Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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Events are updated regularly. Please check back! 

Wednesday, October 26th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Agatha Christie is Missing
A Live Theatrical Performance with Prudence Wright Holmes
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In 1926, famed mystery writer Agatha Christie staged her own disappearance after she learned her husband wanted a divorce. She was missing for eleven days sparking a nationwide search.

In this rollicking interactive murder mystery, Prudence Wright Holmes plays ace detective Miss Clarissa Marbles and leads the audience on a fun-filled romp.

Growing up in Bexley, Ohio, Prudence Wright Holmes always dreamed that she would live in New York City someday and be a working actor. Her dreams came true and she was fortunate enough to be in the original cast of Godspell which she helped to create, along with her classmates from Carnegie Mellon University. Her first Broadway show was Happy End with Meryl Streep.

One of the highpoints of her career was playing a nun in Sister Act I and II with Whoopi Goldberg. She also enjoyed working with Woody Harrelson in Kingpin. The thing she is proudest of is writing and performing her one-woman show, Bexley, Oh!, at New York Theatre Workshop that she has now turned into a book. Registration is required. 



Wednesday, November 2nd
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Cookbook Club - Pies!
with OWL Staff
Click Here to Register 

Happy Pie-a-versary!
It’s been two delicious years since librarians Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore began the OWL Cookbook Club. What better way to celebrate than with pie?!

At the Cookbook Club, we sample each other’s dishes, enjoy coffee or sparkling water, and discuss the pros and cons of the several highlighted cookbooks. Delicious food and spirited discussion - sign me up!

Beginning a month before the program, come into OWL to choose from one of our selected pie cookbooks. Spend the next few weeks baking and experimenting and come to the program ready to chat about your culinary adventures. Audra and Patricia will be bringing along some favorite pies and we invite you to do the same. However, if you find yourself short on time or aren’t in a baking frame of mind, then feel free to just bring yourself and your appetite. Registration is required.



Wednesday, November 9th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Fog of Reform
with Author George Goens
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Education is complex by its very nature but is becoming even more knotty and complicated as it deflects our focus from the real mission of schools. In George Goens’ book, The Fog of Reform, he addresses this “fog of reform” and the need to emphasize ideals and principles in providing an education for our children in a caring and creative way. Sections of the book describe a new metaphor and approach to change and examine the forces and ideals that can bring about schools children need. Principles and values transform organizations, not mandates and fear. Great schools must be created one-by-one. Numbers don’t create change; people and passion do. Goens feels that unless we focus on the moral imperative of educating children, we will fail them and possibly slide into an ethical quagmire.

George A. Goens earned his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin. He has authored eight books and has written over 60 articles on leadership and education. He has also presented seminars and workshops on leadership, school reform, and leading in a crisis at regional and state conferences, and for organizations and school districts across the country. George served as a Wisconsin superintendent of schools for 15 years, where he was awarded the title of “Outstanding Educator.” George and his partner, Lou Esparo, formed Goens/Esparo, LLC a prominent consulting firm that for over 12 years specialized in public and private sector leadership searches, development, evaluation, and accountability. Visit his website at georgegoens.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required.


Thursday, November 17th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Three Women, Three Roads
A Live Theatrical Performance with Nancy Palmento Schuler
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Written and performed by Nancy Palmento Schuler, Three Roads, Three Women is a play about three very different women and their individual journeys to Connecticut. All are based on actual facts and people, although some names have been changed.

There is Teresa Gargiulo Palmento who was born in Italy in 1888 and immigrated to the United States at the age of 18. By her early thirties, she is a widow and tells of her emotional journey to become a citizen of the United States living in Waterbury, with five children to support, and knowing only how to speak Italian.

Then, there is Junie Harlow growing up on the Upper East Side in New York during the 1920’s and summering in Middlebury throughout her youth. It was in Middlebury that she met her husband, and it is where she would raise her children and create a family. Junie is now in her 90s and she has much to share about aging and love.

Finally, there is Ruth Jeffers. She is a black woman born in the 1940s in North Carolina. By the age of 20, she was married with a son and had relocated to Waterbury. Now in her 70s, she reflects on growing up in the South before the Civil Rights Movement and her inspiring outlook on life.

Nancy has performed “Teresa’s Journey,” her story about her Italian immigrant grandmother, at Osher Life Long Learning at UCONN, the New Britain Museum, Shakesperience Productions, the Mattatuck Museum and many community centers and libraries. She recently learned that the New York Public Library Equity Theater has scheduled her play for a January 28 performance!

Nancy Schuler was born and raised in Waterbury and has lived in Litchfield for the past 18 years with her husband, Ed. Nancy studied art at Paier College and taught art and painted her entire life. Her trompe l’oeil talent won her a spot at the New Britain Museum of American Art juried art show as well as numerous commissions in private homes. Nancy has also been involved in sports her whole life including coaching girls cross country and competing in numerous marathons and triathlons. She has drawn many insights from her thirty years of experience as a personal trainer and has turned stories from her female clients into short monologues. Registration is required.   

