Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
Enter your search term below: 
About OWL

 ~Adult Events ~


April Monday Scholars 

2019 Adult Summer Reading Program 


Bibliotherapy Series 






April 8  through July 8
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Monday Scholars:
Understanding Russia: 
A Cultural History

 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 Understanding Russia: A Cultural History will be taught by Professor Lynne Ann Hartnett. The lectures will define - and sometimes redefine - a Russian identity through culture.

These lectures will give you a better understanding of the empire of land and spirit stretching from Europe to Asia and from the Baltics to the Pacific. To do so, we will focus on the country’s intellectuals - the poets, novelists, artists, composers, leaders, clerics, and revolutionaries.

We will also look deeply into the recesses of the Russian mind, from holy medieval icons to the expressive 19th-century paintings of Ilya Repin, from the comedic plays of Anton Chekhov to grueling memoirs from the Soviet gulags, and from the ceremony and majesty of the Romanov autocracy to the Russian baths and daily rituals of the Russian village.


Key figures in the course include the 16th-century Russian ruler Ivan the Terrible, the Russian Orthodox Church, and Peter the Great, among many others. We’ll also look at Lenin and Stalin through the lens of their cults of personality and the imposition of a Soviet rather than historically Russian character on the people. In later lectures, the course enters the shared public spaces of the immediate post-Soviet period and the faceless flats constructed by Nikita Khrushchev.

In sum, the course seeks to answer the same question asked by Russians throughout history: What does it mean to be Russian? The answer is multifaceted, fascinating, and continually changing.

About the Professor:
On video, Lynne Ann Hartnett, PhD is the professor lecturing this series. She is an Associate Professor of History at Villanova University, where she teaches courses on all facets of Russian history as well as on the social, political, and intellectual history of modern Europe. She earned her PhD in Russian History at Boston College. Dr. Hartnett’s research focuses on the Russian revolutionary movement of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and she has conducted archival research in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Amsterdam, and London. She regularly presents her research at international conferences in the United States and Europe. 

Registration is Required



Tales Well Told
A Live Theatrical Performance
with Michele LaRue

Tuesday, June 18
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 




Join us for a story hour for adults! Let actress Michèle LaRue and a book spirit you away to the turn of the 20th century where small towns and farms pervade the landscape and stars still fill the nighttime sky. A hand-cranked wall phone is a modern miracle, and a thirty-mile wagon ride the adventure of a lifetime. Life is simpler - often harder. But our ancestors’ loves, longings, and laughter are just like ours. And their stories - by authors famous or forgotten - remain enchanting.

With infinite variety of inflection, dialect, and gesture, Michèle creates a full cast of distinctive characters for each remarkable Tale. Tonight’s stories will include Dorothy Canfield Fisher’s “The Bedquilt,” and Mary E. Wilkins Freeman’s “A Quilting Bee in Our Village.”Michèle LaRue, a graduate in Acting from the University of Kansas, is a member of the Actor’s Equity Association and SAG-AFTRA, and is a theatre editor and writer for Drama Desk, an organization of New York drama critics. She tours nationally with a repertoire of historical one-woman productions. A Chicago native now based in New York City, she has presented her offerings at more than 300 venues, including Washington’s Smithsonian Institution, Chicago’s Newberry Library, and NYC’s Lincoln Center. Her website is michelelarue.com.

Registration is Required 



2019 Adult Summer

Reading Program


Begins June 18!




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 




Accordion Stories from the Heart
A Talk & Concert with
Author Angelo Paul Ramunni

Sunday, June 23
1:00 - 2:00 PM

Click Here to Register 


Accordion Stories from the Heart provides stunning and loving insights into the exceptional, and sometimes tear-evoking stories involving accordions from around the world. The book features more than 70 photos of spectacularly decorated, hand-built accordions of multiple colors and ivory-like keyboards that date back as far as 1829. Mr. Ramunni will share some of these stories and then perform a number of accordion songs and answer questions from attendees.

Paul Ramunni, a CPA by practice, is a full time instructor-in-residence at the University of Connecticut in accounting and financial literacy. He has been a director of numerous non-profit organizations over the years and lives in Canaan, Connecticut with his wife and best friend Marcia. It wasn’t until 2008 that he started playing the accordion again. This pastime turned to passion and his desire to collect and save accordions and memorabilia that he finds in peoples’ homes, offices and other locations.

Mr. Ramunni also runs the privately-operated New England Accordion Connection and Museum Company which showcases over 600+ stunningly beautiful accordions and houses his studio where he repairs, buys and sells hand-crafted accordions. He also offers over 10,000 pieces of sheet music and accordion-related books for sale.

Registration is Required 


West Side Story
with Music Historian Jeffrey Engel

Tuesday, June 25
7:00 - 8:30 PM

Click Here to Register 


When “West Side Story” opened in London a critic wrote “This show begins a new age in theatre.” Bernstein’s fourth musical certainly was ground-breaking. This modern version of “Romeo and Juliet” was no musical comedy fantasy, but rather a realistic tragedy with major characters killed at the end of each act. Never had a musical integrated so much dance which was also crucial to the story-line. Add to that a rhythmically and harmonically rich score and the team of Sondheim, Robbins and Bernstein, you’ve got a revolutionary work for Broadway.

Through the use of CDs and DVDs to play excerpts from this great musical, join Music Historian Jeffrey Engel as he discusses the creation of “West Side Story.”Jeffrey Engel has been giving lectures devoted to music history for more than twenty years. He believes that such lectures should be entertaining as well as informative. After graduating from Ithaca College, Jeffrey lived in Paris for fourteen years where he studied cello and art history at the Sorbonne. As a cellist, he played with numerous orchestras and chamber ensembles in France, and taught in municipal conservatories. Since 2004 Jeffrey has taught at Northwestern Connecticut Community College. Visit his website at jeffreyengel.net


Registration is Required 



We Came in Peace for All Mankind
with Hamish Lutris

Thursday, July 11
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 


On July 20, 1969, Neil Armstrong descended to the lunar surface. It was an event hailed throughout the world as a major milestone in the history of humankind. Many Americans still remember being riveted to Walter Cronkite’s broadcast of the moon landings, and their excitement at what we all had achieved.

Join Hamish Lutris in this talk where he will explore the beginnings of space flight, the sense of political urgency that drove the United States to shoot for the moon, as well as the intrepid technological spirit and prowess that transported Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin to another heavenly body and allowed them to explore it, and even play a bit of golf.

Hamish Lutris is an Associate Professor of History at Capital Community College in Hartford. He has worked in some of America’s premier natural and historical sites, leading hiking and historical programs.

He has also lectured extensively in the United States, Europe, and Canada, presenting programs on wide-ranging historical topics, including Native American history, the Civil War, Scientific history, Social and Cultural history, World War I, World War II, and the American West.

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