Postcards from Falmouth: Falmouth Schools

Rites of passage, secret passages, iconic teachers. Let Jim Kalperis and Otis Porter take you on a tour through the history of Falmouth’s schools, from tiny Lawrence Academy to the much newer facilities of Falmouth High School. In conversation with Barbara Kanellopoulos, they recount staff and student stories, and the many transitions that shaped Falmouth’s public school system.

Former faculty member Jim Kalperis remembers that one of those transitions, from the old Lawrence High School to its successor on Lakeview Avenue, was accomplished with a bit of student legwork. “The students all assembled in the old high school,” he says, “and whatever they could bring and carry by hand, they all marched from that school over to the new Lawrence School.” Library staff and visitors now park where the old building stood, and the high school has moved on again – not once but twice.

Watch the oral history recording here.

Explore the postcard collection here.

Dungeons and Dragons: Introduction and Character Creation

Curious about Dungeons and Dragons? Haven’t played in a while or want to hone your skills? Come up to the Young Adult room and let your imagination take off! Goblins, knights, wizards, and anything else you can think of! Players of all skill levels are more than welcome! Register here! Registration Page

Place: Falmouth Public Library Young Adult Room

Date: Friday, March 29th (3/29/2024)

Time: 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM

Joy of Learning, April 2024!

Come join us in  April for our ever-popular “Joy of Learning” series! We have offered Joy of Learning classes for many years, in April and October. They are taught by educators and other experts on a volunteer basis, for adults and for teens at a high school/college learning level.  

Come learn something new and have fun!  This program is free, sponsored by the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library.

This April, we have four classes:

Estate Planning Essentials with Jeff Oppenheim and Geoff Nickerson, 2 Mondays, 4/1 and 4/8, 3-4:30 pm

The Pathway for New Drug Approval in the U.S.  with Mary Taylor Burtis 3 Wednesdays, 4/4, 4/11 and 4/18, 4-5 pm (lectures will be recorded for later viewing)

Aspects of Ocean Biography with Charles Lea, 4 Thursdays 4/4, 4/11, 4/18 and 4/25, 11 am – noon

Poetry of Robert Frost with Jack Easterling, 1 Wednesday and 3 Tuesdays, 4/10, 4/16, 4/23 and 4/30, 2 – 3 PM (class size limited to 15) THIS IS NOW FULL WITH A WAITLIST.

Scroll down for description and registration for each class!

Estate Planning Essentials with Jeff Oppenheim and Geoff Nickerson, 2 Mondays, 4/1 and 4/8, 3-4:30 pm, click here to register!

The first week will focus on estate planning. Participants will learn why an estate plan is important, elements of a good plan. Topics covered will include Health Care Proxies/ MOLST elections/Living Wills, Durable Power of Attorney for Estate Planning Purposes, Health care proxies/MOLST elections,/living wills and Mass Homestead Exemption (basic or statutory, elderly or disabled homestead and homestead for property held in trust).

The second week will focus on trusts. What a Trust is, and is not, including necessary elements for the creation of trusts. We will explain how trusts can be useful, and their limitations – specifically in terms of liability protection, asset protection, and, as how trusts relate to MassHealth considerations.  We will differentiate between some different types of trusts- irrevocable trusts, revocable trusts, family trusts, marital trusts, and real estate trusts.  The presentation will include a brief review of some of the highlights of the 2023 Massachusetts Estate Tax law changes and what the changes mean for families and individuals as they consider their estates and the best avenues for passing their estates on to the next generations. 

Jeff Oppenheim has been an attorney in Falmouth since 1979. He is a graduate of Bowdoin College and Suffolk University Law School.  In 2010 Oppenheim and Nickerson LLP was formed with his partner Geoff Nickerson. Their law practice focuses on Estate Planning and Administration, Real Estate and Business Law.  The firm also represents a number of local non-profits. Attorney Oppenheim has been appointed by the Barnstable Probate Court to act as an Estate Administrator, Trustee, Guardian, Conservator and Conciliator. Geoff Nickerson is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Villanova University School of Law.  His primary areas of practice include transactional real estate, business advising, and estate planning and administration. Geoff is active in the Falmouth community, having served as past Chair of the Board of the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce, past President of the Falmouth Road Race.   Geoff presently serves as the Vice President of the Falmouth Scholarship Association. 

