had witnessed the same alienation and bullying. He posted this question on an online bulletin board for parents of ballet dancers and within twenty-four hours he was inundated with responses. Gormley realized there was a deeper story than just his son’s experience. Thus began a true passion project for Gormley, three years in the making.

In an effort to showcase the struggle and strength of male dancers, Gormley interviewed dancers from the top ballet companies in the world. Audiences will be amazed by their stories and astonished at their resilience. For example, the parents of John Lam, a principal dancer with Boston Ballet, have yet to see him dance on a professional stage. Gormley described shooting Lam’s interview as an “emotional rollercoaster”. Lam, who has been with the prestigious Boston Ballet since 2004, is a magnificent example of the discipline and determination required to dance at the highest level.

According to a recent survey ninety-five percent of male ballet dancers stated that they faced physical or verbal attacks because of dance. “If you’re doing ballet you’re considered weak” remarks one young dancer in the film. This couldn’t be farther from the truth, ballet requires extreme amounts of physical conditioning and training. Dancers spend countless hours in the gym and many more in the studio rehearsing. Danseur is a powerful look at the struggle facing male ballet dancers as they battle gender bias and stereotypes in pursuit of their dreams.

Danseur will be shown on Tuesday, July 24 at 5 P.M. for free in the Great Hall of the Nantucket Atheneum as part of the 11th annual Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival. Director and producer Scott Gormley will be in attendance for a discussion following the screening.

For more information about the Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival please visit the dance festival page.

Online Psychology Collection

Psychology is a fascinating area of research. Its study can help you understand human behavior; and allow you to better understand how people think, act, and feel. Psychology  reference resources can assist in understanding important questions; such as, why do people act the way they do? What shapes human personality? How do humans learn and change throughout our life?

Psychology, as a social science, relies on the scientific method. As one of the ‘soft sciences’, psychology fall into the specialized fields or disciplines with sociology, anthropology, or political science. The term ‘soft sciences’ does not mean it is less rigorous. The social sciences merely contend that some questions of psychology seeks to answer questions where strictly measurable criteria is difficult. However, since Psychology’s necessitates a rigorous emphasis on research methods and statistics, it can attempt to answer these questions. Moreover, Psych graduates say that the research methods and ability to interpret statistical results are the biggest contributors to their career success, regardless of whether they pursued a career in psychology or elsewhere.

A great deal of psychological content, taught or used by psychologists, focuses on critically thinking. Critical thinking is considered to be an essential life-skill. Psychology courses can develop the analysis & evaluation skills that are important in business, law, and other professions. A knowledge of human behavior is one of the ‘attractive skills’ for Psych majors have when it comes to gaining employment. Moreover, an understanding of basic psychology allows a person to be a more effective supervisor/manager as they rise through teh workforce.  Studying psychology doesn’t necessarily make you psychologically healthier (any more than studying medicine makes you physically healthy), yet Psych majors do have this knowledge at their fingertips.

For resources in psychology, the Nantucket Atheneum offers, the GALE Psychology Collection. This database provides access to authoritative journal content supporting research in all fields of psychology— abnormal, biological, cognitive, comparative, developmental, personality, quantitative, social and all areas of applied psychology. Student, researchers, psychologists, counselors, and behavioral scientists will discover relevant information from the thoughts, views, discoveries, and reports found in this comprehensive collection. Start researching more about psychology today!

July Author Talks Focus On The Funny, Fascinating and Informative

This month the Nantucket Atheneum hosts a broad selection of renowned authors with topics ranging from making New York City home to the private life of socialite Bunny Mellon, there is something for everyone.

Cherie Burns has been a feature journalist since 1975. Her work has appeared in The New York Times Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Glamour, among other publications. She has written four books, most recently Diving for Starfish, which chronicles the histories surrounding three spectacular starfish brooches created before the Second World War. The book is a remarkable account of one of the world’s most alluring pieces of jewelry.

(Burns will speak in the Great Hall on Friday, July 6 at 8 P.M. Free admission.)

Boston-based journalist Rachel Slade investigates the sinking of the container ship El Faro in Into The Raging Sea. On October 1, 2015, Hurricane Joaquin barreled into the Bermuda Triangle and swallowed the ship whole, resulting in the worst American shipping disaster in thirty-five years.
How could a vessel equipped with satellite communications, a sophisticated navigation system, and cutting-edge weather forecasting vanish?
(Slade will speak in the Great Hall on Tues. July 10 at 8 P.M. Free aadmission.)

Adam Gopnik is a writer and a essayist. He has been a staff writer for the New Yorker since 1986. He has written many bestselling books including The Table Comes First, Angels and Ages and Paris to the Moon. His most recent book, a memoir, entitled At The Strangers’ Gate is a portrait of his move to New York City in the 1980s. Gopnik is that rare breed of writer who can write about a vast range of topics with fluency and authority.

