Civilian experiences of the American Revolution in the Delaware Valley

TUESDAY, JANUARY 28, 2020 – 1:30 P.M.

Within the war zone of the American Revolution, civilians were killed, maimed, and raped; their property and public buildings destroyed. Some turned these dire circumstance into money making opportunities. Claude Epstein, a retired Stockton University Professor of Hydrology, an expert on the impact of European settlement on the Delaware Valley’s natural resources returns to the Library to continue stories about early settlers in our area.


An African American family’s experiences of slavery, repression and struggle

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 11, 2020 – 1:30 P.M.

For Black History Month, hear stories told by WilladineBain about her great grandmother and grandparents, her ex-slave grandfather who became a Savannah millionaire, her grandmother’s first husband who died in a duel, and about the precious gold necklace. Mrs. Bain, author of the “THE GOLD NECKLACE,” is a Howard graduate.  She retired from the School District of Philadelphia as Assistant Director of Curriculum. . 


Endangered animals rescued from the brink

TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2020 – 1:30 P.M.

Hear about successful efforts to save the Panamanian golden frog, Asian rhinos, American bison, mountain gorillas, bald eagles and other animals. Story-teller, zoologist and global wildlife  conservationist Bill Konstant tells of his personal experiences with international organizations dedicated to rescuing endangered species on four continents.


The environmental impact of fracking & plastic bags

TUESDAY, MARCH 10, 2020 – 1:30 P.M.

Environmental Engineer Kelly O’Day presents evidence of the ways Marcellus shale gas is changing the economics of plastic production and increasing the risks of plastic pollution and climate change. Recently retired from a career as an environmental engineering consultant, he is well-known in scientific circles as a knowledgeable advocate for the environment. 


Philadelphia superstar & actor Edwin Forrest - POSTPONED

In the interest of helping to limit the impact and spread of COVID-1,  The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library has postponed the remaining Winter 2020 Speakers Series Events 

In the early 19th Century, the most famous actor in America was Edwin Forrest, a complicated, notorious Philadelphian. Hear accounts of his sensational public divorce, his affinity for the hyper-masculine imagery of Jacksonian democracy, his participation in the Astor Place Riot, and other scandals. Arthur Bloom is the retired dean of Visual and Performing Arts at Kutztown University and the author of published books about Joseph Jefferson and Edwin Booth. 


The Delaware Valley Lenape – how their land was taken during European settlement - POSTPONED

 In the interest of helping to limit the impact and spread of COVID-1,  The Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library has postponed the remaining Winter 2020 Speakers Series Events  

Focusing on the political environment up to and during the American Revolution, this talk is an exploration of the Lenapes' quandaries, the roles played by Quaker Proprietors, the Pennsylvania Assembly, the frontier settlers, the Iroquois Nation and European governments. (This is an updated version of a previous talk at the Library.) Claude Epstein is a retired Stockton University Professor of Hydrology, an expert on the impact of European settlement on the Delaware Valley’s natural resources. 

highlights of the 2018-2019 Speaker Series events.


 Discover Philadelphia's Great Trees was a virtual sell-out 

Wednesday, January 16, 2019 - 6 p.m. 

The first event in the 2019 Soeaker Series was a virtual sell-out, with more than 100 neighbors attending as Ned 

Cyber Age Politics:  News Industry Reform 

Tuesday, January 22 at 1:30 p.m.

Local author Stan Cutler captivated the audience as he explored our polarized  condition, the commercialized news industry and Federal regulation. 

Civil War Medicine: What Went Right 

Tuesday, January 29 at 1:30

Another virtual sold-out presentation  about  extraordinary levels of battlefield carnage during the Civil War .

Chimpanzees, Jane & Me

Tuesday, February 5, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. 

Scientist Bill Konstant captivated the audience with  stories about training chimpanzees in America, being inspired by the work of Dr. Jane Goodall, and helping to ensure the survival of chimpanzees in their native Africa.   

Baseball: The Numbers Game 

Tuesday, March 12, 2019 at 1:30 P.M 

Data scientist Lindsey Murdah did a deep dive into the vast trove of baseball statistics that invite analysis to identify what has stayed the same and changed over the past 100 years. 

Yes, Learning is Fun! 

Wednesday, March 20, at 6:00 P.M 

Children joined the discussion as Chris Heimer explored materials and ideas for different ages and learning modes - sharing ways children learn and use creativity in learning new skills.

