Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
Enter your search term below: 
About OWL

 ~Adult Events ~



Bibliotherapy Series 




2019 Adult Summer

Reading Program


Begins June 18
through August 22!




Taking care of your brain by nourishing your mind with books as well as attending engaging events, and being part of a community are critical components of self-care. This summer, our adult summer reading program: OWL Reads: a Summer of Self-Care provides all of these components. And, best of all, it’s fun and easy to participate!
Just sign up at the front desk. Once you register, we will give you an OWL Reads Bingo Challenge Card. Each square is a different reading or event attendance category. If you complete the three-in-a-row or four corners, you win an exclusive invitation to attend our Summer Reading After-Hours Finale Party (See below for details about the Finale). Read any book, fiction or non-fiction, that you feel fits the category suggestion.

Categories include: Classic Books that Soothe the Soul, Books that Inspire, Books for Times of Angst, Books with a Happy Ending, Books that Take You Far Away, The Novel Cure, Books to Read Again, and Attending an OWL Summer Event.
Bonus: tell us what books you like in each category and we’ll share them with everyone on our Book Lover’s E-List!

For More Details or Questions? Ask Patricia at [email protected], 860-567-8030 or stop in!


Adult Summer Reading Finale
Blind Contour Drawing
with Jessica Jane Russell

Monday, August 26
7:00 - 8:30 PM





Join us as we wrap up a Summer of Self-Care! We want to celebrate YOU! Join us first for a celebratory prosecco or sparkling water toast along with some delectable desserts, and then get ready to make art and take-home your own art project!

You have cared for your brain this summer by reading books and attending programs, now it’s time to nurture your mind with art! Jessica Jane Russell of the Art Room Atelier will lead us in creating our own Blind Contour Prints.

Play with “blind contour drawing” a time tested process for accessing right brain functions. We will reproduce these semi-abstract drawings, making black and white prints the old fashioned way, for hand-coloring in watercolor. Perfect for playful cards or small framed artworks!

Jessica Jane Russell is a teaching artist, trained architect, and mother. She operates an art studio in the old brick Switch Factory in Bantam that is used for production, exhibition, and events supportive of regional contemporary artwork. It is also where she conducts programs to nurture creativity and provide a refuge from the demands of our over-pressured, over-scheduled worlds. Visit her website at artroomatelier.com

For Participants who completed OWL Reads! Challenge



 Bibliotherapy Series with Mary Mahoney 


Books as Medicine:
Reading, Writing, and Reflecting on Therapeutic
Reading and Its Histories

Wednesdays, June 19 - July 24*
7:00 - 8:00 PM
* No meeting July 3rd

Click Here to Register


This 5 week series centers on bibliotherapy, or the use of books as medicine. Mary Mahoney will lead us in a discussion of the rich history of bibliotherapy, from asylums in the 1800s, to World War I, to present day ideas about what makes for a healing book in our own lives. Our examination of the past will serve as inspiration for life writing exercises that invite participants to write and reflect on their own experiences.

Mary Mahoney is a scholar whose research focuses on the history of the idea that books can serve as medicine. Specifically, her dissertation examines the history of bibliotherapy, or the use of books as medicine, in the Anglophone world from 1800 to 1970. The study considers conceptualizations of the imagination, mind, and the self in tracking what practitioners of bibliotherapy, as this field came to be known, believed they were healing. It asks what physicians, psychologists, librarians, and patients identified as the sick object in need of treatment, what books made the best medicine, and who decided. In doing so, her scholarship presents both a history of ideas and a history of the emergent medical technologies and professions inspired and shaped by these ideas.

Registration is Required 




The Art of Henna
with Elyse Sadtler

Sunday, July 21
12:30 - 2:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



The art of henna has been practiced for over 5000 years in Pakistan, India, Africa and the Middle East. In ancient Egyptian times mummies wore henna designs and it is documented that Cleopatra used it for decorative purposes.

Join Elyse Sadtler for an informative, dynamic and fun introduction to henna. This comprehensive program is two hours in length and includes a presentation containing basic information, a henna paste mixing demonstration, and a “Fact or Fiction” trivia game. At the conclusion of the program, attendees will have a chance to ask questions and everyone will receive their own henna design from Elyse.

Elyse Sadtler is an Internationally Certified Natural Henna Artist based in Northwest Connecticut. After being introduced to henna by an Indian friend, she became passionate about this ancient art form. As a self-taught professional, she enjoys experimenting with various design elements from intricate Indian patterns to geometric Moroccan motifs. A state certified educator by trade, Elyse puts her love of teaching to use by offering workshops and classes to teach others about this beautiful form of body art. Henna allows for endless creative expression, and she enjoys sharing it with others!

