The Friends of the Library’s Fall Speaker Series will kick off on Oct. 1. The spring program was so successful that the Free Library of Philadelphia invested in state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment that significantly enhances the lifelong learning capabilities of our branch. We have a new sound system, a large screen, internet connectivity and a projector that displays high-definition images. The Oct. 1 presentation will be the first implementation of the equipment.

Join your neighbors for education, enlightenment, cookies and conversation in the Community Room of our library at 8711 Germantown Avenue. All presentations are free and begin at 1:30 p.m. Please register to attend on the Friends’ website.

“Decoding The Cyber War,” Stan Cutler, Tuesday, Oct. 1, 1:30 p.m.

The 2016 election was a historic Russian military victory exploiting cyber techniques against which the West has few defenses. Watch taped interviews with Soviet era spies, participate in discussion of The Mueller Report and of the challenges posed to democracy by foreign “active measures.” Stan Cutler, formerly of Penn State’s Communications Department, is a novelist, lecturer, student of political communication and a contributor to the Chestnut Hill Local.

“What’s in Your DNA? What’s Not?” Mary Lee Keane, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 1:30 p.m.

DNA testing raises many questions. Are they accurate when they say you’re 75% Italian and 25% Ashkenazi? Yes and no. Will the results uncover family secrets? Possibly. Will they help you build your family tree? Yes! What can they tell you about your health? Lots. Are there reasons not to take the test? Sometimes. Mary Lee Keane teaches a genealogy course in Temple’s OLLI program and has worked with DNA results since testing first became available.

“Heroes and Villains in Chestnut Hill,” Len Lear, Tuesday, Oct. 29, 1:30 p.m.

Want to know about the most remarkable people in your community? Storyteller Len Lear has been a reporter and editor for the Chestnut Hill Local for 25 years. A Philadelphia resident, and a journalist for 52 years, he has won more than a dozen awards and has covered tumultuous controversies in Chestnut Hill.

“Why Did Finland’s Jews Survive?” John Simon, Wednesday, Oct. 30, 1:30 p.m.

Finland’s Jews survived the Holocaust. Despite the presence in their country of 260,000 German troops during WW2, not one of Finland’s Jewish citizens was sent to a Nazi concentration or death camp. Why not? Where did these Jews come from in the first place, and how did they end up in Finland? And where are they now? John Simon, an American Jew who has lived in Finland the past 35 years, explores this unique story which became the basis for his fact-based novel, “Strangers in a Stranger Land.” (NOTE: This is our only Wednesday presentation.)

“Railroads: Defining Our Communities,” Ed Duffy, Tuesday Nov. 12, 1:30 p.m.

An avid student of Philadelphia’s industrial history, Ed Duffy of Mount Airy is the author of two books, ‘Philadelphia – A Railroad History’ (Camino Books, 2013) and ‘Philadelphia Celebrates – 1876-1926-1976’ (Camino Books, 2017), magazine articles and is a contributing writer with Hidden City Philadelphia, an internet magazine Ed Duffy will discuss 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,” Drew Brown, Tuesday Nov. 26, 1:30 p.m.

Philadelphia’s Bureau of Water completed mains that reached Northwest Philadelphia in the 1890s. For hundreds of years before that engineering feat, folks in the Borough of Germantown and the Townships of Mt. Airy and Roxborough paid private enterprises for water of dubious quality. Drew Brown, an environmental engineer with the City of Philadelphia Water Department, presents rare images from the Department’s Collection.