Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

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 ~Adult Events ~



Monday Scholars:

Moral Leadership for a Divided Age:
Fourteen People Who Dared
to Change Our World

A Book Discussion Series
by Reverend Paul D. Sinnott

Mondays 1:00 - 2:00 PM
January 20 through March 9*
*No Meeting  February 17

Click Here to Register 




Moral Leadership for a Divided Age explores the lives of fourteen great moral leaders and the wisdom they offer us today. Through skillful storytelling and honest appraisals of their legacies, we encounter exemplary human beings who are flawed in some ways, gifted in others.

In this book discussion series, the group will discuss two leaders each week, using the questions the authors provide at the end of each chapter. The first session will explore the life of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and, as our series begins on Martin Luther King, Jr. day, the life of that extraordinary leader as well. The Reverend Paul D. Sinnott will lead us as moderator. 
There will be copies of the book available at OWL in the weeks leading up to the discussion series. Check out your copy and come to the first meeting ready to discuss the chapters on Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Reverend Paul D. Sinnott is an interim pastor at St. James Lutheran Church in Southbury. He had served the New England Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America as Associate to the Bishop. In addition to providing ecclesial oversight for 71 congregations, Paul was the voice for public policy for the Synod in six State Houses. He is a guest lecturer at Yale Divinity School in the Lutheran Studies program and has worked guiding pilgrims on tours of Israel and Palestine. 

Registration is Required. *No Meeting February 17



Archaeological Oddities:
A Field Guide to Forty Claims of
Lost Civilizations, Ancient Visitors, & 
Other Strange Sites in North America
with Author Kenneth L. Feder

Wednesday, February 26
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Does evidence show that Native Americans residing in Utah a thousand years ago lived among dinosaurs, depicting those creatures in their rock art? Did some of those same ancient Americans also encounter visitors from other planets, painting images of space-suited aliens on canyon walls? Have archaeologists discovered evidence that members of the Lost Tribes of Israel visited ancient America, leaving their mark by engraving the Ten Commandments in Hebrew on rocks in New Mexico? Have archaeologists discovered the far western outpost of an ancient Egyptian pharaoh, not in Egypt or even Africa, but in, of all places, California?

Join us as these questions and more are answered by archaeologist Ken Feder in Archaeological Oddities: A Field Guide to Forty Claims of Lost Civilizations, Ancient Visitors, and Other Strange Sites in North America.

Ken Feder is a professor of archaeology at Central Connecticut State University and the author of several books on archaeology and criticism of pseudoarchaeology, including Frauds, Myths, and Mysteries: Science and Pseudoscience in ArchaeologyEncyclopedia of Dubious Archaeology: From Atlantis to the Walam Olum and Ancient America: Fifty Archaeological Sites to See for Yourself. He is the founder and director of the Farmington River Archaeological Project.

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




Around the World in 80 Gardens
with Dr. Richard Benfield

Sunday, March 8
1:00 - 2:00 PM


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Eighty gardens in seven continents! Beginning in the lush gardens of the Pacific, through South America and Europe to South East Asia and Australia, Dr. Richard Benfield, will show garden enthusiasts and laymen alike the different and unique gardens and floral kingdoms of the world.

Benfield will take attendees through the three acres of gardens in Singapore airport, the arid gardens of Australia, the tropical gardens of the Seychelles and the Canary Islands, and the beautiful English country gardens of his home country. His tour will end with the unique and different gardens in the United States and Canada.

Dr. Richard W. Benfield is Emeritus Professor of Geography at Central Connecticut State University where he teaches courses in Human Geography; Plants, Predators and Parks; Russia; The European Union; and many of the courses in the department’s tourism track.

His current research interests are in biogeography, particularly garden tourism, and the use of tourism as a conservation tool through the great botanic gardens of the world. His research has taken him to over 115 countries where he has visited botanical gardens, and public and private gardens.

Registration is Required 




Revolutionary War Lecture Series
with Edward Hynes

Wednesdays: March 11 & April 15
1:00 - 2:00 PM

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Join history enthusiast Edward Hynes in these action-filled Revolutionary War lectures.

