Monthly Archives: February 2015

Community Read: Let’s discuss genetics, research & privacy

Henrietta coverJoin us on Wednesday, February 25 at 7pm at the library for a book discussion of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.  Cancerous cells taken from Henrietta’s body in 1951 soon before she died became central to biomedical research throughout the world, even though her own family went for decades without knowing anything about her fame.  This is a remarkable story of how the cells of a poor black woman enabled further discoveries; from the polio vaccine to in vitro fertilization.  The author’s added portrayal of Lacks’s full life makes the story come alive with humanity and the apparent relationship between race, science, and exploitation. Rebecca Skloot first heard about Henrietta Lacks and “HeLa cells” in a community college biology class when she was 16. She spent over a decade researching and writing this story, which has been translated into over 25 languages and is now being made into an HBO movie.


DanaOur book discussion is being moderated by Dana Waring Bateman, co-founder and Education Director of the Personal Genetics Education Project  housed in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School.

pgEd aims to get people talking about the ethical, social and familial issues in genetics to make informed choices for themselves about the use of genetic technologies.  Dana’s teaching takes her all over the country, and she often speaks about reproductive genetic testing,  privacy and genetic discrimination, and the rights of children as it relates to genetic information.  pgEd is currently preparing its third Congressional briefing, in conjunction with the offices of Rep. Louise Slaughter and Senator Elizabeth Warren, this one focused on DNA and the criminal justice system. Dana lives in Brunswick with her husband and children.

Ten copies of Skloots book are available to library patrons due to a generous donation from Cornerstones of Science. In our discussion, Dana will get us to look at ethical and social issues in genetics, including who owns your DNA, how genetics is impacting health care, and how Lacks and her family have advanced the discussion about privacy and informed consent.  Please join us, whether you’ve read the book or not. Wednesday, February 25 at 7pm in the Kendall Room.


Teen Movie Series continues….

Teen Movie Series continues….

th…with Earth to Echo

Rated PG13. Popcorn will be served.

3:00-4:35, Wednesday,February 18, in the Kendall Room.

Watch the trailer here.  Admission is free.