(Gopnik will speak at the Great Harbor Yacht Club on Monday, July 16. $25 admission, tickets on sale at the library or online. )

When Bunny Mellon died in 2014 at the age of 103 the public knew little about her beyond her wealthy aristocratic facade. In Bunny Mellon The Life of an American Style Legend Meryl Gordon deftly pulls back the curtain on a fascinating American icon. Gordon, who was given unprecedented access to Mellon’s letters and diaries, writes about a side few had seen. Gordon  is an award-winning journalist and a regular contributor to Vanity Fair.  She teaches journalism at New York University.

(Gordon will speak in the Great Hall on Wednesday July 18 at 8 P.M. Free admission.)

Island resident Dr. Rocco Monto has written The Fountain, a bestselling book on aging. Monto is an award-winning orthopedic surgeon and sports medicine specialist. He is an expert on health, aging, diet, nutrition, and fitness. Monto is internationally recognized for his pioneering clinical research on orthobiologics. The Fountain is a practical and scientifically based anti-aging guide packed with useful information and actionable advice.

(Monto will speak in the Great Hall on Tuesday July 31 at 8 P.M. Free admission.)

Find Atheneum Books Using Your Computer’s Web Browser

The Nantucket Atheneum is piloting a program that will hopefully make it more convenient to find books at the library when you are shopping online. Library Extension is a browser add-on for Chrome that will alert library patrons if a book is available at the Atheneum while they search for titles on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other major bookseller sites.

Borrowing books is a cost-effective way to read and Library Extension will make it easier to compare the Atheneum’s collections with your shopping cart. Not ready to commit to buying that new novel or cookbook? Library Extension will let you know if you can borrow a copy instead. This is also a great option if a bookseller is out of stock and you want to get a jump start on your next book club pick.

How does it work?

Any time you search for a book title on a major bookseller website, like Amazon, Library Extension will pop up and alert you if the book is available at the Atheneum. From there, you can place a request with your library card to order the book.

How do I install Library Extension?

  1. To begin, you must have Chrome installed as your internet browser
  2. Next, visit to download Library Extension
  3. Once the download is complete, a small book icon should appear in the upper-right corner of the page
  4. Click on the book icon and choose “Massachusetts” and “Nantucket Atheneum” from the appropriate pull-down menus
  5. Once the program is installed, nothing more is required

The next time you visit a major bookseller website and search for a title, Library Extension will activate and let you know if the Atheneum owns the book. Library extension will remain inactive when you are browsing non-book websites and you have the option to pause searching or delete the program at any time.

Please note that Library Extension is only formatted for Chrome but a version for Firefox is in the works. This program can only search for books at the Nantucket Atheneum. Materials from our larger consortium of CLAMS libraries will not appear.

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Dance Festival Features the Best of Classical & Contemporary Ballet

Join the Nantucket Atheneum in celebrating the eleventh annual Nantucket Atheneum Dance Festival July 24- 28, 2018. The festival includes four days of free community events, culminating in two extraordinary performances on Friday, July 27 and Saturday, July 28, 6 p.m. at the Nantucket High School Auditorium.

This year’s performances feature 17 remarkable dancers from the New York City Ballet, Houston Ballet, and the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Tyler Angle, Principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, is returning as Artistic Director for the festival.

This year’s dance program features classic work from George Balanchine as well as contemporary pieces from Melissa Barak, Christopher Wheeldon, Crystal Pite, Stanton Welch, Jean-Christoph Maillot, Pam Tanowitz, and a new work from Alex Goodwin.

In addition to two evening performances, there will be a free screening of the documentary film

Danseur on Tuesday, July 24 at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Atheneum. The film explores the gender barrier for boys interested in pursuing ballet. Director Scott Gormley will be present for Q & A following the film.

A dance-themed Story & Craft for children ages 4-10 will be held at the Nantucket Atheneum on Wednesday, July 25 at 9:45 a.m. and 11 a.m. This program is an excellent primer for the Children’s Performance & Program on Friday, July 27 at 11 a.m. which gives children an opportunity to see world-class dancers perform and learn about ballet. The Children’s Performance will be held at the Nantucket High School Auditorium.

For experienced young dancers, the youth master class offers a unique opportunity to learn from the best dancers in the world. The Youth Master Classes on Wednesday, July 25 at 9:30 a.m. and 11 a.m. at the Nantucket High School Auditorium are open to those ages 5 to 18 with two years of dance experience.

Dance Festival Artistic Director Tyler Angle brings participants into the process of creating a dance with A Close Up On Choreography on Wednesday, July 25 at 5 p.m. in the Great Hall. Join us for an intimate program featuring choreographers and dancers.

