The Literacy Network of South Berkshire and the Stockbridge Library announce the launch of a new lecture series, "Community Conversations." The content will be organized and delivered in a way to be accessible to community members whose first language is not English. All members of the community are invited.

The inaugural lecture, "The History of Chocolate," will be delivered by Great Barrington resident Deb Ryan at 5:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26, at the Stockbridge Library.

Ryan has worked in advertising and marketing for several chocolate-related companies, including Duncan Hines and Schrafft's Candy Company before becoming the president and founder of the Historic Division of Mars Inc. She is also the producer of "Cocoa to Chocolate," a film describing the chocolate making process.

The free lectures will run 20-30 minutes with 20-30 minutes of follow-up questions and discussion. They are scheduled to occur every six weeks.

Community members are welcome to propose their own lectures or suggest topic ideas for future Community Conversation events. Information: LitNet’s Executive Director Leigh Doherty at or 413-243-0471 or Stockbridge Library Director Wendy Pearson at or 413-298-8140.

Jeannie Maschino can be reached at 413-496-6256 or

Community News Editor / Librarian

Jeannie Maschino is community news editor and librarian for The Berkshire Eagle. She has worked for the newspaper in various capacities since 1982 and joined the newsroom in 1989.