Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
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Events are updated regularly. Please check back!


Tuesday, April 25th
6:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Retirement Planning: Why & When to Consider Long-Term Care Insurance
with David Guttchen & Aldo Pantano
Click Here to Register


The State of Connecticut, in conjunction with the Oliver Wolcott Library, will present this free, two-hour lecture presentation. No insurance sales will take place. Anyone who is between 40 and 65 years of age and have or plan to have assets of at least $75,000 excluding car and home will benefit from this lecture. 

You will gain a better understanding of: the risks and costs of nursing home and home care and why it’s important to consider these long-term care factors in retirement planning; what you need to know before buying long-term care insurance; and the State’s innovative program, the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care, and how it can add to your long-range financial security

David J. Guttchen is the Director of the Health and Human Services Unit for the Connecticut Office of Policy and Management and also is the Director of the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care. Mr. Guttchen has worked on the Partnership project since August 1989 and has been Director since 1992. He also serves as the Chair of Connecticut’s Long-Term Care Planning Committee.

Aldo Pantano is the Training Program Supervisor for the Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care (LTC) within the State Office of Policy and Management and is responsible for training insurance agents as well as educating CT residents regarding the need for LTC. Prior to working for the Partnership, Mr. Pantano spent 17 years marketing LTC coverage in the private insurance industry.  REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Thursday, April 27th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

The Wars of the Roosevelts

A Conversation with Author William J. Mann

Click Here to Register 

The Wars of the Roosevelts: the Ruthless Rise of American’s Greatest Political Family presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America’s greatest and most influential families exposing heretofore unknown family secrets and detailing complex family rivalries.

Drawing on previously hidden historical documents and interviews with the long-silent “illegitimate” branch of the family, William J. Mann paints an elegant, meticulously researched, and groundbreaking group portrait of this legendary family. Mann argues that the Roosevelts’ rise to power and prestige was actually driven by a series of intense personal contest that at times devolved into blood sport. His compelling and eye-opening masterwork is the story of a family at war with itself, The Wars of the Roosevelts illuminates not only the enviable strengths but also the profound shame of this remarkable and influential family.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates a conversation with author William J. Mann.

William J. Mann is the New York Times bestselling author of Kate: The Woman Who Was Hepburn; How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood; Hello, Gorgeous: Becoming Barbra Streisand; and Wisecracker: The Life and Times of William Haines, winner of the Lambda Literary Award. He divides his time between Connecticut and Cape Cod. 

A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Wednesday, May 10th

6:00 - 7:30 p.m.

The Cookbook Club - Picnic at Topsmead!
Click Here to Register 

Meet us at Topsmead State Forest in Litchfield for a special spring picnic celebration! 

Topsmead State Forest is located on Buell Road in Litchfield (the first road on the right off Buell Road is the entrance drive to Topsmead). We’ll meet in the main parking lot. There is no cost for admission and public bathrooms are available.

Borrow one or more of our picnic-themed cookbooks that we will have on display a month before. Spend the next few weeks experimenting and come to the picnic ready to chat about your culinary adventures.

For this Cookbook Club only, when you register, we will assign you a type of food to bring (main dish, side dish, or salad). This will help us ensure that we have a balanced offering. But, that’s only a jumping off point. When it comes to the exact nature of your dish, let your imagination go wild! Whether it’s a new recipe or a family favorite, we look forward to eating it and talking about it.

Spring is the perfect time to share a meal with friends and embrace the beauty of nature, so let’s have a picnic! But if the weather doesn’t cooperate, we’ll still get together at the library.

Join OWL librarians Audra MacLaren and Patricia Moore who facilitate the Cookbook Club. Both Audra and Patricia enjoy home cooking and sharing food with friends and neighbors. Right now, they are looking forward to trying new picnic fare! REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Thursday, May 11th

7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

Folk Music of the 1960s
with The Western Lands Trio
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The Western Lands Trio was formed when friends Mike Delay, Jerry Geci and John Fulkerson got together over chili and corn bread five years ago to play folk music of the 1960s. Since then they have performed on stage at many venues including the Earth Day Festival in Hartford and the Warner Theater. They have a carefully crafted program of folk music from the 60s, and will add bits of history and some anecdotes that make the event lively, interesting and fun for the audience. 

Influenced by Pete Seeger, Mike Delay became interested in the 5 string banjo in the ‘60s. He frequented coffee houses around central Florida in ‘70s and ‘80s and joined in with musician friends playing folk, Irish and mountain songs. After moving to Connecticut in 1996 his music went somewhat dormant until John Fulkerson introduced him to Jerry Geci and they formed a musical bond.

Although singing and harmonizing started early with aunts and uncles for Jerry Geci, it wasn’t until he became a part of a folksinging trio in college that he began playing the guitar. He has kept adding to his repertoire with songs that fit his evolving family life. Jerry says, “As with life, the trio is all about harmony.”

