Noon Programs

The Monday series of talks, sponsored by the Friends of the Library,  are held at noon in the McChesney Room of the Central Library on Clinton Street. You may bring a bag lunch; coffee and tea are available for a nominal fee. The room is equipped with special devices for the hearing-impaired. These programs are also broadcast on the Schenectady Public Access channel.



November is New York History Month and the anniversary of some major events in New York-votes for women, the beginning of the Erie Canal, entrance into World War I, and the anti-women’s suffrage movement.  To acknowledge the important events that took place in our state, the Friends of the Library have organized a series of presentations on them.  A special thank you to Patricia Rush for coordinating the series.

October 30: “Spotlight: Albany and Anti-Suffrage” A new exhibit at the Albany Institute of History and Art, will be presented by Patrick Stenshorn, the Interpretive Program Manager at the Institute.  He will discuss the founding of the anti-women’s suffrage organization in New York in 1894.  Women were granted the right to vote in New York in 1917; three years later the federal government granted women the right to vote.

November 6: Erie Canal Brad L. Utter, Senior Historian and Curator of Science and Technology at the New York State Museum, will speak about the exhibit he has curated, Enterprising Waters: New York’s Erie Canal. Phase One of the exhibit, on display now, focuses on the beginnings of the canal 200 years ago, and chronicles the canal’s construction and its impact along the route.

November 13:  World War I Aaron Noble, Senior Historian and Curator of Political and Military History at the New York State Museum, will speak about the pivotal role New Yorkers played in all facets of World War I.  The exhibit he has curated, A Spirit of Sacrifice: New York State in the First World War, commemorates the centennial of New York’s entrance into the conflict.

November 20: The Electric Mule on the Erie Canal Most accounts of the Erie canal focus on its creation and its significance in early 19th century American history. Few, however, dwell on its last days. In this talk, Professor Andrew Morris of the Department of History at Union College, looks at the last ditch effort by canal supporters to revive it through the use of electricity, culminating in the high-profile test of a G.E. “electric mule” on a stretch of the canal in Schenectady.

November 27: Women’s Suffrage Jennifer Lemak, Chief Curator of History at the New York State Museum, will speak on the exhibit: Votes for Women: Celebrating New York’s Suffrage Centennial. She will be joined by Ashley Hopkins-Benton, Senior Historian and Curator of  Social History at the New York State Museum.
Information on the exhibits can be found at:


December 4:  Dr. Frank Strauss will entertain us with a program entitled Beautiful Music. We will listen to, view, and talk about an aria, “O mio babbino caro”, from Puccini’s opera Gianni Schicchi. There is more to this piece than just breathtakingly beautiful music. As is so often the case with wonderful music, many people perform it, and the personalities and circumstances of some of the performers may be as interesting as the music. “O mio babbino caro” has been sung by many soprano singers, with perhaps the most memorable being Maria Callas. We will view a short video biography of La Divina, and then watch, thanks to our friends at YouTube, some videos of Callas singing.

December 11: Professor Josef Schmee returns to SCPL to present two opera programs. The first program will be The Marriage of Figaro by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. This is a comic opera in four acts, composed in 1786. It is one of the ten most popular operas. The story deals with two servants, Figaro and Susanna, who succeed in getting married, thus foiling their philandering employer Count Almaviva, who attempts to seduce Susanna, and teaching him a lesson in fidelity.

December 18: Professor Schmee presents another very popular opera, Rigoletto, by Giuseppe Verdi. This opera is in three acts, and is considered to be one of Verdi’s masterpieces. The story revolves around the licentious Duke of Mantua, his hunch-backed court jester Rigoletto and Rigoletto’s beautiful daughter Gilda. Dr. Schmee will pay tribute to the famous Italian tenor Luciano Pavarotti, who was great in the role of the Duke of Mantua in this opera.