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Adult Events

The Oliver Wolcott Library offers a wide range of programming for adults, from continuing series like Monday Scholars and Tea with TED,
to lectures, book discussions, and author talks. All events are free and open to all.

Continue your journey of lifelong learning with us!


Monday Scholars: Cooking Across the Ages


LIVE Zoom Event - At The Time of Event...Click Here To Join On ZOOM

Mondays: 1:00 - 2:30 PM 
September 13 - December 13*

*No meetings on October 11, November 29


About Monday Scholars:

Monday Scholars combines the best of online learning with live virtual discussion! All you need to do in advance is be eager to learn and discuss. Each week, you will log in and together, via Zoom, all of us will watch two video lectures presented by Professor Ken Albala. Then, via Zoom, OWL's Karen Pasternak will lead everyone in a discussion of what we just watched.


About the course:

Does the fact that we depend on very exact, almost scientifically rigid recipes make us great cooks—or does that take the fun and creativity out of the whole experience? What was cooking like before the internet, before meat thermometers, grocery stores, and internationally standardized measurements? And more importantly, who were these cooks of the past and who did they cook for?

In Cooking across the Ages, award-winning Professor Ken Albala of the University of the Pacific takes us on a fascinating international journey through civilizations across the ages—showing us who we were, how we lived, and why—through the lens of cooking. In 24 fascinating lectures, you will learn:

  • About the values and flavor preferences of ancient peoples, in addition to the labor that went into their daily tasks;
  • How regional foods in the Middle Ages reflected travel and trade among Mediterranean peoples;
  • How regional foods in the Renaissance reflected unique relationships between far-flung nations;
  • Who turned to cookbooks for medical and romantic advice and why; and
  • Why mid-century Americans idealized canned foods as the height of luxury.

But in addition to learning about this history, you’ll have the opportunity to taste it and smell it, exploring cuisines of the past through a type of gastronomic time travel as Professor Albala prepares dishes and illustrates techniques in each lecture. Throughout the 24 lectures as he cooks, Professor Albala welcomes you into his own home kitchen, a cozy place where he encourages you to relax, experiment, and shed any gastronomic insecurities at the door.


About the instructor:

Ken Albala is a Professor of History at the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California, where he won the Faye and Alex Spanos Distinguished Teaching Award and has been teaching for more than two decades. He holds an MA in History from Yale University and a PhD in History from Columbia University. He is the author or editor of more than two dozen books on food, including Eating Right in the Renaissance; Food in Early Modern Europe; Cooking in Europe, 1250–1650; The Banquet: Dining in the Great Courts of Late Renaissance Europe; Pancake: A Global History; and Beans: A History, winner of the International Association of Culinary Professionals Jane Grigson Award. His textbook Three World Cuisines: Italian, Mexican, Chinese won the Gourmand World Cookbook Award for Best Foreign Cuisine Book in the World. He also coauthored the cookbook The Lost Art of Real Cooking and its sequel, The Lost Arts of Hearth and Home, a handbook of kitchen and home projects. His most recent book is Noodle Soup: Recipes, Techniques, Obsession.

  • To Join by Phone dial 1 646 876 9923 (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 828 2532 2507
  • Password: 102248


Van Gogh to Go! - Adult Take & Make Bags


An Art Project for Adults to Take & Make at Home!

November 8 - December 8


Register Here for your Take & Make Bag*
* While supplies last

Do you want to explore Van Gogh's iconic art style?

Though his work was not widely recognized until after his death, Van Gogh remains one of the most well-known artists of all time. With this Take & Make project, learn to recreate Van Gogh’s famous paintings like The Starry Night and Wheatfield with Crows using acrylic paint and forks.

Register above so we will have your bag ready for you, and then stop in any time from November 8th through December 8th to bring home a fun and engaging project that you can do on your own, at your own pace, and when it works for you!

Your bag will contain:

3 pieces of cardstock paper
~ 6 paints
~ 1 paintbrush
~ 1 paint palette
~ 1 plastic fork
~ Printouts of Van Gogh activities

NO painting or art experience required!