The Pathway for New Drug Approval in the U.S.  with Mary Taylor Burtis 3 Wednesdays, 4/4, 4/11 and 4/18, 4-5 pm (lectures will be recorded for later viewing), click here to register!

Mary Taylor Burtis, who has over 40 years of experience in this industry, will teach about how a drug is approved in the US and what information is publicly available regarding the FDA approval process. You will learn about the general clinical and nonclinical testing a drug must undergo before approval, what is on a drug label and how to get access to the label information. Other topics will be the length of time it takes (on average) to develop and get FDA approval of a new drug, the average cost of developing a new drug and how a company determines the price of a new drug. You will learn publicly available resources for learning about a drug’s safety profile.

Mary has over 40 years of experience, and is also an educator. She is an ex-US FDA Consumer Safety Officer with a long history of success providing regulatory and quality strategy for development of biotherapeutics. She has worked with US and international regulatory authorities, obtaining drug approvals with a focus on practical regulatory, quality, and compliance solutions. She is eager to teach interested people in the community about this topic!

Aspects of Ocean Biology with Chuck Lea, 4 Thursdays 4/4, 4/11, 4/18 and 4/25, 11 am – noon, click here to register!

This is a Falmouth Reads Together event for our 2024 book pick, The Finest Hours!

 Week 1) Changes with Depth. How do the bodies of fish and squid change as they live deeper in the ocean, what drives these changes? 

 Week 2) Growing the Ocean’s Gardens. What kind of plants grow in the open ocean, what processes shape the creation of the start of the food chains and how does productivity vary across the wide ocean realm?

Week 3) Oceanic Ecosystems. As humans, we can spot big differences in terrestrial biota (forest, plains deserts etc.) but where are the big differences in the ocean world and what maintains these patterns?

Week 4) Changes in the Ocean Realm- There are likely to be changes on the way for ocean ecosystems as we press forward into the future. Increased ocean temperature and acidification as well as pollution and fishing may shape the future ocean. Do we know what’s going on or are humans just blundering on?

Chuck has a master’s degree and PhD in Oceanography from Texas A&M University, and studied the distribution of deep-sea squid for those degrees. He taught Oceanography at the Sea Education Association for 34 years. Chuck lives in Falmouth with his wife, two sons, a dog and a cat.

Poetry of Robert Frost with Jack Easterling, 1 Wednesday and 3 Tuesdays, 4/10, 4/16, 4/23 and 4/30, 2 – 3 PM (class size limited to 15), click here to register! THIS IS NOW FULL WITH A WAITLIST.

Robert Frost has probably been the most widely read poet of the last century-by both scholarly and common readers. In this course we shall read, read aloud, examine and discuss the wide range of Frost’s poems-some well-known, some not, but all thoughtful and moving. These will mostly be chosen by the teacher, but some by individuals in the class. Collections of Robert Frost’s poetry will be available for pickup at the Reference Desk. Class size is limited to 15, so please only register if you are able to attend all four classes. THIS IS NOW FULL WITH A WAITLIST.

Jack Easterling was a veteran English teacher for more than 40 years, and an academic director at the Emma Willard School. He also co-wrote a book on writing.  



Dungeons & Dragons: Introduction and Character Creation for Adults

Are you an adult who is curious about Dungeons & Dragons and thinking about trying your hand at playing? Our program on Tuesday, January 16th from 6:30pm-8pm in the Hermann meeting room may be a great start for you!