John Fulkerson started playing the acoustic guitar and singing folk music with friends in the 1960s, later playing in a small folk group with Tim Cromwell, Roger Parker and Buzzy Mann. He was fortunate to know Frank Warner, a noted folk music collector and play with his sons Jeff and Garrett Warner as well as New England folk musician Jeff Davis. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Thursday, May 18th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

The Power of Off: The Mindful Way to Stay Sane in a Virtual World
with Nancy Colier
Click Here to Register 

Our reliance on technology is rapidly changing how each of us experiences life. The promise of technology is that it will make our lives easier; yet to realize that promise, we cannot be passive users - we must bring awareness and mindfulness to our relationships with our devices.

Through The Power of Off, Nancy Colier offers us a path for making use of the virtual world while still feeling good, having healthy relationships, and staying connected with what is genuinely meaningful in life.

We’ll explore tips for navigating the complex ways technology affects our relationships, how to self-evaluate our use of technology, mindful practices to help us interact with our devices in more conscious ways, and a 30-day digital detox program to kick-start a new healthier relationship with technology.

Nancy Colier is a psychotherapist in private practice, an ordained interfaith minister, mindfulness teacher, relationship coach, author and blogger. She graduated from the University of Virginia, Columbia University School of Social Work, the Focusing Institute, and One Spirit Interfaith Seminary. Nancy is a regular blogger for Huffington Post and Psychology Today, and author of two other books. Visit her website at: nancycolier.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED

Tuesday, May 23rd
7:00 - 8:30 p.m. 

Finding Her Way: American Women Artists
with Rena Tobey
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American women artists, especially those working before 1945, had to navigate societal expectations of women’s domestic roles with their drive to be recognized as professionals. These artists often faced difficult choices - sacrificing in their personal lives or professional options. Despite evident talent and success, most fell into obscurity with their death. 

In this interactive session, participants discover and closely examine paintings by seven artists: Elizabeth Okie Paxton, Lilly Martin Spencer, Alice Barber Stephens, Marie Danforth Page, Theresa F. Bernstein, Florine Stettheimer, and Isabel Bishop. These women collectively paint a picture of changing American attitudes during a pivotal growth period in American history.

Rena values learning, creative possibility, and fun, and dedicates her energy to sparking lively minds. Building on an academic and organizational career, she is passionate about engaging people with all forms of visual expression and filling the spoken word with verve.

Rena has a Ph.D. in Human and Organizational Studies, with 14 years of experience as an organizational coach, trainer, and consultant. Recently, she completed her M.A. in Art History at Hunter College of the City University of New York, with a thesis on Elizabeth Okie Paxton and her provocative 1910 painting The Breakfast Tray. Visit her website at: renatobey.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Thursday, May 25th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m. 

Bombs Have No Eyes:
Stories from Japan in Support of Peace Education
with Marina Outwater
Click Here to Register  

Japanese school children visit Nagasaki and Hiroshima’s peace parks and museums in order to fully understand the complexities of war and the damaging effects of nuclear weapons. Japanese schools teach peace curriculums, even at the university level. And yet, in many American classrooms, children do not receive a similar education. Our students often have a limited understanding of the events of World War II in general and typically know even less about Japan’s involvement.

Marina Outwater’s recent trip to Nagasaki and Hiroshima revealed first-hand accounts from survivors who told their stories with nothing more than an intense desire for world peace. Marina will share these moving tales of several hibakusha who were young children at the time of the atomic bombings. After sharing stories and photographs, Marina will discuss the need for peace education and some strategies for implementation in the classroom.

Marina Outwater is a Litchfield resident and a veteran teacher with over twenty years of experience in middle schools. She has a master’s degree in Early Adolescent Education from Bank Street College of Education and is working towards another master’s degree in American History. This past summer, Marina spent two weeks in Nagasaki, Hiroshima, and Kyoto as part of a small study tour of twelve teachers from across the nation investigating peace through the Five College Center for East Asian Studies. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Sundays, June 4th & 25th
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. 

Two Booker Prize Winners: 
A Book Discussion with Mark Schenker
Click Here to Register  

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a prestigious literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. In this two-part series, we will explore two Man Booker Prize Winners.

Sunday, June 4: Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
In 1520s England, Henry VIII’s challenge to the church’s power set off a tidal wave of religious, political and societal turmoil that reverberated throughout Europe. In this darkly brilliant reimagining of life under Henry VIII, Mantel boldly attempts to capture the sweeping internecine machinations of the times from the perspective of Thomas Cromwell, the lowborn man who became one of Henry's closest advisers.

Sunday, June 25: The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes
A novel so compelling that it begs to be read in a single setting, The Sense of an Ending has psychological and emotional depth and sophistication. This intense novel follows Tony Webster, a middle-aged man, as he contends with a past he never thought much about and he is forced to revise his estimation of his own nature and place in the world.

Mark J. Schenker is the Senior Associate Dean of Yale College, Dean of Academic Affairs and a lecturer in English at Yale. He earned his Ph.D. from Columbia University in English and Comparative Literature. He lectures frequently on literary topics, and enjoys making literature accessible and enjoyable. Books are available at the library to borrow four weeks in advance of the discussion. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 


Read Outside the Box - OWL’s Adult Summer Reading Program
June 1 - August 7 

From June 1 through August 7, join us as we challenge you to Read Outside The Box! 