Share your project with us!

Want to share your finished product? E-mail us a picture of your painting to [email protected]


Blackout Poetry Take & Make Contest


December 6 - January 6

Register Here for your Take & Make Bag*
* While supplies last

As we near the longest nights of the year, get ready for the dark with some blackout poetry! Creating blackout poetry involves taking text from a book, newspaper, or magazine and blacking out some of the words to create a poem of your own.

Whether you are new to writing poetry or experienced, this writing exercise of redaction is a great way to ignite your creativity and engage your mind.

Enter one of your creations into our blackout poetry contest for a chance to win a $20 gift card to Toast & Co. and an OWL tote bag! To enter, select one of your poems and bring it back to the library with the included contest form. All submissions must be received no later than January 6th, 2022. All contest submissions will later be included in a virtual flipbook. Litchfield Poet Laureate Robert Piazza will judge all of the submissions and select the winner.

If you would like to participate, register above. Then come to Oliver Wolcott Library between December 6th and January 6th to pick up your supplies. You can do this fun and engaging project at home and at your own pace!
Your bag will contain: 

- 5 book pages
- 2 sharpie markers
- Contest form

In February, we will announce the winner and publish all of the poems in an online book available from our website and through our e-newsletter.


Non-Fiction Discussion Group


Thursday, December 9

Non-Fiction Group: 2:00 pm 

Meeting will be held in the Library's Jamie Gagarin Community Room.

Furious Hours: Murder, Fraud, & the Last Trial of Harper Lee by Casey Sep

A rural preacher was accused of murdering five of his family members for insurance money in the 1970s.
A relative shot him dead at the funeral of his last victim, yet the relative was acquitted. Sitting in the
audience during the vigilante’s trial was Harper Lee, with the idea of writing her own book like In Cold
 Now Casey Cep brings this story to life, from the shocking murders to the courtroom drama to
the racial politics of the Deep South to the portrait of Harper Lee. Moderated by Ben



Fiction Discussion Group


Thursday, December 9

Fiction Group: 3:30 pm 

Meeting will be held in the Library's Jamie Gagarin Community Room.

Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore

Mercy is hard in a place like this . . . . It’s February 1976 in Odessa, Texas. In the early hours of the
morning after Valentine’s Day, a young girl appears on the front porch of another house, broken and
barely alive. The attack on her in a nearby oil field is tried in the churches and barrooms of Odessa
before it can reach a court of law. When justice is evasive, the stage is set for a showdown with
potentially devastating consequences. Moderated by Frances



Paint Your Pet! with Watercolor Artist Nancy Roman


Live, In-Person Event:

Thursday, December 9 From 6:00 - 8:00 PM

Registration is Required - Register hereSOLD OUT

Class size is limited to 10. Stay tuned for another class offering in the new year.


Transform a photograph of a favorite pet into a water color work of art. All materials will be provided, as well as step-by-step instruction.  Simply bring a 5” x 7” photograph or image of your pet and take home a personally painted memento. A perfect gift for the holidays! Recommended for adults and youth 12 and older; no previous experience required. 

About the Instructor:

Nancy Roman is an artist, author, blogger, and financial executive who likes her day job. She lives in Connecticut with her husband, two dogs, and several well-nourished cats. Nancy was an English Major and graduated with an M.B.A. Her wit and perceptive essays as a blogger served as a stepping stone to larger works of fiction. To date, Nancy has authored three delightful, fun, and poignant novels. 

As an artist Nancy works primarily with watercolor and has a found a niche completing commissioned pet portraits. She has generously offered to show others how to create a water color rendering of a favorite pet in a hands-on class. For more information about Nancy and her creative pursuits, visit

Conversation & Studio Tour With Leslie Landau


An Instagram Live Event

Friday, December 10 at 1:00 PM

Join Jennifer Terzian as she hosts this special Instagram Live Event! 
In a Conversation and Studio Tour with Leslie Landau, Jennifer will guide you through her studio while discussing her process and current body of work. Viewers will have the opportunity to visually engage with Leslie and ask questions along the way about her atmospheric oils and pastels.