In this two-in-one program we will start off with an introduction to the classic and ever popular game, Dungeons and Dragons (or D&D for short). The game’s popularity has grown a lot given its presence in popular series as well as the constantly growing wealth of videos, campaign streams, and podcasts, but what is D&D really about? We’ll jump in, share knowledge, and get everyone familiar with what’s at the core of this iconic tabletop roleplaying game. Then we’ll get into everyone’s favorite part, character creation! It also happens to be one of the most daunting aspects of the game for new players which is why we are happy, neigh delighted, to lend a helping hand! The program will have a heavy focus on walking through what you need to know for creating a character and filling in a character sheet of your own. At the end of this program everyone will have a character sheet of their own filled out so feel free to come in with some character ideas or be inspired as we go along!

Registration for this D&D program is required.  Click here to register!

This Introduction and Character Creation D&D program will also kick off our six week Dungeons & Dragons Adult Campaign.  The D&D Adult Campaign program is no longer taking new participants at this time so if you are interested in trying your hand at a D&D Adult Campaign with us, we will be doing another one in the Spring.  To stay informed about our upcoming library programs including D&D, sign up for the library’s weekly e-newsletter.

Pop-Up Art for Kids and Adults

We are happy to welcome back Pop-Up Art School on Tuesday February 6. In the morning, they will hold a program for adults, and in the afternoon, on the Falmouth Public Schools early release day, a creation program for kids 8-12.

For Children Ages 8-12: Make a painted clay yeti luminaria on Tuesday February 6 from 2:00 – 3:30 PM in the Hermann Room.

Pop-Up Art School provides everything you need! This activity is for children aged 8-12 without caregivers. This is a Falmouth Public Schools Early Release Day. Space is limited so registration is required.

Both programs are provided with support from the Board of Library Trustees.


For Adults: Make a needle-felted bird on Tuesday February 6 from 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM in the Hermann Room.

Pop-Up Art School provides everything you need! This activity is for adults. Space is limited so registration is required.




Joy of Learning, October 2023!

Come join us in October for our ever-popular “Joy of Learning” series! We have offered Joy of Learning classes for many years, in April and October. They are taught by educators and other experts on a volunteer basis, for adults and for teens at a high school/college learning level.  Come learn something new and have fun!  All classes are free to the public and are sponsored by the Friends of the Falmouth Public Library. 

We are offering five classes this October; all will meet in person. Here are the titles, see below for descriptions and registration links!

People, Land and Climate Change with Skee Houghton, 4 Mondays, 10/2, 10/9, 10/23 & 10/30, 2-3 pm (does not meet on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 10/16)

Discussion of Station Eleven with Monica Hough (this year’s Falmouth Reads book!) 4 Tuesdays, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 & 10/24, 4-5 pm

Poetry of Emily Dickinson with David Webb, 4 Wednesdays 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 &10/25, 10:30-noon

 Texture of Memory with Rae Nishi, 4 Wednesdays 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 & 10/25, 3-4 pm

 Written Language, Past and Present with Ryan Budnick, 4 Thursdays, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19 & 10/26 2-3 pm

Registration is required; click the link after the class title below, go to the library’s online event calendar, call the Reference Desk at 508-457-2555 x 7 or email us at Brochures are also available at the library!

People, Land and Climate Change with Skee Houlton, 4 Mondays, 10/2, 10/9, 10/23 and 10/30, 2-3 pm (does not meet on Indigenous Peoples’ Day 10/16) Register by clicking here!

The primary driver of climate change is carbon dioxide. What adds CO2 to the atmosphere? What removes it?  How has the concentration changed over the last 170 years and longer?  What can we do to slow or reverse the rise in CO2? This course will emphasize the role of land and land use in the global carbon cycle and in the management of future changes in climate. This class will meet in the Hermann Room.

Skee (R.A.) Houghton is senior scientist emeritus at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth. He was an active researcher at the Center for 35 years, studying the effects of land-use change on terrestrial carbon storage and climate change. He received a Ph.D. in ecology from Stony Brook University in 1979. He has worked at the Marine Biological Laboratory, at NASA, and has participated in numerous IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) assessments.

Discussion of Station Eleven with Monica Hough (this year’s Falmouth Reads book!) 4 Tuesdays, 10/3, 10/10, 10/17 and 10/24, 4-5 pm Register by clicking here!