March 11: The Danbury Raid & The Battle of Ridgefield
This fascinating lecture begins on April 25, 1777, when the British land at Compo Beach, march through Redding to Danbury, and return to the shore through Ridgefield and Wilton. Learn about the roles key historical figures played in the Raid and Battle including Brigadier General Benedict Arnold, Major General David Wooster, and Brigadier General Gold Selleck Silliman.

April 15: Activity on Long Island Sound during the Revolutionary War
This exciting lecture reveals the action, intrigue and terror of the people living around Long Island Sound during America’s War for Independence. With the Connecticut and Long Island coasts less than 10 miles apart in many sections of the Sound, raiders crossed every fair night either to smuggle and/or steal goods; and kidnap or kill enemies. Spies, on both sides, rounded out this dangerous cast of characters.

Edward Hynes, CFA is a native of Wilton, CT. He and his wife have traveled extensively to various battlefields around the country and overseas. In addition to his interest in history, Ed works as a Merrill Lynch Financial Advisor in Westport.

Registration is Required 





Bookmarked for Murder
a Tech-Free, Interactive Puzzle Adventure

Thursday, March 12
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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This is not your usual “murder mystery” event - there will be no character acting or using silly accents. You are an investigator looking for the who, the where, and the how of a murder.
Librarian Patricia Moore has created a unique treat for you - questions that will test your literary skill and knowledge! Each answer leads you to the next clue and gives you part of the puzzle to help solve the crime. Every team that correctly answers all of the questions and completes the adventure will receive a mystery prize.
The backstory: Misty Rother has invited seven members of her mystery writer’s guild to celebrate the publication of her new novel, Bookmarked for Death. However, many of the guests may not be happy with Misty’s success. As they gather in the library, the night turns deadly: Misty is found dead.
Your investigative team has been called in to solve the case and put the right person behind bars. You will need to use your research skills to find the answers to our puzzles and literary questions - no computers or smart phones may be used to find the answer!
Sign up in teams of four, or a team will be assigned to you. Dust off those research skills and get ready for an exciting evening that blends trivia and scavenger hunt!

To find the answers, you need to use your knowledge of literature and authors as well as any printed material in the library. But this is “old school”- no computers or smart phones may be used to find the answer.

Registration is Required 





Growing Up in the Digital Age
A Community Conversation
Facilitated by Dr. Joel Behar

Wednesday: March 18th
6:30 - 7:30 PM

  Click Here to Register


The Oliver Wolcott Library and the Litchfield Parent Teacher Organization (PTO) have partnered to offer a presentation and discussion about the complicated job of parenting in the digital age. Screen usage is addictive, and more and more children are suffering from mental and physical health issues correlated with usage of digital media and a lack of connection to nature and community. Understanding these issues will help us all navigate them.

Join us as we discuss:

  • How neurobiology research informs our understanding of how to parent well in the digital age

  • What practical limits and precautions look like

  • What happens when we take a community approach to the big issues of parenting, and how we can support each other

Dr. Joel Behar, Ph.D., LCSW, BCD, ABMP has been a mental health practitioner for over 40 years. He has worked in a wide range of settings: private practice; psychiatric and general medical hospitals; schools; universities and non-profit organizations. With his extensive knowledge and significant advanced training, he has successfully treated a broad demographic spectrum of individuals. He has taught children as young as 5 mindfulness and stress management, has worked with tweens and teens with a wide variety of issues, from substance abuse, chronic anxiety, stress, trauma and bereavement.

Registration is Required 




Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile
a Book Discussion facilitated by Stuart Barnett

Thursday, March 19
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Join Stuart Barnett as he explores one of Christie’s most popular novels, Death on the Nile. We’ll learn about what makes the novel so successful as well as about its historical and cultural context. Bonus: you’ll be all prepared for the new film adaption, directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh and Gal Gadot, to be released in October!

In 1937, The Times Literary Supplement’s short review by Caldwell Harpur concluded, “Hercule Poirot, as usual, digs out a truth so unforeseen that it would be unfair for a reviewer to hint at it.”

