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1171 Main Street
St. Johnsbury, VT, 05819
United States



Adult Events

Filtering by: Discussion Series

6:00 PM18:00

BYOB: Bring Your Own Book Discussion

BYO Book.jpg

Celebrate Women’s History Month. Borrow and read Remarkable Minds: 17 more pioneering women in science & medicine OR a book of your choice about women in science (even picture books count). Join us for lively discussion about these inspirational women.  All ages welcome. Bring your own brown bag dinner or snacks. Drinks will be provided.

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6:30 PM18:30

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Bury the Chains

For the November meeting of the Athenaeum's non-fiction book discussion group, we will read and discuss Bury the Chains: Prophets and Rebels in the Fight to Free an Empire's Slaves, by Adam Hochschild, a narrative of the struggle to abolish the slave trade in the British Empire.

We have multiple copies available for check out at the circulation desk. If you would like to reserve a copy,  speak with any circulation staff, or email librarian Christian Collins at

Refreshments will be served.





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6:30 PM18:30

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Presidential Leadership

Thanks to everyone who took part in our September non-fiction book discussion about Shackleton and the voyage of the Endurance. Our next meeting will be Wednesday, October 26th at 6:30 pm. We will be exploring the theme of presidential leadership, and the qualities that make some U.S. presidents stand out as visionary and effective leaders, with a particular focus on U.S. presidents up through the early 20th century.

You are encouraged to choose a book from the list below-- or another one from our collection or your personal library-- read it, and come prepared to share the insights you've gleaned about presidential leadership.

Refreshments will be served.

Suggested Reading:

-Chernow, R. (2010). Washington: A life.

-Ellis, J. J. (1997). American sphinx: The character of Thomas Jefferson.

-Foner, E. (2010). The fiery trial: Abraham Lincoln and American slavery

-Goodwin, D. K. (2013). The bully pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of journalism.

-Gordon-Reed, A., & Onuf, P. S. (2016). "Most blessed of the patriarchs": Thomas Jefferson and the empire of the imagination.

-Gordon-Reed, A. (2008). The Hemingses of Monticello: An American family       

-McCullough, D. G. (2001). John Adams.

-Meacham, J. (2008). American Lion: Andrew Jackson in the White House.

-Russell, F. (2005). Adams, an American dynasty. Edison, N.J: Castle Books.

-Shlaes, A. (2013). Coolidge. 

-Vidal, G. (2003). Inventing a nation: Washington, Adams, Jefferson

-White, R. C. (2009). A. Lincoln: A biography.

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7:00 PM19:00

Vermont as a Model for Sustainable Living & Economics

The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and the Shambhala Meditation Center of St. Johnsbury are delighted to present an inspiring and interactive dialogue among experts in the fields of economics, leadership, climate action and community building.Join these presenters for an evening of food, conversation and creative thinking:

  • George Lakey, author of Viking Economics
  • Jane Arthur, former director of Vermont Leadership Institute
  • Gwendolyn Hallsmith, founder of Vermonters for a New Economy
  • K.C. Whiteley, board member from

Vermont can be the forerunner, and lead the nation toward a sustainable future!

People often say that Vermont is too small and our footprint is relatively insignificant, therefore there's really not much we can do to affect change. In fact, our political system, economic structure, and way of life are more conducive to positive change, for those same reasons. 

Vermont has what it takes to be a forerunner in establishing a sustainable lifestyle in the face of climate disruption:

  • We have the financial infrastructure that could readily lend itself to establishing a state bank. A state-owned bank could retain millions of dollars in Vermont for construction of roads and bridges, to fund our schools and agricultural enterprises, retro-fit our homes for energy efficiency, and invest in alternatives to fossil fuels.
  • We have young people coming to Vermont with energy and ideas for local sustainable farming practices and distribution of nourishing foods.
  • Our legislators are accessible and we have a reverence for Nature--Vermont could actually be a model for the rest of the nation.

The goal of the evening is to join our minds and hearts in the spirit of moving forward--moving things in a better direction!

Refreshments will be provided. The only other ingredient is you. 

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7:00 PM19:00

1st Wednesdays: Philip Caputo: Putting the Sword to the Pen

Journalist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author of A Rumor of War Philip Caputo will discuss the treatment of war in his writing in a talk at St. Johnsbury Athenaeum on October 5 at 7:00 pm. His talk, “Putting the Sword to the Pen,” is part of the Vermont Humanities Council’s First Wednesdays lecture series and is free and open to the public.

Caputo will reflect on how, in his work, war is a context in which our contradictory natures play out, often with stark clarity.

Caputo has written 16 books. His acclaimed memoir of Vietnam, A Rumor of War, has been published in 15 languages, sold two million copies since its publication in 1977, and is widely regarded as a classic in the literature of war. He has published dozens of major magazine articles, reviews, and op-ed pieces in publications including The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Washington Post, and National Geographic. He has won ten journalistic and literary awards, including the Pulitzer Prize in 1973 for team investigative reporting with the Chicago Tribune. He was born in Chicago, graduated from Loyola University, and served in the US Marine Corps from 1964 to 1967.

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6:00 PM18:00

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Antarctic/Arctic Exploration

Join us to read and discuss stories of exploration, discovery, and danger in the coldest parts of our planet WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 14th at 6pm.

This month’s theme is inspired by Caroline Alexander’s The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition, the Vermont Humanities Council 2016 VERMONT READS book. The Athenaeum has 15 copies of The Endurance available for loan to patrons on a first-come-first-served basis.

We also have a variety of resources on exploration in the Antarctic and Arctic regions. Participants are encouraged to pick up a copy of The Endurance and/or another book from the list below, read them, and come prepared to discuss and share. Refreshments will be served.

Selected Arctic/Antarctic Exploration Books from the Athenaeum Collection

Berton, Pierre. The Arctic Grail: The Quest for the North West Passage and the North Pole, 1818-1909.

Bryce, Robert M. Cook & Peary: The Polar Controversy, Resolved.

Byrd, Richard E. Alone: The Classic Polar Adventure.

Henderson, Bruce. True North: Peary, Cook, and the Race to the Pole.

Herbert, Wally. The Noose of Laurels: Robert E. Peary and the Race to the North Pole.

MacPhee, R. D. E. Race to the End: Amundsen, Scott, and the Attainment of the South Pole.

Niven, Jennifer. The Ice Master: The Doomed 1913 Voyage of the Karluk.

Perkins, Dennis N. T, Margaret P. Holtman, and Jillian B. Murphy. Leading at the Edge: Leadership Lessons from the Extraordinary Saga of Shackleton's Antarctic Expedition.

Tyler-Lewis, Kelly. The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea Party.

Worsley, Frank A. Shackleton's Boat Journey.

Worsley, Frank A. Endurance: An Epic of Polar Adventure.

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6:00 PM18:00

Non-Fiction Book Discussion Group: Syria and the Middle East

Join us to read about and discuss Syria and the Middle East.

Our first monthly non-fiction book discussion group is inspired by this summer’s “Syria to St. Johnsbury/ St. Johnsbury to Syria” program series.

We will meet Wednesday, August 17th at 6pm for a lively and wide-ranging discussion of Syria and the Middle East from a variety of angles and viewpoints. Participants are encouraged to choose a book (or books) from the following resources in our collection, read them, and come to discuss and share what you’ve read. 

All are welcome. You don’t need to have read to take part. We will also be discussing choices of topics for upcoming months. Refreshments will be provided.

Reading list

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