This is also this year’s Falmouth Reads title! It depicts life after a devastating pandemic destroys most of the world’s population, and it took on new significance in 2020, reminding readers that “survival is insufficient,” and demonstrating the power of art, relationships, and maintaining humanity in an inhumane world. This discussion-based course will explore the ways in which Mandel uses structure, style and modern pop culture references to support her themes and create deeper meaning. We will investigate her incorporation of allusions ranging from Shakespeare to Sartre to Star Trek, and more. Participants should read the novel before the start of the course, as the non-linear structure plays an important roleit will be available to borrow at the Reference Desk. Limited to 20 participants; this will meet in the Bay Room. Please note that our fiction book club will read her recent book, Sea of Tranquility, for the November meeting-all are welcome!

Monica Hough has been teaching English at Falmouth Academy since 1986. She holds a B.A. in English from Yale University. Station Eleven is part of her ninth-grade English curriculum.

Poetry of Emily Dickinson with David Webb, 4 Wednesdays 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25, 10:30-noon. Click here to register!

Emily Dickinson is a candidate for “The greatest American Poet” award.  While many Americans know this about her, very few have actually read much of her poetry.  In spite of her unusually limited life-style — she had modest schooling, lived at home with her family in Amherst, Massachusetts, travelled very little, never married or really had a partner– she enjoyed a rich and lively intellectual and spiritual life.  She wrote about 1775 poems, most of these secretly, and she published just seven, all anonymously.  As she said to her would-be publisher and mentor Thomas Wentworth Higginson, “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” David has chosen 32 poems for this offering, eight per session, and hopes that a few friends of the Falmouth Library will choose to read, wrestle with, and discuss these poems with him. Limited to 20 participants; this will meet in the Bay Room.

David has taught Joy of Learning classes in October on short story writers, since 2016.  David is a 1964 graduate of Dennis-Yarmouth Regional High School, 1968 from Wesleyan, and he holds two advanced degrees from Columbia University.  He spent his entire career at Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, CT, where he taught English, mathematics, and Architectural Design and did college counseling.  He is now retired and lives with his wife in Cotuit.

Texture of Memory with Rae Nishi, 4 Wednesdays 10/4, 10/11, 10/18 and 10/25, 3-4 pm. Click here to register!

This course will cover how memories are formed, what happens when these processes are damaged, and how memories shape our identities, culture and history. This class will meet in the Hermann Room.

Rae is a retired neuroscientist with a PhD in Biology, and resides in Falmouth year-round. Prior to retirement, she was Director of Education at the Marine Biological Laboratory, and prior to that, she was a tenured full professor in the Neurological Sciences Department at the University of Vermont.

Written Language, Past and Present with Ryan Budnick, 4 Thursdays, 10/5, 10/12, 10/19 and 10/26 2-3 pm. Click here to register!

Writing is one of the most widespread and influential technologies in the world (that you are using right now!), and has taken many forms across space and time. This course covers the history of writing systems, from ancient Cuneiform and the recently deciphered Mayan through to modern spelling reform movements. Different types of writing systems are surveyed, demonstrating how the particular system used by a community may be the result of a combination of historical accident, political expression, and functional need. This class will meet in the Hermann Room.

Ryan Budnick has a bachelor’s degree in Linguistics from Princeton University and recently completed his Ph.D. in Linguistics at the University of Pennsylvania. While his research focuses on the formal modeling of language acquisition, he has a deep interest in bringing accessible linguistics education to general audiences. 

Great Decisions 2023

Great DecisionsAmerica’s largest civic discussion program on world affairs, is coming back to the Falmouth Public Library.  On Wednesday nights starting on May 31st and ending on September 6th, we will meet bi-weekly to discuss one of eight critical foreign policy challenges facing Americans in a non-partisan, open environment.  Prior to each session, participants will read the relevant chapter in the Great Decisions Briefing Book and watch the corresponding Master Class on DVD, which are available for checkout to participants at the reference desk.  Participants are encouraged to attend all eight sessions but you may choose to attend only certain topics.  Registration is required for each session and will be limited to 20 participants.  This program is sponsored by the Library Support Fund.

