JAMESTOWN – The James Prendergast Library has decided it would be beneficial for area residents to have more information about various issues and concerns that have cropped up locally, regionally and across the nation. As a result, the library is hosting a series of forums that would provide information from experts on either side, in a discussion format – known as the Critical Discussion Series. The first discussion is tonight and will involve hydrofracking.
Prendergast Library reference director Bobbi Caswell says the series is not proposing to solve issues, but to give residents a place to come and hear from those directly involved, and ask questions, enabling them to make their own informed decisions.
“The library is the rock of the community. We provide information to people on a moment-to-moment basis. It’s important that we address issues that are important to people in the community so that they have a place where they can come, find out more information, ask questions and then form their own decisions on topics,” Caswell explains.
Caswell adds that other discussions will also take place during on a monthly basis during the winter months and the library has already selected some topics. However, it is also encouraging the public to come forward with its own ideas on what should be featured in an upcoming Critical Discussion Series.
“We have a general idea for the future, but we would also very much welcome anyone who would like to come forward and offer to chair a session in the future,” Caswell says. “We have also had members in the community who have offered their services to do things in the future for us. We are open to anything anyone wants to propose.”
As noted earlier, the first discussion in the series will take place tonight and focus on gas well fracking. Doug Champ, who has been chairman of the Chautauqua County Energy Expo for the last four years, has agreed to chair this first discussion by putting together a panel of experts to discuss different aspects of this issue. Among the panelists are Chautauqua County Executive Greg Edwards.
Tonight’s event is free of charge and open to all members of the public. It begins at 7 p.m. and will take place in the library’s fireplace room.
To learn more about tonight’s event, you can also listen to an interview with moderator Doug Champ earlier this week.