Thank you to all these presenters!

September 17, 2015

Sustained by Grace
within the Tempest

by Steven Heronemus

Steven Heronemus, Author & Presenter

People with ALS are often described as having a normal mind trapped in a shell of a body. In Shells: Sustained by Grace Within the Tempest, Steve Heronemus turns this image around, using seashells as metaphors for habits that reveal the joy and beauty of life no matter what the circumstance.

Heronemus, of Batavia, has lived with ALS since 2003, yet is happier than ever. He finds fulfillment in relationships, building opportunities for those living with disabilities, being an advocate, and writing. He has been recognized with several awards for community service.

Book website

Facebook Page

Video of Steve Sailing in Sheboygan

October 15, 2015

The New Psychology
of Success

  Carol S. Dweck, Ph.D.

Dr. Lisa Hichens, Presenter

We welcome Batavia Superintendent of Schools Hichens. Prior to becoming superintendent, she served Batavia as a teacher, a dean, an assistant principal, and principal. In education the challenge is to prepare students for a future where jobs as we currently know them may no longer exist and to teach skills that will always be relevant. This book explores how educators, parents and anyone can be motivated by an effective mindset.

Hichens is in her third year as Superintendent of Batavia District 101. She began her career teaching high school math in 1990, and has 15 years of experience with Batavia Public Schools as a teacher, dean, assistant principal of teaching and learning, principal, and now superintendent.

Within the community, Hichens is a member of the Batavia Kiwanis and sits on the Board of Directors for the Batavia Chamber of Commerce. She also serves on the governing boards for the John C. Dunham STEM Partnership School, the MidValley Special Education Cooperative, the Fox Valley Career Center, and the Batavia Foundation for Educational Excellence.

Dr. Hichens earned her Ed. D in Leadership in Curriculum and Instruction from Aurora University, where she also earned her superintendent’s endorsement. She received her Master of Science degree in Educational Leadership and her Type 75 General Administrative Certificate from Northern Illinois University. She earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics Education at the University of Illinois. She lives in Naperville, Illinois with her husband Matthew and their children, Emma (19) and Owen (16).

November 19, 2015

George Fabyan:
The Tycoon Who Broke Ciphers, Ended Wars, Manipulated Sound, Built a Levitation Machine, and Organized the Modern Research Center

 by Richard Munson

Richard Munson, Author & Presenter

Local author Munson discusses George Fabyan, the Fox Valley tycoon who sponsored and inspired a community of thinkers who advanced science in such diverse fields as acoustics, cryptography, genetics, and physiology.

He changed how we wage wars and keep secrets, and how we transmit sound and design buildings—but the whimsical Fabyan also tried to construct a machine to defy gravity and spent millions trying to prove Sir Francis Bacon wrote Shakespeare’s plays.

Dick Munson is the author of four other books.
From Edison to Enron recounts the history of electricity and suggests an innovation-based vision for the power industry. Cardinals of Capitol Hill traces the machinations of congressional appropriators who control government spending, and Cousteau: The Captain and His World examines the ocean explorer and filmmaker. California Governor Jerry Brown wrote of Munson's book The Power Makers, "...the most entertaining and informative guide to one of America's most important industries....It shows that business as usual doesn't work, and that a new generation of electricity entrepreneurs can supply the technological innovation this country needs.


December 17, 2015

The Ascent of Humanity:
Civilization and the Human Sense of Self

 by Charles Eisenstein

Roger Breisch, Presenter

In this wonderful exploration of human thought, Eisenstein explores how humanity came to this place and time in its history. He challenges some of the readers’ fundamental beliefs about many topics—including language, time, fire, science and mathematics—and illustrates how they have had a dramatic impact on our current view of the world. He talks extensively about how our separation from the rest of the biosphere jeopardizes our future…and how we might see our current path in new ways.

Roger has lived an eclectic life. He holds a Master of Science in Mathematics from Northern Illinois University and a Master of Science in Management from the Sloan School at MIT. His career includes teaching high school mathematics; managing an international chemical business; operating a management consulting company; and most recently, running the Batavia Chamber of Commerce for 10 years. He chaired the Batavia 4th of July Fireworks for 17 years, works with teens in an anti-alcohol, anti-drug program, and spent more than 2500 hours answering calls on a suicide hotline.

