Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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 ~Adult Events ~



Monday Scholars:

The Agency: A History of the CIA

Mondays 12:30 - 2:00 PM
September 9 through December 16th *
*No Meeting  Sept. 30, Oct. 14 or Dec. 2

Click Here to Register 


Monday Scholars is a weekly series that combines the best of online learning with classroom discussion. Each week a new lecture topic is watched together and then discussed by the group. All you need to do is come ready to engage your mind and participate. Join Adult Services Librarian Patricia Moore as she facilitates this discussion.

About the course:
The video lecture series of The Agency: A History of the CIA will be taught by Professor Hugh Wilford. Since the eve of the Cold War, the Central Intelligence Agency has been tasked by the U.S. government with keeping watch on an increasingly dangerous and unstable world. 
We’ll examine the origins of the CIA and America’s complicated relationship with foreign intelligence and study what went right - and wrong - with some of the CIA’s most important covert missions. We’ll also explore the relationship between the CIA and popular movies, literature, and television and discover how Congress and the American people have worked to check the CIA’s expansive powers. Few organizations are as fascinating, as mysterious and as controversial.

Hugh Wilford is a Professor of History at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB). Born in the United Kingdom, he earned his PhD in American Studies from the University of Exeter and received scholarships from the Fulbright Commission and the British government to teach and research in the United States, first at CSULB, then at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he remains a Faculty Affiliate. 


Registration is Required - *No Meeting September 30, Oct. 14 or Dec. 2 






10 Plays in Under an Hour
Performed by Nancy Palmento Schuler & Ed Schuler

Wednesday, November 13
7:00 - 8:o0 PM

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The library welcomes back Nancy Palmento Schuler to perform her latest creation “10 Plays in Under an Hour,” a fast-paced production of short comedic and dramatic one act plays.

Born and raised in Waterbury, Nancy has lived in Litchfield for over 20 years with her husband, Ed. After a life of teaching art and painting, she transitioned to writing and acting. Her story Teresa, about her Italian immigrant grandmother, was awarded a place at the New York Public Library Equity Theater’s 2017 new playwrights. She performed Teresa at the Italian American Museum in New York, the Manhattan Repertory Theatre, the New Britain Museum, Shakesperience Productions, the Mattatuck Museum and many community centers and libraries. Her trilogy, Three Women, Three Roads, has also been performed at numerous theatres and libraries.

Nancy continues to be busy writing and acting. Most recently her play, “They Say It’s My Birthday,” which she performed here at OWL last year, was performed at the Northport Playhouse on Long Island. It was the first time she experienced other actors performing one of her works. She can also be seen in various television commercials and was excited to be in a full-length movie and a music video both filmed in New York this year. Her husband, Ed continues to perform with her and has also added commercial work to his resume.

Registration is Required     



Protect Your Child's Future:
Why Reading Well Matters
with Dr. Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu

Wednesday, November 20
7:00 - 8:00 PM

 Click Here to Register 


Reading is critical to children’s well-being, impacts every subject that they study, and, the ability to read well and deeply has a profound effect on their lives. During this one hour talk you will learn about how to provide reading support and instruction for the child/children in your life. You will also learn how to advocate, if necessary. Play based tools and techniques will be discussed. Caregivers will learn how to help all types of readers read optimally – from those that struggle to those excel.

The importance of reading to a child’s well-being and sense of self cannot be overstated. There is so much that parents and caregivers can do that is not complicated or time consuming.

Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu, Ph.D., is an interpretive researcher, teacher and OWL’s library assistant with a focus on early literacy. She has spent five years studying reading including the neurological processes involved in reading and the sociological, physiological and cultural aspects of reading acquisition and its opposite – failure to acquire reading fluency. She has developed a method to help children ages 4 – 7 break the phonemic code in a fun and playful way and has authored a book on the subject. She will complete her Wilson Certification in 2020.

Registration is Required     






Writing the Mother
with Authors
Elissa Altman
& Courtney Maum

Thursday, November 21
7:00 - 8:o0 PM

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Acclaimed authors Elissa Altman and Courtney Maum will discuss the thorny subject of “Writing the Mother” in celebration of National Novel Writing Month. Altman’s Motherland: A Memoir of Love, Loathing and Longing explores how you can care for an aging mother that you love, but don’t necessarily like. Maum’s latest, Costalegre imagines the exodus of surrealist artists from Hitler’s Europe from the fictionalized point of view of Peggy Guggenheim’s only daughter, Pegeen Vail.

Representing a veritable excavation of mother-daughter relationships, both authors will divulge how they approached their respective subjects, and will dish out writing advice in honor of NaNoWriMo - National Novel Writing Month that is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing.


