On Wednesday, March 30 at 7 p.m., the Westfield Memorial Library will present “The Jersey Joke.” This program is funded by the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities, a state partner of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The library is located at 550 East Broad Street.

The talk will be presented by Michael Aaron Rockland, Professor and Chair of the Department of American Studies, Rutgers University.

New Jersey has long been thewhipping boy of New York City and suffered from something of an inferiority complex. Rarely has a Saturday Night Live episode or a Woody Allen movie spared New Jersey.

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But, ironically, beginning in 1975, when Bruce Springsteen appeared simultaneously on the covers of both Time and Newsweek magazines and continuing with the fame “The Sopranos” brought to New Jersey, the state has been enjoying something of a renaissance, and the Jersey joke has been in decline.

Professor Rockland’s early career was in the US Diplomatic Service, during which he was a cultural attache in Argentina and Spain. He has won seven major teaching/lecturing awards, including the National Teaching Award in American Studies.

He has lectured in some twenty-three countries around the world. A regular contributor to New Jersey Monthly magazine, Professor Rockland has also worked in television and film production, mostly for P.B.S., including scripting and acting in one movie.

The program is free and open to the public. To register for the program, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, click on the Online Calendar, or call 908.789.4090 option 0.

Founded in 1879, the Westfield Memorial Library—the community’s destination for discovery and ideas—engages minds, entertains spirits and facilitates lifelong learning for people of all ages. Hours are 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Friday and Saturday; and 1:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Sunday. The library will be closed March 25 for Good Friday and March 27 for Easter.

For more information call 908-789-4090, visit the library’s website at www.wmlnj.org, and sign up for the monthly e-newsletter “Library Loop,” or stop by the library at 550 East Broad Street for a copy of the award-winning quarterly newsletter “Take Note.”