Seaford Library hosting Spring Speaker Series

The Seaford Public Library will be hosting a spring speaker series, which began last month and will continue through May.
The Seaford Public Library will be hosting a spring speaker series, which began last month and will continue through May.
Christina Daly/Herald

Have you ever wondered how the Great Pyramid of Giza was constructed? Or how Long Island shipwrecks have affected marine life? 

Seaford residents can learn this and more at the library during the annual Spring Speaker Series, which began last month and will continue through May. “Our goal is to enhance the lectures we have throughout the year and make sure the topics are of interest,” said Frank McKenna, who has been the director of the library for six years. “Spring is the optimum time, because people go away during the summer or are actively involved with our summer reading club.”

The Spring Speakers Series was launched three years ago.Prior to that, the library had hosted a speaker series during the winter. McKenna noted that spring is a better time of year for seniors and other residents who are unable to drive or walk in the cold and snow. 

The adult program is made possible by partnerships with local businesses and community organizations. Astoria Bank is a corporate sponsor, and Seaford American Legion Post 1132, the Kiwanis Club and the Historical Society each subsidize a talk.  “It is terrific that the library and these four Seaford entities can work so well together for the benefit of our community,” said Peter Ruffner, who has been the president of the library board of trustees for 12 years. “The staff did a good job with finding speakers that touch upon a wide variety of topics.”

The 2017 Spring Speaker Series kicked off on March 20. The legion co-sponsored the first lecture, given by Dr. Michael A. Barnhart, a history professor at Stony Brook University. 

Barnhart’s talk focused on America’s intervention in World War I — which, he told more than two dozen attendees, was not inevitable. Barnhart focused on the political and diplomatic components of the British, German and American governments that led to President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to enter the war. 

Dr. Regina T. Gilbert, an adjunct professor at Hofstra University, is the next speaker. She will give a presentation about one of the greatest mysteries of all time on April 20 at 1 p.m. 

Gilbert will delve into the recent discovery of a 4,500-year-old diary written on papyrus by a foreman who helped build the Great Pyramid of Giza. This document has given archeologists new insight into the construction of the only remaining wonder of the ancient world, according to a library press release.

Gilbert has taught graduate-level classes at Hofstra for two decades. For 31 years she also served in various educational roles in the West Hempstead School District. She is a guest lecturer on ancient Egypt for the Molloy Institute for Lifelong Learning program at Molloy College. 

The Kiwanis Club is co-sponsoring Gilbert’s lecture. “This event helps us promote each other and to make people … aware of the services we provide for Seaford,” McKenna said of the partnership. “Our goal is to enhance the sense of community.”

The series will conclude on May 17 at 7 p.m. with The Eco-Photo Explorers — an organization that promotes public interest in protecting the undersea environment through use of underwater photography. It will offer a visually stimulating program, Ruffner said.

Representatives of the group will discuss the history of Long Island shipwrecks, from the Revolutionary War through modern times, and will show underwater photographs. They will also talk about the marine life that inhabits the artificial reefs formed by the debris. 

The Eco-Photo Explorers have had photography featured in national and international publications such as Natural Geographic Adventure, Immersed, Advanced Diver, Discover Diving, Diver Magazine, Lighthouse Digest and WW II Magazine. The Historical Society is co-sponsoring their presentation.  

Each free talk will be held in the library’s Valentine A. Meehan community meeting room. Registration for Gilbert’s lecture opened on April 3 and is ongoing. On April 27, patrons can sign up to attend the Eco-Photo Explorers event.

Patricia Coughlin, board vice president, said she is hoping for a good turnout at both presentations. She said she was pleased with the speaker line up. “I’m eager to learn more about each of these interesting topics,” she added. 

Ruffner said that the program is unique to Seaford. The Seaford community gets “the biggest bang for its library buck” of the 54 libraries in Nassau County, he said, because the board and staff are always looking to improve services without burdening residents and business owners with high taxes. 

“Not many public libraries on Long Island organize such a program for its patrons,” Ruffner said of the Spring Speaker Series. “It’s very heartwarming working with the other organizations.”

For more information on the series, call (516) 221-1334 or visit