About Leslie Landau
Leslie Landau received a BFA in printmaking and drawing from Ohio State University and Graduate Certification, MS in Art Education from Central CT State University.  Her abstract landscape paintings and pastel drawings have been included in exhibitions across Connecticut and New York, including the Mattatuck Museum, New Britain Museum of American Art, Silvermine Art Guild and Five Points Gallery. Leslie’s work is held in private collections around the United States.


Click here to read more about this LIVE Instagram Event!



The Strategic Significance of the japanese Attack on Pearl Harbor
with Historian Mark Albertson


Live on Zoom:

Wednesday, December 15 From 2:00 - 3:00 PM

Zoom Link - click here at 2 PM on Wednesday, December 15.


Join us for a background look at what led up to the attack on Pearl Harbor.

This talk focuses on “why” the Japanese attacked a sleeping U.S. fleet in the Hawaiian Islands on the Day of Infamy, rather than on the details of the attack itself. We will then explore the rise of Japan as a power in the 19th century; the resulting friction between Japan and the United States in the world's largest ocean; the significance of oil; the determinant known as naval power; the tumultuous decade of the 1930s; and, why December 1941 was the turning point of a war that did not start on 1939; but, 1914.

Mark Albertson is the historical research editor for the Army Aviation magazine, and the historian for the Army Aviation Association of America. He has taught classes on military history at Norwalk Community College as well as the Lifetime Learners Institute. Albertson has authored several books on military history.

To Join by Phone: Dial +1 646 876 9923:
Meeting ID: 879 4400 1732
Passcode: 712808



The Night the Lights Went Out with Author Drew Magary


Live on Zoom:

Thursday, December 16 From 6:30 - 7:30 PM

Zoom Link - click here at 6:30 PM on Thursday, December 16.


On the night of the 2018 Deadspin Awards, Drew suffered a mysterious fall that caused him to smash his head so hard on a cement floor that he cracked his skull in three places and suffered a catastrophic brain hemorrhage. For two weeks, he remained in a coma. The world was gone to him, and him to it.

In his long recovery from his injury, including understanding what his family and friends went through as he lay there dying, coming to terms with his now permanent disabilities, and trying to find some lesson in this cosmic accident, he leaned on the one sure thing that he knows and that didn’t leave him—his writing.

Drew takes a deep dive into what it meant to be a bystander to his own death and figuring out who this new Drew is – along the way he experiences an awakening of a whole other kind in this incredibly funny, medically illuminating, and heartfelt memoir.

Drew Magary lived his formative years here in Litchfield. A co-founder of Defector and a columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle online, he wrote at Deadspin for over a decade before quitting with the rest of the staff en masse in protest. He’s the author of three novels, including Point B, The Hike, and The Postmortal. Today Drew lives in Maryland with his wife, his three kids, his dog, and 95 percent of a functioning brain. AND, he’s a Chopped champion! BELIEVE IT.


To Join by Phone: Dial +1 646 876 9923:
Meeting ID: 825 3327 5066
Passcode: 137091


Monday Scholars: World War II - The Pacific Theater


LIVE Zoom Event - At The Time of Event...Click Here To Join On ZOOM

Mondays: 1:00 - 2:30 PM 
January 3 - March 28*

*No meeting on February 21

About Monday Scholars:

Monday Scholars combines the best of online learning with live virtual discussion! All you need to do in advance is be eager to learn and discuss. Each week, you will log in and together, via Zoom, all of us will watch two video lectures presented by Dr. Craig L. Symonds of the US Naval War College. Then, via Zoom, OWL's Karen Pasternak will lead everyone in a discussion of what we just watched.


About the course:

The Japanese attack on the United States Battle Fleet stationed at Pearl Harbor, on December 7, 1941, struck most Americans like a bolt from the blue. While the attack was a tactical success for Japanese Admiral Yamamoto, it was also one of the most reckless strategic decisions in the history of warfare, for it awakened a sleeping giant—the US military—and triggered some of the most harrowing and ferocious military actions the world had ever seen.

