Friends of the Castleton Free Library

2022-2023 Science Pub Information

RAJ BHAKTA, Founder, Bhakta Spirits
November 4, Green Mountain College

History in a Bottle

Nature. Tradition. Heritage. Craft. How do you create a truly artisanal spirit? Join Raj Bhakta, founder of BHAKTA Spirits and WhistlePig Whiskey, for an exploration of the science of distillation and a look at the ancient art of the most sought-after spirit on earth: Armagnac brandy. Raj’s journey of discovery spans seven centuries and will transport you from the cellars of the French château where he unearthed the world’s oldest spirits. . . all the way to Poultney, VT.



Associate Professor and Chair, Environmental Science, Castleton University

December 4, Brandon Inn

Life’s Driving Force

The key to life is…water! It’s essential to human health and the ecosystem as we rely on streams, lakes and wetlands for agriculture, recreation and drinking water. Yet everything we do impacts our surface water’s quality: agriculture, development, climate change, even the detergents we use. Topography, geology and precipitation also play a role. Prof. Andrew Vermilyea will help us explore the link between how we live – locally and globally – and the water we need to live.


VIRGINIA THOMAS, Assistant Professor of Psychology, Middlebury College
February 5, Taproom at Lake Bomoseen

Embracing Solitude

Solitude and loneliness are not at all the same, as Professor Virginia Thomas’ research confirms. Solitude is a positive state that plays a significant role in psychological well-being. Prof. Thomas will walk us through her findings: why people seek solitude, how to enjoy and benefit from time alone, and how social media and Covid-19 have affected solitude positively and negatively.


MARISSA PALLUCIS, Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences, Dartmouth College
March 5, Southside Steakhouse

Rivers, Lakes, Oceans. On Mars?

Marisa Palucis studies the history of water on Mars to understand how the red planet has evolved under a changing climate. This has implications for early life on Mars as well as for understanding climate change on our own planet. She was a member of the NASA Mars Science Laboratory team with the Curiosity rover, which is currently operating on Mars in Gale Crater.


MOLLY ANDERSON, Professor of Food Studies, Middlebury College
April 2, Mountain Top Inn

The Right to Food

Hunger. War. Sustainability. Reform.

What if healthy food for everyone were a right instead of something mostly available to wealthier people?  The US is the only industrialized country that doesn’t support the right to food, expecting it to be provided by “the market” instead, which is not ensuring everyone’s access to healthy food. Professor Molly Anderson has been studying the right to food and how different nations are implementing it. Her work bridges academia, community-based activism and social movements, and is involved in food system reform and planning at the local, state and regional scales.


1. Masks and proof of vaccination are required.

2. The presenters will be vaccinated but may or may not be masked.

3. Masks may be removed as needed for drinking during the presentation.

Links for Science Pub programs

Friends of Castleton Free Library was formed in 2008 to support our town library by encouraging community involvement through promotion of the library, fund raising and programming.

A Steering Committee of 5-9 members meets monthly to organize the Friends’ activities.
In its efforts to build community, the Friends sponsor book sales, an Ice Cream Social, a monthly book group, the popular Science Pub series, Maple Social and Green-Up Day breakfast. We also participate in many town events including the 4th of July Parade, after-parade party and tree lighting ceremony.

Friends’ donations have paid for furniture, subscriptions to magazines and newspapers, and passes to area museums and attractions.

Thanks to a generous bequest from Denise Nangle – a supporter and volunteer at the library – the Friends are currently partnering with the library in a major construction effort that will make the building accessible via an elevator.

We welcome your participation and support. For information about upcoming open meetings and events, please refer to our Facebook page at:

To contact the Director of the Steering Committee, Normandie Keller, please contact the library and we will forward your questions or requests.

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