Read in Ned: Pushing the Limits

Jay Mann, Nederland.  My love of the natural world started at a very young age, with television programs like, “Nova” and “Nature.” As I grew older, that interest broadened into science. It dovetailed nicely with my strong sense of curiosity and a habit of asking lots of questions. In college, my interest was captured by ecology – in particular the relationships within a community and their effects. Teasing apart the interactions between plants and animals, inanimate and living was fascinating, and in retrospect, the human communities of field researchers that I worked with and got to know were pretty incredible too.

I believe that science is our current best understanding of reality.


Nederland is a community full of scientists. Many people might think that science is something done by ‘someone else,’ perhaps one of your neighbors. As the current threat to climate change research illustrates, it is clear that science impacts all of our lives. My intuition is that there are quite a few people in Ned who are not scientists but are still interested in the natural world and science’s potential applications. Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a forum where you could discuss science?

Now there is! We recently received a grant that will facilitate science discussion at your library.


The Nederland Community Library is pleased to announce that it has received a $3,500 National Science Foundation grant from the Califa Library Group to provide science-based programs for adults.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Math) and STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, & Math) are popular topics for children’s education, but rarely mentioned in relation to adults.

The programs funded by the grant are essentially “book club meets science café.” Attendees read a pre-announced popular book selection, then come to the library for an event in which they discuss the book, and then watch and discuss a short human interest video where scientific ideas touched on in the book intersect everyday life.

“The videos are engaging. There are no scientists in white coats. They’re people you would want to sit down and talk to,” said previous grant recipient Dwight McInvaill, Director of the Georgetown County Library in Georgetown, SC.

Rural Gateways is funded through the National Science Foundation and was created through a collaboration of Dartmouth College, The Califa Library Group, the Association of Rural and Small Libraries, Dawson Media Group, and the Institute for Learning Innovation.

There will be four discussions, each on a different theme and book. The books will be provided, and while you are encouraged to attend all the discussions, please feel free to only attend those of interest.

· Nature – T.C. Boyle’s When the Killing’s Done
· Survival – Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Water Knife
· Connection – Erik Larson’s Thunderstruck
· Knowledge – Douglas Adam’s Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
Look for announcements on the series’ dates soon. For more information, please email