For a special preview into the evening performances attend A Look Behind The Curtain on Thursday, July 26 at 4 p.m. in the Nantucket High School Auditorium. This program gives attendees an insider’s view of the dance works and is led by Dance Festival Artistic Director,Tyler Angle.

The Dance Festival is the Atheneum’s primary fund-raising event. The proceeds enable the Atheneum to bring vibrant programs and services to the Nantucket community year round.

Please visit for complete information. Tickets can be purchased online or at the box office in the Great Hall of the Nantucket Atheneum starting July 1. The Dance Festival benefits the library and proceeds go directly to support programs and services all year.

Britannica Library logo

Britannica Library

By Lincoln Thurber
Atheneum Reference Librarian

For kids, summer is a time for play, the beach, and relaxation; but it can be the perfect time for inquisitive exploration through new learning.
While kids are take a break from structured school work over the summer (and we know that’s important too), they also can lose a portion of the learning they gained during the past school year. Summer learning loss—a.k.a. the “summer slide”.  However, that slide need not happen!

The Atheneum has access to many databases provided by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and  Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners and is funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency.  Two of these updated tools are the Britannica Library and its spanish language counterpart Britannica Escolar. Both give our library three levels of information: Children (Primaria), Young Adults (Secundaria); and the Reference Center for older students and adults. Patrons can choose the age-appropriate level that works best for them; and will find it easy to conduct research and work on special projects.  The content is well organised, reliable, and just what parents would want their kids to be using for independent study.

But, while the Britannica tools are helpful for structured assignments they can also provide a ready sources for quicks read, age appropriate articles to spark young minds during the summer.  After a trip to the beach use Britannica to find out more about the Atlantic ocean, about the Cod fish, or even how our sandy beaches are formed.  A trip to town might inspire the question, “Where is a New Zealand where this sweater was made” or “what is the significance of Tibetan prayer ribbons, I saw in the bookshop?”

The power of Britannica is its quality of content.  Britannica has subjects experts and well known scholars producing their articles, create their maps and providing video content.  This content is often unique; content often not found outside of Britannica.

So check-out Britannica Library and Britannica Escolar , from the Database Page  they are a great set of resources to have available young minds during the summer.

Remember, you can use Britannica all summer long!

Small Business eResources

By Lincoln Thurber
Atheneum Reference Librarian

Starting a business is easy, said nobody, ever.

And, if you’re already running your own small business, you know that there are constant challenges to your ongoing success. It’s easier to meet those challenges, and ensure your business continues to grow and thrive if you have solid information about basic business activities. From taxes, insurance, and contracts it is good to have a resource to help you keep your business running smoothly.

When you live in the business world, continuing to seek knowledge and staying up to-date with the latest industry trends Becoming the Boss cover imageis vital. If not, you risk falling behind your competitors. Most business owners start with a particular acumen, whether it be an expertise in marketing, or just a good idea to fill a market they see locally. Beyond that, business owners either need to partner with individuals with different strengths or get to studying!

Luckily, there are many prolific entrepreneurs and businesspeople who are more than willing to share their expertise. However, rather than buying the books to sift through all information you might need, the library can be your resources that saves you money and saves your business money.

“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young.” – Henry Ford

There are many business resources to examine, so the Nantucket Atheneum has narrowed down what we believe to be the best business resources we have online. And these supplement the physical books we have on shelves, covering subjects ranging from Accounting, Classic Business Books, Consumer Behavior, Hospitality, Economics, Management and Employee Training.

Hospitality, Tourism and Leisure

Vocations and Career CollectionSmall Business Collection



While the Atheneum has many databases, we hope you will find insight and knowledge to help the local economy from our business subjects in the Small Business eResources page.

2018 Summer Speakers Offer Insight Into Our Culture And Times

This summer the Nantucket Atheneum, the island’s public library, presents five lectures as part of the library’s ongoing Constance Laibe Hays Memorial Lecture series and Geschke Lecture Series. Each speaker brings their expertise on topics that range from humorous musings on American culture to serious explorations on the science of climate change, American foreign policy, and security and privacy issues in the age of data mining and cyber attacks.

Constance Laibe Hays Memorial Lecture

Adam Gopnik

On Mon., July 16 Adam Gopnik, a New Yorker staff writer and author, presents the Constance Laibe Hays Memorial Lecture at the Great Harbor Yacht Club. Gopnik, best known for his “long essays on big thinkers” in the New Yorker and for his “comic personal essays,” which look at the culture of modern times, has won the National Maga­zine Award for Essay Writing and the George Polk Award for Magazine Reporting.

