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Open house for 'Great Decision' makers

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

WILBRAHAM There are a lot of things to talk about in today's global climate -- the Middle East, human rights, a global food crisis. That's why the Wilbraham Public Library will be hosting an open house for those interested in joining a Great Decisions discussion group this week.

The open house, taking place from 4 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 15, will allow those interested in discussing current affairs the chance to learn about the Foreign Policy Association's Great Decisions 2009 discussion group. These groups meet all over the country, and the one being offered by the library will be the first in Hampden County.

"We did a strategic plan for the library a few years ago, and decided a library is a place for the community to come together," Karen Demers, adult services librarian, said. "We've had popular book discussion series in the past and we're hoping this discussion series will follow that trend."

Demers said the idea for starting a Great Decisions group came from members of the Friends of the Wilbraham Library.

"We haven't done it before," Marjorie Schoen, a member of the Adult Events Committee of the Friends, said. "We thought it would be fun to try."

Great Decisions 2009 has chosen eight topics for discussion: The U.S. and Rising Powers, Afghanistan and Pakistan, Energy and the Global Economy, the Arctic Age, Egypt in the 21st Century, Global Food Supply, Cuba After Castro and Universal Human Rights.

Participants of these discussions will have the ability to have their opinions tallied in a national opinion poll, which then gets sent to Congress.

"This is a wonderful program to learn more about what is happening in the world and to have your voice heard by people who make the decisions," Demers stated.

She added that the group is for people of all levels they just need an interest in world affairs. And, for those who want to learn more about the topics up for discussion, Great Decisions offers a briefing book with 15-page chapters on each topic for $18 each. The book will be available at the open house.

"It's good to discuss the things going on," Schoen said. The open house will allow interested parties to choose which topics they would most like to discuss, she continued. This first session may be a shortened one of only four or five topics, depending on interest.

Demers said she is hoping for 15 to 25 individuals to attend the open house and sign up for the discussion group. She believes that would be a good number of members for the group; if there are any more than that, it may be difficult to allow everyone to discuss the topic at hand.

A second open house for the Great Decisions discussion group will take place on Dec. 10.

For more information, visit or call the Wilbraham Public Library at 596-6141.