Registration is Required





A Chance for Land & Fresh Air:
Russian Jewish Immigration in Sharon & Amenia 1907 - 1940
with Author Carol Ascher

Monday, July 22
12:30 - 2:o0 PM

Click Here to Register 




In 1907, the first of thirty Russian Jewish families settled in the Ellsworth hills above Sharon to try their hand at dairy farming. The Russian Czar had forbidden Jews to farm, and Baron Maurice de Hirsch helped fund their mortgages in the hope that farming would enable Jews to become productive and fully-respected citizens in America. But the Sharon hills were too stony for dairy farming, and most families subsidized their incomes by offering kosher vacations to New York City Jews wanting fresh air.

In A Chance for Land & Fresh Air Carol Ascher draws an important and moving story of Jewish rural life in the early decades of the twentieth century from photos and interviews with descendants, many of whom remain in the area, as well as from land records, census data and other historical documents.

Carol Ascher is the author of two novels, The Flood and A Call From Spooner Street, and a memoir, Afterimages, as well as several books of nonfiction. Her stories and essays have appeared in the New York Times, The Nation, Ms. Magazine, and other publications. Her writing has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Foundation for the Arts, and the National Foundation for Jewish Culture.

 Registration is Required





mostly plants: 101 Delicious Flexitarian
Recipes from the Pollan Family
Book Talk with Book talk with Dana and
Lori Pollan

Tuesday, July 23
7:o0 - 8:o0 PM

Click Here to Register 



“Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” With these seven words, Michael Pollan, brother of Lori, Dana, and Tracy Pollan, and son of Corky, started a national conversation about how to eat for optimal health. A decade later, the value of a plant-based diet is widely accepted - and yet for many people, easier said than done.

In mostly plants readers will find recipes that satisfy or can be adapted to almost all dietary needs; vegetarian, vegan, gluten free, and dairy free. And the best part: many of these dishes can be on the table in 35 minutes or less! With skillet-to-oven recipes, sheet pan suppers, one-pot meals and more, this is real cooking for real life: meals that are wholesome, delectable - and mostly plants.

Meet the Pollans:

Dana Pollan has spent a lifetime focusing on health, fitness, and nutrition. She started her career in the industry 25 years ago as a cofounder of the Pollan-Austen Fitness Center, which became one of New York City’s top-rated exercise studios. Dana then moved on to her second career as a full-time mother. Today, she lives in New York City with her husband and their three children. Having her own family has allowed her to reconnect with her true lifetime passion - cooking and food.



Lori Pollan, who holds an MBA, began her career in the health and fitness field 25 years ago. She cofounded the renowned Pollan-Austen Fitness Center where she guided clients through highly effective exercise and diet regimens. In the mid-nineties, Lori left the workforce to raise her three children. While a stay-at-home mom, she made it a priority to engage her children in cooking-related activities. She is now a certified life coach, instructing clients in improved fitness, nutrition, and stress management so they can create a more balanced and healthy lifestyle.


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



Letters are Characters
with Author Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu

Tuesday, July 30
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 




Reading well and deeply is critical to our children’s success and well-being in school and in life. However, according to statistics, two-thirds of fourth graders are not reaching fluency benchmarks. Moreover, ninety-three million Americans cannot read beyond a basic level, meaning they, for example, could read a simple recipe but not detailed medical information about a prescription. The science of reading is readily available and can change this trajectory. For this to happen, community conversations about reading need to start.

This realization prompted the journey that resulted in Caroline’s book, Letters are Characters, and accompanying program. The goal of the body of work is to protect children by empowering parents/caregivers with essential information that every caregiver needs to know about reading.  

Caroline Wilcox Ugurlu, is a researcher, teacher and OWL’s library assistant with a focus on early literacy. She has spent four 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.

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



Celebrating Litchfield's 300th Anniversary

The Loyal Son: The War in Ben Franklin's House
with Author Daniel Mark Epstein

Thursday, August 1
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



Ben Franklin is the most lovable of America’s founding fathers. His wit, his charm, his inventiveness - even his grandfatherly appearance - are legendary. But this image obscures the scandals that dogged him throughout his life. In The Loyal Son, award-winning historian Daniel Mark Epstein throws the spotlight on one of the more enigmatic aspects of Franklin’s biography: his complex and confounding relationship with his illegitimate son William.