The Guinness World Records lists Christie as the best-selling novelist of all time. Her novels have sold roughly 2 billion copies, and her estate claims that her works come third in the rankings of the world’s most-widely published books, behind only Shakespeare’s works and the Bible.  What makes Christie so irresistible to read and watch? We’ll dive into one of her most popular novels to discuss that very question.

Stuart Barnett is Professor of English at Central Connecticut State University. He has published on German and French philosophy and literature. More recently, he has been lecturing and publishing on Agatha Christie. He has researched at Greenway, Agatha Christie’s house, which is now managed by the National Trust and worked with the Agatha Christie Archive, which is managed by her grandson.

Registration is Required 





Gaspe Peninsula:
Two Trips, Decades Apart
with Eleanor Jacobs

Sunday, March 22
1:00 - 2:30 PM

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In 1954, photographer Raymond Jacobs and his wife Eleanor embarked on a 1,600-mile road trip in their convertible from New York City to the Gaspé Peninsula in Canada.

Eleanor still vividly remembers the experience. Raymond, renowned for creating illuminating documentary photographs, immortalized the hardworking Gaspé families and the area’s maritime landscape.

This past October, on the 65th anniversary of their journey, the Musée de la Gaspésie debuted Raymond Jacobs – Gaspésie, 1954, a solo exhibition of 39 photographs never before shown in Canada. On this present-day adventure, Eleanor, and her daughters Susan Jacobs and Laura Jacobs Pavlick, re-traced the same car route to the Gaspé to attend the opening. The exhibition will be on display until October 2021.

Raymond Jacobs (1923-1993) is best known for his 1950s and 1960s photographs of New York City street scenes and for his portraits of notable subjects including Louis Armstrong, Gloria Swanson, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., and Salvador Dali. His photographs have been exhibited extensively and are in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art.

Raymond also had a successful career as a commercial photographer, creating advertising campaigns for clients including IBM, Pan Am, and Campbell Soup. His work has been published in magazines such as Esquire, Harper’s Bazaar and Fortune. 

In addition, Eleanor and Raymond co-founded and popularized Earth Shoes, a counter-culture symbol of the 1970s.

Susan Jacobs is an experiential event producer, strategist, and writer who lives in Brooklyn.

Laura Jacobs Pavlick is a 6th degree black belt in Aikido and owner of the Litchfield Hills Aikikai dojo. She and her husband are long-time residents of Litchfield, where they raised their two children.

Registration is Required 



The Great Trials of the World
& the Lessons They Teach Us

Mondays 12:30 - 2:00 PM
March 23 through April 27

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Monday Scholars is a weekly series that combines the best of online learning with classroom discussion. Each week we will watch together two video lectures and then discuss them as a group. All you need to do is come ready to engage your mind and participate. Join Library Assistant Sheila Klapper as she facilitates this discussion.

About the course:
There are trials that don’t simply end with their verdict, but have apower that reverberates throughout history. In this course, we willexplore twelve “Great Trials” and discuss how they have shaped and
transformed our social, political and legal traditions. We will begin with the Salem Witch Trials and the Boston Massacre Trails and conclude with the Mississippi Burning Trials and the Chicago 8 Trial. We will also look at the Aaron Burr Conspiracy Trial, Lincoln Assassination Conspiracy Trial, the Amistad and Dakota Trials, Scopes Monkey Trial, Oscar Wilde Trial, Nuremburg Trials and the Alger Hiss Trial. The video lectures will be taught by Professor Douglas Linder, J.D.

About the professor:
Douglas O. Linder is Professor of Law at the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law. He graduated summa cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College and from Stanford Law School. He has published extensively in legal journals and books on such topics as great trials, legal history, constitutional law, and the legal profession.

Registration is Required.





