Fogler Library launching discussion series on contemporary issues at the Salon

Fogler Library will launch a new discussion series focusing on a variety of contemporary issues starting Sept. 12 at the Salon, formerly known as the University Club, in the Lynch Room. 

Each event in the Salon Series will feature a conversation between guest speakers and attendees, both in person and virtual. Topics include envisioning the next-generation university, responsible ways to use generative artificial intelligence and how Maine libraries are grappling with censorship. 

Jon Ippolito, professor of New Media and director of the Digital Curation program, will participate in two salons. He says “Today’s university, like society at large, faces challenges that individual disciplines can’t solve on their own. Salons are a time-honored — and fun — way to brainstorm fresh solutions to vexing problems.” 

This academic year’s salons were developed through conversations with colleagues and Fogler friends, including conservationist Ken Olson, who will discuss public-private partnerships for protecting Acadia National Park with Acadia Superintendent Kevin Schneider. Rajika Bhandari, author of “America Calling: A Foreign Student in a Country of Possibility,” a UMaine Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning CITL Book Club pick in spring 2023 and 2024, will join Orlina Boteva, director of the Office of International Programs, and Karen Pelletreau, CITL director of faculty educational development, to discuss how the university community  can better support the international students. 

In winter 2023, the former University Club in the Lynch Room was nicknamed the Salon and opened to all Fogler Library patrons as an eating, studying and event space. The hybrid Latin American Film Festival was hosted there. The Salon is the re-envisioning of the Lynch Room as a place for the university community to congregate, discuss and collaborate on ideas. 

In the coming months, the Salon will be outfitted with comfortable new seating and technology. With the newly minted multidisciplinary Salon Series, the library aspires to foster the kind of conversations and action that will be remembered for a lifetime. 

“Libraries have historically been the heart of a campus and the Salon is one tangible invitation to manifest this anew,” says Dean of Libraries Daisy Domínguez Singh. “Other examples of how we are opening our arms to the university and public are the open scholarship and GIS librarians who will support our institution’s open access digital scholarship and GIS projects. We’re evolving right alongside the university, and we’re still the heart of the campus. Please join us!”