Energy Geopolitics …… Register Here
Wednesday, May 31st from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
How will changes in the energy industries impact relations between countries?  Access to oil and gas has long held an influence over the politics of individual nations and their relations with others. But as more countries move toward sustainable energy, and supply chain shortages affect the availability of oil and gas, how will this change the way in which the United States interacts with the outside world? By Carolyn Kissane
War Crimes …… Register Here
Wednesday, June 14th from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
What is a war crime? How does this definition apply to recent events in Ukraine?  Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has resulted in widespread charges of war crimes and calls for justice. But what exactly are war crimes? Opinions of what constitutes a war crime have evolved, as have ways to identify and punish the perpetrators. How will the war crimes committed in Ukraine be dealt with? By Francine Hirsch
China and the U.S. …… Register Here
Wednesday, June 28th from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
How will the United States respond to China’s growing global presence?  For the past ten years, the United States and China have been locked in a competition for who has the greatest global influence. One major point of contention is the status of Taiwanese sovereignty, which has become even more relevant recently with the possibility that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine may prompt China to take similar action regarding Taiwan. How will the United States engage a China which is increasingly seeking to expand its sphere of influence? By David Lampton
Economic Warfare …… Register Here
Wednesday, July 12th from 7:30pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
What comprises economic warfare? How have these measures been used recently against Russia?  Waging economic warfare consists of a variety of measures from implementing sanctions to fomenting labor strikes. Such tools are utilized by states to hinder their enemies, and in the case of the United States have been used as far back as the early 19th century. Since Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, economic warfare has been the main means for the west to challenge Russia. How effective will these sanctions be at convincing Russia to cease its war? By Jonathan Chanis
Politics in Latin America …… Register Here
Wednesday, July 26th from 7pm -8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
What does the emergence of various left-wing governments mean for countries in Latin America? Electoral results in Latin America over the past four years have led many observers of the regional/political scene to discern a left-wing surge in the hemisphere, reminiscent of the so-called “Pink Tide” that swept the area some 20 years ago. But how much do these politicians actually have in common? What implication does their ascendency have for the region? By Jorge Castañeda
Global Famine …… Register Here
Wednesday, August 9th from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
What causes famine? How can it be prevented in the future?  Fears of global food shortages have followed Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has disrupted grain shipments from the major grain producer. But what about countries and regions that were suffering before this impending shortage? How is famine defined, and how is it different from simple food shortages? What if any remedies are there? By Daniel Maxwell
Iran at a Crossroads …… Register Here
Wednesday, August 23rd from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
What is the future for relations between Iran and the U.S.?  By the fall of 2022, Iran was in a state of turmoil due to widespread protests against government-enforced wearing of the hijab, a failing economy, an ineffective new president, and the looming succession of the country’s leader, Ayatollah Khamenei. Abroad, renewal of the Iran nuclear deal seemed doubtful and tensions remain high between Iran, Israel, and Arab states. Many Iranians have lost hope of a better future, and the country seems at a crossroads. How should the United States deal with it? By Lawrence Potter
Climate Migration …… Register Here
Wednesday, September 6th from 7pm-8:30pm in the Hermann meeting room
How is climate change impacting human migration?  As climate change accelerates and drought and rising sea levels become more common, millions of people in affected regions must uproot themselves and seek safety elsewhere. Who are these affected individuals, and how might the United States aid them, and be affected by the migration? By Karen Jacobsen

Chair Yoga with Janet Returns in March!

Finishing out our Wellness Sampler series, we are happy to announce Chair Yoga with Janet is returning for March. Classes will take place on Mondays March 6, 13, 20, and 27 from 3-4 pm in the library’s Hermann Foundation Meeting Room! 

You should sign up for each class individually. This class has been very popular in the past and is capped at 20 attendees due to space. Please do not sign up for a class you do not expect to be able to attend.