Second Acts
with Sharon Ruchman

Thursday, March 26
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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In 2015 Sharon Ruchman’s great uncle Rudy’s viola finds its way to her. A virtuoso violinist who died in a tragic plane accident at the age of 25 in 1933, Rudolph “Rudy” Fuch’s story transforms Ruchman’s life personally and professionally, prompting her to write her memoir, The Gift of Rudy. Soon afterwards, she follows her passion for tango, composing five original Slow Tango compositions for Tango Berretin Dance Company in Portland, Oregon.

Join composer, pianist, and violinist, Sharon Ruchman as she talks about her Second Act. Sharon will share the story of living a creative life and all the obstacles and personal triumphs that come with that. In addition, the audience will be able to view video performances of some of Sharon’s compositions.

Sharon Ruchman began taking piano lessons at eight years old and in high school she studied with Rosetta Goodkind from the Julliard School of Music. She received her Bachelor of Music at New England Conservatory and Master of Music at Yale School of Music in voice. Today, she is studying viola - Rudy’s gift - and composing original work for SONORO, a musical ensemble which she founded in 2019. At the forefront of contemporary music performance, the group offers a playful and romantic mix of classical, jazz and Latin through a variety of flexible instrumentation that includes piano, flute, saxophone, viola, cello and percussion.

Registration is Required.




Murder in the Stacks Finale Event!

Cookbook Club: Food to Die For!

Tuesday, March 31
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Do you have a dish that is so good it is “to die for”? Bring your favorite “to-die-for” dish and join us as we share good food and great stories of our mystery reading triumphs! Everyone is invited!

If you don’t already have a “to die for recipe” in your arsenal, we will have mystery books containing recipes to inspire you.

Bonus points: For an extra Challenge, consider reading one of Diane Mott Davidson’s culinary mystery books,and then select one of the recipes from the book to bring to the finale!

Join us for this fun event. Come for the delectable dishes and fun conversation. Don’t worry we are all amateur cooks who love books! If you’re running short on time, don’t worry; just bring yourself - there is always a surplus of delicious food to enjoy.

Registration is Required.





The KonMari Method
with Christine Thorn

Sunday, April 5
1:00 - 2:00 PM


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Marie Kondo has become a household name through the popularity of her KonMari Method of tidying, decluttering and reorganizing homes as a way of transforming lives for the better. Inspired by Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, Christine Thorn studied with Kondo and her team in New York City and became certified as a KonMari consultant. This past November, she was chosen by Kondo’s team to serve on a panel for the KonMari Consultant Certification Courses in New York City.

Through the KonMari Method’s category-by-category system of tidying, Thorn creates living spaces of comfort and serenity, guiding others in a tidying journey toward keeping things that nourish the soul, while discarding the rest, which produces lasting results. At the heart of KonMari is the fundamental question about each object, Does this spark joy?

Christine Thorn has been helping people with their body, mind, and spirit for 27 years as a Chiropractor, Reflexologist, Reiki Master Practitioner, and Acupuncturist. Her passion for helping others heal through their environment and home has grown to include creating a new look and feel within their living spaces - and that, in turn, helped launch her on her KonMari journey.

 Registration is Required.





How to Eat
with Author Dr. David Katz

Thursday, April 16
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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What is the best diet? Do calories count? Does the “grapefruit diet” work? Should I eliminate gluten?
In How to Eat, bestselling author Mark Bittman and physician David Katz cut through all the noise on food, health, and diet to give you the real answers you need.  Bittman and Katz note that diets are ways of living that groups of people practice for generations, and there is lots of evidence to tell us a consistent story. But there are also so many opinions competing for attention, opinions that - intentionally or not - sow confusion.

Join co-author David Katz as he discusses and answers your questions about these important topics.

David L. Katz, MD, MPH, FACPM, FACP, FACLM earned his BA degree from Dartmouth College; his MD from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; and his MPH from the Yale University School of Public Health. He completed sequential residency training in Internal Medicine, and Preventive Medicine/Public Health. Among many things, he is Founder/President of the True Health Initiative, a non-profit organization established to promote messages about healthy, sustainable diet and lifestyle in the service of adding years to lives and life to years around the globe.