A fresh take on the combustible politics of the age of independence, The Loyal Son is a gripping account of how the agony of the American Revolution devastated one of America’s most distinguished families. Like Nathaniel Philbrick and David McCullough, Epstein is a storyteller first and foremost, a historian who weaves together fascinating incidents discovered in long-neglected documents to draw us into the private world of the men and women who made America.

Daniel Mark Epstein is the author of biographies of Abraham Lincoln, Walt Whitman, Aimee Semple McPherson, Nat King Cole, and Edna St. Vincent Millay, as well as nine volumes of poetry. His verse has appeared in The Atlantic, The New Yorker, and The Paris Review, among other publications. The American Academy of Arts and Letters awarded Epstein the Rome Prize in 1977 and an Arts and Letters Award in 2006. Daniel lives in Baltimore.

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



Gardening: Boundless Harvests,
Tricky Problems and More!
with Cameron Bove

Sunday, August 4
1:00 - 2:00 PM

Click Here to Register 


Back by popular demand, a gardening Q&A with Cameron Bove!

What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than talking about gardening tips with an expert? Cameron Bove will be answering questions and dispensing advice about harvesting your vegetables and dealing with any gardening pests and problems unique to the Northwest Corner of Connecticut.

This is the time of year when many of us feel as though we are drowning in veggies, so as an added bonus, Cameron, who is also a gifted home cook, will share the recipes and techniques used in some of her favorite vegetable-based dishes.

Cameron Bove is the Head Horticulturist at Arethusa Gardens in Litchfield. Arethusa Gardens grows organic, heirloom and heritage vegetables and fruits that are sold at its farm stand and served in many local restaurants including Arethusa al Tavolo and Arethusa a Mano. Cameron has been a passionate organic gardener for nearly two decades.

Registration is Required 




Celebrating Litchfield's 300th Anniversary

The American Revolution in Connecticut
with Stephen McGrath

Thursday, August 15
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



Even though there were not any famous battles or historic war sites in Connecticut, the state played a very active role in the early years of the American Revolution. First of all, Connecticut was similar to other Northeast colonies in their revolutionary ideologies and opposition to Great Britain.

Join Stephen McGrath in this discussion on Connecticut’s involvement in the American Revolution. He will focus on how Connecticut became embroiled in the conflict with Britain; the military action that ravaged the southern half of the state; the significant contributions of Connecticut as the provisions state; the abolition of slavery in Connecticut, and the emergence of new political forces that would change the state’s future.

Stephen P. McGrath is Adjunct Professor of History at Central Connecticut State University. He has taught in the public school systems and part-time at the university level for over 27 years. At CCSU, he teaches all periods of American history, a comparative course in the American and French Revolutions, and supervises student teachers. He is past president of the Connecticut Coordinating Committee for the Promotion of History, a member of the Association for the Study of Connecticut History, and served on the Board of Trustees of the Litchfield Historical Society for six years.

Registration is Required 





Celebrating Litchfield's 300th Anniversary

Colonial Lives
Through the Eyes of Freedwoman
Clo Pratt 
A Live Theatrical Performance with
Tammy Denease

Thursday, August 22
7:00 - 8:30 PM

Click Here to Register 



Although born into slavery, Clo Pratt is willed her freedom by her late mistress. As a free woman, she earns her living by making clothes with her loom and cleaning local homes.

Join educator and performing artist Tammy Denease on a trip to colonial Connecticut, where you will learn about some of the events that led to freedom for the Colonies through the eyes of freedwoman Clo Pratt. She will recount important events such as the 1781 meeting between General George Washington and General Rochambeau in Wethersfield, Connecticut, where the two generals met at the home of Joseph Webb to map out their strategy for the Battle of Yorktown. Other stories will touch upon the trials and tribulations of being an enslaved person.

In her series “”Hidden Women,” storyteller, playwright, actor and living historian Tammy Denease brings to life fascinating women who have been ‘hidden’ in history yet were prominent in the United States and beyond. From her research, Tammy has developed one-woman performances that teach life lessons. Among her favorites are Bessie Coleman, first internationally licensed pilot in the world, Elizabeth Keckly, former enslaved woman who worked as a dressmaker in Lincoln’s White House, and Margru, an Amistad captive.

Registration is Required














160 South Street, P.O. Box 187 Litchfield, Connecticut 06759 | Ph: 860-567-8030 | Fx: 860-567-4784

Contact Us | Directions | Hours