Read Outside the Box: Adult Summer Reading Program will challenge you to broaden your reading horizons and discover new books with 12 reading challenge categories. Don’t panic…we’ve designed this for success including some two-for-one title tips to help you cross off two challenge categories with one book. To help inspire and encourage you, we have also planned book displays, recommended reading lists, and special events.

Everyone who completes at least one category will be entered to win a special prize. Follow us on Facebook for weekly book give-aways and more tips. And, if you complete eight or more challenge categories, you will be invited to attend an Exclusive After-hours Celebration Gathering at OWL.

Register at OWL beginning June 1 to start Reading Outside The Box! 


Reading Outside the Box: Staff Book Talk

Wednesday, June 21
7:00 - 8:30 p.m.

Click Here to Register

Join Patricia Moore and Audra MacLaren for recommended reads to get you going for your summer reading challenges. Join us as we share our recommendations to help you navigate the challenges we have created for you. Light refreshments will be served. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Tuesday, June 13th

7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Childhood Interrupted: From Bosnia to America

with Author Jasmina Ceric

Click Here to Register 

Through one personal journey, Jasmina Ceric hopes to educate and raise awareness about ethnic cleansing and genocide. Childhood Interrupted is the story of a war survivor in Bosnia, striving for a better future for herself and her family, and hoping for her father’s release from a concentration camp.

“The shooting continued around us. They asked us where the men were. The women cried that they didn’t know anything. They said if we didn’t tell them where the men were, we would all be shot. I was so afraid: Almina and I just clung to our mama. They might find the men upstairs and kill all of us. Then one of the soldiers yelled, ‘We found some more,’ so they left us. The shooting continued around us.”

Jasmina Ceric was born in December of 1981 in the town of Prijedor, Bosnia and Herzegovina. When the war began in 1991 in Croatia, she never imagined it would strike her home. In 1993, after her father was released from a concentration camp, she came to the U.S. sponsored by a family in Washington, CT who saw her on the CBS show Eye on America with Connie Chung and wanted to help.

Jasmina attended Washington Montessori, Shepaug Valley High School and UCONN for undergraduate and graduate studies, focusing on international affairs and conflict resolution. For the past 20 years she has traveled educating audiences on genocide and ethnic cleansing awareness, helping to sponsor over 20 families through churches and private families. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The author will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED 

Tuesday, June 22nd
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Notes on a Banana: A Memoir of Food, Love & Manic Depression

A Conversation with Author David Leite

Click Here to Register 

Notes on a Banana has been described as a candid, courageous, and at times laugh-out-loud funny story of family, food, mental illness, and sexual identity.

David Leite grew up in the 1960s in a devoutly Catholic, blue-collar, food-crazed Portuguese home in Fall River, Massachusetts. With a vivid imagination and a flair for the dramatic, “Banana” as his mother endearingly called him, yearned to live in a middle-class house with a swinging kitchen door just like the ones on television, and fell in love with everything French. But David also struggled with the emotional devastation of manic depression. Until he was diagnosed in his mid-thirties, David found relief from his wild mood swings in learning about food, watching Julia Child, and cooking for others.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates this conversation with David Leite.

David Leite is a food writer, cookbook author, and web publisher. In 2006, he had the distinction of being the first winner of a James Beard Award for a website, a feat he repeated in 2007. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Food & Wine, Pastry, Men’s Health, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Sun-Times, and the Washington Post. He has also appeared on Beat Bobby Flay and The Today Show. His first book, The New Portuguese Table, explored the food of his heritage and won the IACP’s 2010 First Book: Julia Child Award. Visit his website at davidleite.com. A wine & cheese reception will follow. The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED


Tuesday, June 27th
7:00 - 8:00 p.m.

Cinematic Guitar Poetry

with Hiroya Tsukamoto

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Hiroya Tsukamoto takes us on an innovative, impressionistic journey filled with earthy, organic soundscapes that impart a mood of peace and tranquility. It is cinematic guitar poetry, blending folk, jazz and Japanese roots to create a unique and powerful sound. Hiroya also introduces some Japanese folk music with the stories behind the songs. 

Acoustic Guitar Magazine wrote, “Hiroya Tsukamoto plays with fluid mastery, pristine tone, and great warmth…”

Hiroya Tsukamoto is a guitarist and composer originally from Kyoto, Japan. When he was 13, his father brought home a blue-grass banjo, “but there was no way to find a banjo teacher in my hometown in Japan,” Tsukamoto says. “So I tried to learn from the only bluegrass record I had, Foggy Mountain Banjo, by Earl Scruggs.” The album by the North Carolinian proved to be a challenge because of Scruggs’ renowned top-speed picking, “but I just loved the music very much.” His friends then introduced him to the guitar about a year later. In 2000, he moved to the U.S. when he received a scholarship to Berklee College of Music in Boston.

Today Hiroya performs more than one hundred shows a year across the U.S. and internationally, including several appearances with his group at Blue Note in New York. He has also performed and appeared on major international television networks such as NHK (Japanese National Television) and EBS in Korea. Visit his website at: hiroyatsukamoto.com. REGISTRATION IS REQUIRED




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