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




with Sheila Klapper

Sunday, April 19
1:00 - 2:00 PM

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Join us to gain perspective on what “mindfulness” is all about, as an approach to daily life and as a seated meditation practice. Schools, businesses, relationships, parenting, magazines, books, and internet articles all seem to touch on the topic. So, what is its value?

This presentation provides an overview of the supporting neuroscience as well as the philosophy and psychology behind century old practices that help us create a more balanced relationship with our thoughts. The mind may get quiet, but more practically, we will learn how to be with the “thought train” that often contributes to how “stressed” we feel in our lives. Bring questions and curiosity. We will learn a few techniques and have a guided group experience.

Sheila began a dedicated meditation practice several decades ago. In 2000 she completed her Kripalu Yoga Teacher Training, seamlessly joining mindfulness with the experience of movement. She teaches Mindfulness Meditation (Vipassana) that has been her practice since 2012.

She is currently studying with Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach through the Greater Good Science Center (University of Berkley California), Sounds True and Awareness Training Institute (ATI). Her goal is to make meditation accessible to anyone with expressed interest in the journey. Sheila is also a Library Assistant at OWL.

Registration is Required 





The Not-So-Secret Life of Trees
with Dr. Marlyse Duguid

Wednesday, April 22
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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The Litchfield Garden Club and the Oliver Wolcott Library are delighted to co-sponsor this presentation in celebration and in honor of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.

Join us as Dr. Marlyse Duguid explores the not-so-secret life of trees. Our fascination with the idea that trees can be more than just static members of the landscape has a long history. This theme repeatedly emerges in pop-culture and is present in contemporary books, films and television. Are trees sentient; do they feel, smell, hear, remember, communicate? What does the current science tell us about how trees interact with each other and other organisms in the landscape? And what does it mean for trees in our forests, yards, and landscapes?

Marlyse Duguid teaches at Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies where she focuses on field-based teaching topics around plant ecology and natural history. She received her Master of Forestry from Yale F&ES and completed a joint PhD program in plant ecology from Yale University and the New York Botanical Garden.

The Litchfield Garden Club (LGC) was founded in 1913. Through programs, workshops, community projects and environmental outreach, LGC goes beyond the basics to become more informed and thoughtful, more active and vocal about preserving our natural landscape. To learn more, visit their website at: litchfieldgardenclub.org.

Registration is Required 





Three Chords & the Truth
Folk Songs that Last
with the Western Lands Trio

Thursday, April 23
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Come join the Western Lands Trio for an hour of classic folk songs that never wear out and ought to be sung more often. They are the songs that we want and expect future generations to be singing. They are the songs with truth about the human spirit, about the values held dear, and about simple down-home ways. Some of the songs are light and easy, and others are heavy and deep. Some political, some personal. In a phrase Harlan Howard used to describe country music these songs are mostly “three chords and the truth.”

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 folk singing 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 




We Are All Good People Here
with Author Susan Rebecca White

Tuesday, April 28
7:00 - 8:00 PM

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Susan Rebecca White returns to talk about her fourth novel, We Are All Good People Here. Spanning three decades, from 1962 to 1993, it follows college roommates and best friends, Eve Whalen and Daniella Gold, as they undergo a series of political and moral awakenings that change the trajectory of their lives.

In her talk, Susan will explore some of the questions this novel raises, including: How do we look back at our actions during a fiery political time once the fire dies down and the political climate is cooler? How do we integrate who we once were with who we are now, and in particular, how do women hold onto their core selves once they become mothers? How do we process past actions that we might now be ashamed of? And, perhaps most importantly, how do we hold onto the people we love when there is a growing ideological divide between us? 

Susan Rebecca White is the author of four novels: Bound South, A Soft Place to Land, A Place at the Table, and We Are All Good People Here. A graduate of Brown University and the MFA program at Hollins University, Susan has taught creative writing at Hollins, Emory, SCAD, and Mercer University, where she was the Ferrol A. Sams, Jr. Distinguished Chair of English Writer-in-Residence. An Atlanta native, Susan lives in Atlanta with her husband and son. Visit her website at susanrebeccawhite.com.

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


















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

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