Wednesday, December 7th

The American St. Nick
with Author Peter Lion
6:30 - 7:30 p.m. - Film: American St. Nick
7:30 - 8:00 p.m. - Discussion with Author
Click Here to Register 

Tom Brokaw wrote that The American St. Nick is, “One more memorable and inspiring story from the greatest generation...It will touch your heart and make you proud.”

The American St. Nick tells the remarkable true story of a handful of American soldiers who during the chaos of war in December of 1944, help bring Christmas back to a small Luxembourg town, and unknowingly create a holiday tradition that continues to this very day!

Knowing they won’t be home again for the Holidays, soldiers from a 112th regiment Signal Company Message Center in the town of Wiltz, realize that although the town has been liberated after nearly five years of Nazi occupation, the ravages of war have left the townspeople with nothing to celebrate on St. Nicolas Day. So the soldiers organize a Christmas party for the children, including a special visit from St. Nicolas himself. Ten days later however the Battle of the Bulge erupts in the Ardennes; Wiltz and the 28th Infantry Division are overrun. The joy of that one St. Nicolas day was gone...but not forgotten. Following the war Wiltz rebuilt and those who survived vowed never to forget the kindness and generosity of those few American soldiers and that one St. Nicolas Day.

A Seven-Time EMMY winning Producer/Director, Peter Lion graduated from Southern Connecticut State University with a BA in Journalism and double minors in English and Communications. Visit his website at: americanstnick.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow the event. The author will provide books for sale & signing. Registration is required.

Sunday, December 11th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m.

Theodore Roethke & Jane Kenyon
Poetry Discussion with Jim Kelleher
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Although Jane Kenyon and Theodore Roethke are not household names they are major poets for their work, for the influence they exerted on colleagues and students, and for the lasting value of their words. Both continue to be widely anthologized and studied.

Jan Kenyon passed away at age 48 from cancer. In her short life she wrote classic poems such as “Let Evening Come” and “Otherwise.” Her style is deceptively simple and plain. One might compare her poetry to Shaker furniture in its seeming simplicity and grace.

Theodore Roethke was awarded a Pulitzer Prize and a National Book Award. His poems reflected his passions and an abiding love for nature; a descriptive talent; and vivid images. “I learn by going where I have to go” is one of his most-quoted lines from “The Waking.”

A reading packet of the selected poems will be available about four weeks before the discussion. It is strongly suggested that all attendees read the selected poems before the discussion.

Jim Kelleher is a member of the poets’ group The Wise Old Owls who meet at the Oliver Wolcott Library once each month. Jim teaches composition and literature at Northwestern Community College and has published two books of poetry with Antrim House, Connecticut. Registration is required. 

Tuesday, December 13th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Click Here to Register for Dec. 13 
Thursday, December 15th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.
Click Here to Register for Dec 15

Two Short 1940’s Radio Plays
with Peter Tavino & Friends

Although Ring in the holidays with Peter Tavino and friends as they present two short Christmas-themed radio plays from the 1940’s.

Sherlock Holmes & the Christmas Bride: Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson are invited to Pendragon Castle by the father of the bride to make sure nobody stops the wedding. Of course something goes awry requiring Holmes and Watson to set things right.

Christmas in Connecticut: This romantic comedy features journalist Elizabeth Lane as one of the country’s most famous food writers. In her columns, she describes herself as a hard working farm woman, who takes care of her children and is an excellent cook. In reality she is an unmarried New Yorker who can’t even boil an egg. The owner of the magazine has decided that a heroic sailor will spend his Christmas on “her” farm. Miss Lane knows that her career is over if the truth comes out, but what can she do? Registration is required.


Monday Scholars
The Great American Presidents

Mondays, July 25  through  February 6
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.
Taught by: Dr. Allan J. Lichtman
Facilitated by: Cameron Bove

Facilitated by Cameron Bove, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. Each week, a new lecture topic will be watched and discussed. All participants need to do is come ready to engage their minds and participate in the discussion. Light refreshments will be served. Registration is required. 

Over the course of several months, we will examine twelve American Presidents. Come for the entire series or only for sections!


JUL. 25 - AUG. 22:    George Washington & Thomas Jefferson
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AUG. 22 - SEP. 26:   Andrew Jackson & James Polk
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OCT. 3 - OCT.31:       Abraham Lincoln & Theodore Roosevelt
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NOV. 7 - DEC. 5:       Woodrow Wilson & Franklin Roosevelt
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DEC. 12 - JAN.9:       Harry S. Truman & John F. Kennedy
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JAN.16 - FEB. 6:       Lyndon B. Johnson & Ronald Reagan
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About the Course:

The presidency and its occupants, Professor Lichtman argues, deserve much of the credit for the political stability we have enjoyed for more than 200 years. We’ll explore how well this radical new way of governing has worked by examining the lives, the achievements, and the legacies of those generally considered our 12 greatest presidents.

About the Professor:

Dr. Allan J. Lichtman is Professor of History at American University in Washington, D.C. and earned his Ph.D. from Harvard University. Professor Lichtman is the recipient of the Scholar-Teacher Award from American University. He is the author or coauthor of six books, including The Thirteen Keys to the Presidency and The Keys to the White House.  





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