World War II: The Pacific Theater takes you inside the sweeping story of the American fight against the Japanese. Taught by Professor Craig L. Symonds, a distinguished military historian, these 24 vivid lectures chronicle the global trajectory of the war in the Pacific: the epic battles, the military strategy and tactics, the leaders and commanders, the amphibious landings, the air attacks, and the submarine campaigns.

Professor Symonds transports you to the rolling seas of the Pacific, into the jungles of Guadalcanal and the Philippines, and across the black sands of Iwo Jima. You’ll meet fascinating figures such as General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral William Halsey, Admiral Chester Nimitz, the codebreakers at Station Hypo, and countless others, including Marines, soldiers, sailors, and airmen.

Besides giving a comprehensive survey of the Pacific War, this course offers a deep dive into military strategy. For instance, though Japan’s primary goal in the 1930s was the conquest of China, Admiral Yamamoto insisted on attacking the American fleet in Pearl Harbor. Why?

The story of the Pacific Theater is a dizzying sequence of raids and battles, invasions and onslaughts, all aided by the deadly tools of war. Professor Symonds clarifies the war and offers a remarkable military history of the conflict. World War II: The Pacific Theater is an absolute must for military buffs, history enthusiasts, and anyone wishing to deepen their knowledge of world history. Settle in for a thrilling ride.

About the instructor:

Craig L. Symonds is the Ernest J. King Distinguished Professor of Maritime History at the US Naval War College and Professor Emeritus of History at the US Naval Academy. Professor Symonds received his PhD in History from the University of Florida. He served as Professor of Strategy at the Britannia Royal Naval College from 1994 to 1995.

During a 30-year teaching career at the US Naval Academy, Professor Symonds served a four-year term as department chair and held the Class of 1957 Distinguished Chair of Naval Heritage from 2011 to 2012. He was the first person to win both the Class of 1951 Civilian Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching and the Civilian Faculty Award for Excellence in Research, and he also received the Navy Superior Civilian Service Award on three occasions.

Professor Symonds is the author or editor of 29 books, including prize-winning biographies of Civil War figures Joseph E. Johnston, Patrick Cleburne, and Franklin Buchanan. His book Decision at Sea: Five Naval Battles that Shaped American History won the Theodore and Franklin D. Roosevelt Prize in Naval History. He also wrote Lincoln and His Admirals: Abraham Lincoln, the U.S. Navy, and the Civil War, which won the Benjamin Barondess Award, the Daniel M. & Marilyn W. Laney Prize, the John Lyman Book Award, the Gilder Lehrman Lincoln Prize, and the Abraham Lincoln Institute Book Award.

More recently, Professor Symonds has focused on World War II naval issues. His books on the subject include The Battle of Midway; Neptune: The Allied Invasion of Europe and the D-Day Landings, which won both the Commodore John Barry Book Award and the RADM Samuel Eliot Morison Award for Naval Literature; and World War II at Sea: A Global History. Additionally, Professor Symonds received the Nevins-Freeman Award in 2009 and the Commodore Dudley W. Knox Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014.

  • To Join by Phone dial 1 646 876 9923 (New York)
  • Meeting ID: 812 1416 7376
  • Password: 238486



MORE Information about Zoom:

All of our Virtual Zoom Events are live. They are not recorded. To participate/join the event, you need to use the exact link connected to the event. Once you click on the link at the specified date and time, you will be prompted to open Zoom, the virtual meeting program we are using. All you need is an internet connection and a device or computer with a webcam and audio. Most computers have built-in webcams. No passwords or confirmation codes, just click the link and follow the prompts.

Still having difficulty understanding how to access Zoom? Email OWL's Technology Coordinator Ted Moy at [email protected] to set-up a virtual Book-a-Tech session and he will go over it with you.

More security, more privacy: In response to concerns about privacy in a virtual meeting space, we have enabled additional security features in Zoom and updated our meeting links to be protected, private, and secure. These new, unique links can also be accessed through our e-newsletters.To receive secure information regarding these events, please subscribe to our e-newsletter! Click here to subscribe