Elissa Altman is the critically-acclaimed author of Treyf: My Life as an Unorthodox Outlaw, Poor Man’s Feast: A Love Story of Comfort, Desire, and the Art of Simple Cooking and the James Beard Award-winning narrative blog of the same name. Upon its hardcover publication in 2013, The New York Times Book Review declared Poor Man’s Feast to be “one of the finest food memoirs of recent years.” Her work has appeared everywhere from Tin House and O: The Oprah Magazine to Tablet, The New York Times, Saveur, and Krista Tippett’s On Being.

In the Washington Post her year-long column, “Feeding My Mother” launched a conversation about nurturing, sustenance, and the moral imperative to make senior citizens part of our national food dialogue. Her work has been selected for inclusion in Best Food Writing for six years and in 2016 was a finalist for the Frank McCourt Memoir Prize, awarded by The Southampton Review. She speaks widely on issues of sustenance and the power and importance of storytelling, and teaches the craft of memoir both in the United States and abroad. She lives in Newtown, Connecticut with her family.


Courtney Maum is the author of the novels Costalegre, Touch, I Am Having So Much Fun Here Without You, and the handbook Before and After the Book Deal: A Writer’s Guide to Finishing, Publishing, Promoting, and Surviving Your First Book, forthcoming from Catapult. Her writing has been widely published in such outlets as BuzzFeed; the New York Times; O, the Oprah Magazine; and Poets & Writers.

At various points in her life, she has been a trend forecaster, a fashion publicist, and a party promoter for Corona Extra. She currently works as a product namer for M·A·C cosmetics and other companies from her home in Norfolk, Connecticut, where she founded the learning collaborative, “The Cabins” which will take place again in the summer of 2020. She also runs a service called “The Query Doula” where she helps writers prepare their manuscripts and query letters for an agent’s eyes.

Registration is Required
A wine & cheese reception will follow.
The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing.




Carving Out a Living on the Land
with Author Emmet Van Driesche

Thursday, December 5
7:00 - 8:o0 PM

Click Here to Register  


When he first envisioned becoming a farmer, author Emmet Van Driesche never imagined his main crop would be Christmas trees. Carving Out a Living on the Land tells the story of how Van Driesche navigated changing life circumstances, took advantage of unexpected opportunities, and leveraged new and old skills to piece together an economically viable living, while at the same time respecting the land’s complex ecological relationships.

From spoon carving to scything, coppicing to wreath-making, his book proves that you don’t need acres of expensive bottomland to start your land-based venture, but rather the creativity and vision to see what might be done with that rocky section or ditch or patch of trees too small to log.

Born and raised in western Massachusetts, Emmet Van Driesche worked a number of years on sailing ships; an experience that continues to shape him. In 2009 he chose to return to the Pioneer Valley to take over the management of a 60-year-old coppiced Christmas tree farm. When he’s not working on the tree farm or editing scientific manuscripts, he spends his time carving spoons and teaching both spoon carving and scything. His work is deeply embedded in the importance of physical work, an ability to use his hands and a Yankee sense of practicality.

Registration is Required    
A wine & cheese reception will follow.
The Hickory Stick Bookshop will provide books for sale & signing.





Christmas Poem Workshop
with Jim Kelleher

Sunday, December 8
1:00 - 2:30 PM

Click Here to Register  


I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old, familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet
The words repeat
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!

~ Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Has Amazon bankrupted your Spirit of Christmas? Join Jim Kelleher as he leads OWL’s Christmas Poem Workshop to rekindle your sense of yuletide joy.

Read and respond to Christmas poems by Anne Sexton, Robert Frost, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Maxine Kumin, Walter De La Mare, e.e. cummings, and others not so rich or famous. Bring your own Christmas poem to the discussion. You will leave richer for the reading and you can take your reading packet with you.

Packets will be available at OWL two weeks before the program.

Jim Kelleher has published three books of poetry: Quarry, Mick: A Celestial Drama, and Selected Poems. Individual poems have been published in Yankee, The Christian Science Monitor, Fine Homebuilding, The Country and Abroad, and more. Jim is an adjunct professor at Northwestern CT Community College, where he teaches literature and composition.

Registration is Required     




The Cookbook Club
Holiday Cookie Swap

Wednesday, December 11
7:00 - 8:00 PM

 Click Here to Register 



The OWL Cookbook Club wants to simplify your holiday baking! Join Librarian Patricia Moore as she hosts the Cookbook Club’s Holiday Cookie Swap Party. Be inspired by one of our recommended holiday cookie cookbooks or bring a batch of your family favorite cookies or bars. Come prepared to tell us what inspired you or share why your cookie is a family favorite.

We will sample our delicious treats, then swap and package some to take home. Patricia will provide festive take-home boxes to package our treats. Everyone leaves with a wonderful assortment of holiday cookies -- and plenty of new recipes for the holidays!

Each baker, please bring the recipe you used and we will make copies to share. Check out our display of recommended holiday cookbooks beginning a month before the event.

Join us and make your holiday season sweet!

Registration is Required     
























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