Chair-supported yoga is a complete practice of seated and standing poses, stretches, and a final relaxation. It is appropriate for everyone, regardless of age, experience, or level of fitness. We’ll focus on improving flexibility, strength, breathing, and balance in a calm, supportive atmosphere–all with no need to get on and off the floor. All poses and breath exercises will be done either seated in a chair or standing, with the option of using the chair for just a bit of extra support.

Janet Gardner is a 500-hour graduate of the Kind Yoga School in Centerville and is a registered Yoga Alliance teacher.  Janet has a passion for sharing the benefits of yoga with everyone. She has been practicing yoga for four decades and teaching yoga and meditation in Falmouth since 2016.

These classes are free and sponsored by the Board of Library Trustees.

Wellness Classes with The Yoga Collaborative

In February our wellness sampler classes are with instructors from The Yoga Collaborative. Each class operates independently: feel free to register for one or all of them.

Tuesday February 7, 11am-12pm, in the Hermann Meeting Room: Qigong, with Andrew. Register

Qigong, like yoga, is an ancient mind body practice that utilizes breath, gentle movement, and awareness to create a more harmonious connection between mind, body, and spirit. Qigong is easy to learn and offers benefits like less stress and more energy. Join Andrew for this hour long class. The first 40 minutes will be spent practicing Qigong, then Andrew will lead your through a guided meditation followed by deep relaxation.

This class is appropriate for those brand new to Qigong as well as experienced folks. Patrons who enjoy gentle yoga will appreciate what Qigong offers. Please dress for exercise and bring a yoga mat.

Tuesday February 14, 11am-12pm, in the Hermann Meeting Room: Deep Stretch and Relax, with Niisa. Register.

Target chronically tight areas of the body with deep stretches that help relax the body and the mind; then move thru a slow flow of standing and balance poses that help bring fluidity and space to those same areas. The class ends with restorative poses that will leave you feeling more calm and grounded. 

All levels welcome. Please dress for exercise and bring a yoga mat.

Tuesday February 21, 11am-12pm, in the Hermann Meeting Room: Gentle Flow, with Jane. Register.

This class will provide yogis of all levels the opportunity to explore the connection between breath, movement and meditation. Variations and modifications will be provided so that each person can practice in a way that best fits their body.  

All levels welcome. Please dress for exercise and bring a yoga mat.

Tuesday February 28, 11am-12pm, in the Hermann Meeting Room: Vinyasa, with Ray. Register.

Join Ray as she guides you through a slow to moderate alignment focused Vinyasa flow that weaves in pranayama and meditation. Using the technology of Yoga, we can cultivate a deeper sense of awareness into our own self and practice. Modifications will be offered; this class is appropriate for all levels.

All levels welcome. Please dress for exercise and bring a yoga mat.

This class series is funded by the Board of Library Trustees.


Chess for all Ages

We are delighted to welcome chess expert Glenn Davison back, on Tuesday evening, January 24th at 6 pm, for a Zoom lesson-there will be also be an option to watch it from here, in the Hermann Room! Click here to register and get the Zoom link.

Partly due to a very popular (and Emmy and Golden Globe-winning!) miniseries on Netflix called “The Queen’s Gambit,” about a woman who breaks gender barriers in the male-dominated world of chess, chess has undergone a bit of a renaissance: many shops have sold out of chess sets! As Glenn says, there are many good messages in the show including reading, studying, preparation, learning, and practice.

Glenn is a lifelong chess player who has taught dozens of chess classes in Massachusetts resulting in hundreds of chess players and multiple chess clubs. He specializes in animated online chess classes that everyone can enjoy, often with grandparents learning at the same time as their grandchildren.

This class teaches the fundamentals of chess. In a little over an hour, you will learn the basics of playing chess including setting up, using the pawns and other pieces, special moves, tips and even how to win a game of chess in four moves.

Since teaching is done online with examples, interaction, animations and quizzes, a chess set is unnecessary. If you watch it here, though, you can play along with one of ours!

This event is free and appropriate for adults, teens and children ages 8 and up, and is sponsored by the Trustees of the Falmouth Public Library.  Registration is required before the event. Click here to register, or contact the reference department at 508-457-2555 x 7.