In his most recent book, At the Strangers’ Gate: Arrival in New York, (published September 2017) Adam shares his experiences moving from Montreal to New York in the 1980s.  On Nantucket, Gopnik brings his genial humor and smart commentary to the topics of society, culture and politics.

Established in 2006, the Constance Laibe Hays Memorial Lecture was created in memory of long-time New York Times reporter and the author of The Real Thing: Truth and Power at the Coca-Cola Company, Constance Laibe Hays. She considered the Nantucket Atheneum one of her favorite places in the world. In 2005, Mrs. Hays died of cancer. To support the work of both new and established writers, her family and friends established the lecture in her honor.

Geschke Lecture Series

Dr. John Holdren

The Geschke Lecture Series, established in 2005, kicks off on Mon., July 30 with climate change scientist and policymaker Dr. John Holdren at the Great Harbor Yacht Club.

After serving as top science and technology advisor to U. S. President Barack Obama, Dr. Holdren is now at the Woods Hole Research Center (WHRC), the world’s top ranked independent climate-change think tank, as a senior adviser to WHRC president.

For eight years Dr. Holdren was Assistant to the President for Science and Technology, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and Co-Chair of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Dr. Holdren will provide an update on the latest climate change data as well as his view on where American and international policies stand related to addressing the impact created by the warming of planet Earth.


Retired US Army General David Patraeus sits down for a conversation with Atheneum board chair Robert Greenspon on Thurs., Aug. 9 at the Nantucket High School.

Gen David Petraeus

General Petraeus served as Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (2011-2012) and commanded U.S. and International Security Forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.  He is currently partner and chairman of KKR Global Institute and a professor at CUNY’s Macaulay Honors College and the University of Southern California.  A graduate of the United States Military Academy, General Petraeus also earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and later completed a fellowship at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.

In what is sure to be a wide ranging conversation, the pair will address security issues related to the country.

The 2018 Geschke Lecture Series concludes on Mon., Aug. 13 with retired Ambassador R. Nicholas Burns at the White Elephant Village Conference Center.

Amb. R. Nicholas Burns

Ambassador Burns teaches diplomacy and international relations at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government where he is founder of the Future of Diplomacy Project and Faculty Chair for the Programs on the Middle East and on India and South Asia. During his long career in the U.S. State Department he has served under U.S. Presidents George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. Burns was also ambassador to Greece.  At the State Department he has served on the National Security Council, NATO, been director of Soviet Affairs and a spokesman for the Department of State.

On Nantucket, Ambassador Burns discusses foreign policy and American diplomacy.

For 13 years the Atheneum has presented a celebrated and diverse roster of speakers who address key issues of the day as part of the library’s Geschke Lecture Series. The events are held in July and August each year.

Through its year round calendar of programs and events, the Nantucket Atheneum is committed to providing the island community with access to engaging and thought-provoking presentations that help us understand our community and the world.

Tickets for each lecture cost $25 and will be available beginning July 1 at the library or online at

Books For The Season: The Natural World

By Elizabeth Kelly

When the weather warms and fresh air beckons it is easy to appreciate the beauty of the world as it blooms. Natural wonders can be found all around, including on the bookshelf. The following pages bring to life the tiniest of specimens and furthest of stars to be enjoyed any time of year.

The Living Forest: A Visual Journey into the Heart of the Woods, written by Joan Maloof with photography by John Llewellyn, is a remarkable collection of nature images. The oversized book explores forests from the ground up with the intention of educating and inspiring readers to take care of these fragile ecosystems. Maloof writes, “It is our wish that increased understanding will provide motivation for allowing the forest to continue unimpeded on its wild trajectory.” Each page explodes with the vivid colors of the flora and fauna that inhabit untouched woodland environments.

Armchair astronomers will swoon over Universe: Exploring the Astronomical World compiled by Phaidon publishing. The large, glossy pages showcase astronomical prints, paintings, drawings, and photography in a collection that is somehow eccentric and perfectly aligned all at once. Universe covers all aspects of the night sky, from illuminated manuscripts of celestial study to stunning, two-page spreads of nebula astrophotography with colors that explode off of the page. It is a must-see for anyone who has ever glanced up at the sky and wondered what was beyond.

Author Peter Wohlleben explores the social interaction of plants in The Hidden Life of Trees. Forests may look like quiet, passive landscapes but Wohlleben’s investigation reveals an active community of underground interaction between trees and the surrounding earth. According to new scientific studies, trees are able to slowly transmit messages through electrical impulses in their root systems with the help of fungi in the soil. This system has been given the playful moniker of the “wood wide web.” Some trees can detect when they are being damaged by predators and send out a bitter signal into their leaves to prevent further assault. The Hidden Life of Trees is the first in a series of three natural history books by Wohlleben.

Elizabeth Kelley is a reference librarian at the Nantucket Atheneum.