Today, Roger loves challenging audiences to see how their thinking keeps them from finding true happiness and success. He and Judi, his wife of 32 years, have two grown children and live in Batavia, Illinois. 


January 21, 2016

The Wright Brothers

 by David McCullough


Barbara Kalina, Presenter

When flying, did you ever wonder how and why the large object in which you and a hundred or more of your closest friends can be suspended in air within an immense metal-shrouded object, moving you to another address? Did you also wonder how the people in the front are able to put you in the air, guide the craft in a specific direction, and safely put you down on earth again? The Wright brothers’ queries began more simply: how do the birds fly, maneuver, and use air currents? Highly intelligent, vastly curious, untiringly persistent, the Wright brothers followed their dreams, their hearts, and their intelligence in doing what other more financially backed inventors failed to do: They invented a craft that would fly and introduced the world to the skill of the air pilot.

Immediately captivating, David McCullough’s The Wright Brothers pulls the reader into the minds and hearts of Wilbur and Orville Wright. He, also, pulled me into the world of these American geniuses. From one who knew nothing about planes, air currents, or combustible engines, I found myself wanting to know more. Dayton, Ohio, the Aurora Air classics Museum, and the Smithsonian Institutes Air and Space Museum have become destinations. Maybe I will even make it to Kitty Hawk. I guarantee that after reading this book, you, too, will want to be in the places where it all happened and where the event can be seen.

Kalina, a life-long resident of Batavia, relishes learning about the history of her hometown. Consequently, reading about the bustling town of Dayton, Ohio at the turn of the last century and the people who were influenced by the dynamism of the town, she was reminded about the bustling in Batavia during the same time. The sports adage of ”on any given day any given team can win” applies to the people of any hometown. It applied to the Wright brothers’ Dayton.

February 18, 2016

Batavia's Literary Skeletons

Mayor Jeff Schielke, Presenter

Batavia's Mayor Jeff Schielke makes his annual visit to the program to share stories and historical anecdotes about our city.

This year he will share a review of the fascinating literary skeletons he has found in articles and books that mention or discuss Batavia, Illinois.

Hollywood and revisionist historians have given Batavia a lot of local history to re-examine. As one of Batavia's chief historians, Mayor Schielke has a talent for finding and exploring what has been written about our city. Join us in February to discover his latest finds.

March 17, 2016

The Game:
Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers 

 by Jon Pessah

The Grind: 
Inside Baseball's
Endless Season

 by Barry Svrluga

Lester Munson, Presenter

Lester Munson, nationally known commentator and ESPN senior writer and legal analyst, returns for his annual visit to our program.

He will discuss two books
that look inside baseball from the perspectives of the owners, the commissioner, the players union, the players' wives, and the players themselves:  The Game: Inside the Secret World of Major League Baseball's Power Brokers by Jon Pessah and The Grind:  Inside Baseball's Endless Season by Barry Svrluga.

These books offer unique descriptions of the joys and the mysteries of baseball in America.


April 21, 2016

The Read-Aloud Handbook

by Jim Trelease

Maureen Jakubowski, Presenter

Our world today is dominated by technology, yet the benefits of reading aloud to your child have not diminished. Trelease’s book explains why it is more important than ever to read aloud to children. This handbook includes research, as well as a treasury of read-aloud books.

Jakubowski, a retired kindergarten and second grade teacher with Batavia Public Schools, is a former Batavia Public Library trustee and is involved with the Library’s “Born to Read” program.

May 19, 2016

Legendary Chicagoans

Rick Kogan, Presenter

Kogan, of the Chicago Tribune and WGN radio, returns to continue his discussion of Chicago legends. Last season he shared wonderful clips from a video library source he had found: Kogan is looking forward to sharing more clips and stories of legendary Chicagoans he came to know so well through his work and personal life.

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Books Between Bites
Batavia, Illinois