AUBURN — The Auburn Public Library announces its final two presentations as the Curious Minds Lecture series comes to a close. On Tuesday, April 23, the topic will be “The Rise of Fake News.” The series will conclude on Tuesday, April 30, with a program on Frank Baum, the creator of the “Wizard of Oz.” Both free programs start at 2 p.m.

The April 23 program will be presented by Senior College instructor Martin Gagnon. The brief session will provide participants with tips to look critically and analyze digital, television and print media resources. Through videos and slides, the session will examine the history of misinformation, the psychology of irrationality brought about by biases, the role of technology in its creation and spread, and resources to help verify images and stories.

Gagnon graduated from LaSalle University and spent several years working for newspapers in New Hampshire and Maine. An avid newsperson who loves to analyze the media and its role in society, Gagnon has taught at Lewiston-Auburn Senior College and presents a variety of media programs throughout the state.

On April 30 historian and Senior College instructor Alan Elze examines the life of L. Frank Baum, the man who wrote “The Wizard of Oz.” Elze will share how events from Baum’s own life helped to create the legendary “Wizard of Oz” novels. Baum wrote 14 novels in the Oz series, plus 41 other novels, 83 short stories, over 200 poems and at least 42 scripts.

He made numerous attempts to bring his works to the stage and the nascent medium of film; the 1939 adaptation of the first Oz book would become a landmark of 20th century cinema. His works anticipated such century-later common places as television, augmented reality, laptop computers (“The Master Key”), wireless telephones (“Tik-Tok of Oz”), women in high-risk and action-heavy occupations (“Mary Louise in the Country”), and the ubiquity of advertising on clothing (“Aunt Jane’s Nieces at Work”).

The programs are part of the Curious Minds series, which is a joint partnership between the Auburn Public Library and the Lewiston-Auburn Senior College. More information can be found by visiting https://usm.maine.edu/seniorcollege.


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