Truth vs. Fake News in the Trump Era

Tuesday, March 26, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

Peter Lewis examined the historic relationships between presidents and the press; the role of a free press in the democratic process; the consolidation of corporate media power and what we can do to make sense of the current tumultuous media landscape. 

CBD, THC & the ABCs of Medical Marijuana 

Tuesday, April 9, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. 

 Pharmacist Wanda Beilenson discussed the forms of medical marijuana, their effects, how Pennsylvania’s program works, the qualifying medical conditions, and how one registers to become a patient.

The Novels of  Elena Ferrante:  Secrets of Their Power 

Thursday, April 11, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. 

Karen Bojar explored the secrets of Ferrante’s Neapolitan Quartet that focus on gender inequality and its devastating effects on women’s lives and discussed who might actually be the author of this mysterious work.

What happened to the Lenape?  Early Delaware Valley settlers & Native Americans. 

Tuesday, April 23, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. 

Standing room only as  Dr. Claude Epstein, Professor Emeritus at Stockton University shared insight into the Lenape, their relationship to the 17th Century Finns, Swedes, Dutch and English, and what happened to the people who once called Chestnut Hill their home? 

Music & Memory: The Power to Combat Dementia 

Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 1:30 P.M.

 Marja Kaisla  discussed how playing and listening to music counteracts the negative effects of aging, such as memory loss, hearing loss and other sensory difficulties, social functioning and sense of identity.

Decoding the Cyber War

Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 1:30 p.m. 

 Author Stan Cutler looked at the 2016 election was an historic Russian military victory exploiting cyber techniques against which the West has few defenses with taped interviews with Soviet era spies, and  the challenges posed to democracy by foreign “active measures”. 

What's in your DNA? What's not?

Tuesday, October 15, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.  

Mary Lee Keane looked at the questions DNA teasting raises.  Are they accurate? Will the results uncover family secrets?  Will they help you build your family tree? What can they tell you about your health? Are there reasons not to take the test?

Heroes and Villains in Chestnut Hill

Tuesday, October 29, 1:30 at p.m.

Len Lear, a reporter and lifelong Philadelphia resident, and full-time journalist for 52 years discusses the fascinating people he has written about.

Why did Finland's Jews Survive?

Wednesday, October 30, 2019 at 1:30 p.m.

Finland’s Jews survived the Holocaust. Despite the presence in their country of 260,000 German troops during WWII, not one of Finland’s Jewish citizens was sent to Nazi concentration or death camps.  John Simon explained why and how.

Railroads: Defining Our Communities.

Tuesday, November 12, 1029 at 1:30 p.m.

An avid student of Philadelphia's industrial history, Edward  Duffy discussed the rise and evolution of Philadelphia's railroad industry and its impact on the City's neighborhoods, economy and physical form. 

Beyond Chestnut Hill's Water Tower

Tuesday, November 26, 2019 at 1:30 a.m 

Drew Brown gave insights into how  Philadelphia’s Bureau of Water finally completed mains that reached all Northwest Philadelphia in the 1890s. 


Friends of the Chestnut Hill Library Board of Directors Meeting

The next Chestnut Hill Library Fiends Board of Directors meeting will be posted when a date has been set.

For Adults

ESL Conversation Group

This group meets on selected  Mondays at 7 p.m..  For more information and to reserve a copy of the month's selection, please contact the library at 215-685-9290. 

Urban Medicine Cabinet

Saturday, February 22, 11:30 a.m.

Make and take home your own tinctures, salves, and syrups using native wild plants such as plantain herb, yarrow herb, and elderberry and learn more deeply about ceremonial healing practices that, like the ones in Tommy Orange's novel  There There , “come from a long way… 

For Children & Young Adults

Infant and Toddler Playgroup

Select Fridays  ( Feb 7th & 21st, March 6th & 20th, April 3rd & 17th) at 10:30 a.m.

For infants and toddlers and their parents, grandparents, and caregivers. Kids can play, talk, read & listen to music as they explore and interact with one another. 

Girl Scouts of America: Troop Chestnut Hill Library

Every other Monday, 6:30-8:00 p.m.

Did you know there is a Girl Scouts Troop that meets at the Library?!  Call Ms. Prather, Children's Librarian, for more information. 215.685.9290

Winter Toddler & Preschool Storytime

Thursdays at 10:30 a.m.

Join us for stories, songs and guaranteed silliness!  Themes are seasonal.  For young children along with an adult caregiver. Groups should register in advance, by contacting Ms. O'Donnell, the Children's Librarian.  Stop in or call 215-685-9290. iver.   

Family Story Play!

Saturdays at 11 a.m.