Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
Enter your search term below: 
About OWL

 ~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 



Celebrating Litchfield's 300th Anniversary

Women of 1776
A Live Theatrical Performance with Rita Parisi

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

Click Here to Register 


In this live theatrical performance, you will meet some of the women of 1776:

Baroness von Riedesal, the wife of General Friedrich Adolf Riedesel who served in one of the German units hired by the British during the American War of Independence. She accompanied him during the Saratoga Campaign in the American Revolutionary War and kept a journal of the campaign.

Nancy Morgan Hart, southern frontierswoman and rebel heroine of the American Revolutionary War noted for her exploits against Loyalists. She repeatedly outsmarted Tory soldiers, and killed some outright.

Prudence Wright, a militia commander and spy catcher during the American Revolutionary War.

Learn about these women and others, patriots and loyalists, American and foreign, who witnessed the American Revolution first hand and in some cases, changed the course of it.

Rita Parisi has been entertaining audiences for over 20 years. In 2002, she founded Waterfall Productions to create shows that highlight her passion for theatre, literature and costuming. She has performed these shows all over New England, New Jersey, New York and Florida. Visit her website at: waterfallproductions.com.

Registration is Required




Sunday Salon:
MoMA- Seeing Through Photographs

Sundays, September 15, 22, 29
1:00 - 2:30 PM

Click Here to Register 



At each session of this Sunday Salon, participants will watch engaging video lectures produced by The Museum of Modern Art. These will be followed by vibrant group discussions led by Librarian Patricia Moore.

Although taking, sharing, and viewing photographs has become second nature for many of us, our regular engagement with images does not necessarily make us visually literate. This course aims to address the gap between seeing and truly understanding photographs by introducing a diversity of ideas, approaches, and technologies that inform their making. We will look closely at photographs from the collection of The Museum of Modern Art and hear a variety of perspectives on what a photograph is and the ways that photography has been used throughout its nearly 180 year history: as a means of artistic expression, as a tool for science and exploration; as an instrument of documentation; to tell stories and record histories; and as a mode of communication and critique in our ever increasingly visual culture.

On video, Sarah Meister is the instructor leading the series. She became a Curator at The Museum of Modern Art in 2009, having joined the Department of Photography in 1997. She holds an AB in Art History from Princeton University, with honors, and is a recipient of the Lee Tenenbaum Award for outstanding research and scholarship.

Registration is Required




A Photographic Odyssey

With Photographer & World Traveler Shayna Jenkins

Wednesday, September 18
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 




Following graduation from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland, Shayna Jenkins wanted to “see the world” before embarking on further studies. She set her sights on Eastern Europe and Spain. This experience instilled a love of adventure and led her to further travels to Southeast Asia, where she backpacked through Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Vietnam and China.

From there she spent a year in Sydney, New South Wales, before traveling up the east coast of Australia and bicycling through both Tasmania and New Zealand’s South Island. Then it was on to India for six months traveling through Jamu and Kashmir and northeastern India on motorcycle. Further adventures included hiking the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal, motorcycling through rural Myanmar, living in a tent in southern Thailand and flying to eastern Africa to travel through Rwanda, Uganda, Kenya and Ethiopia before returning stateside.

As she criss-crossed the world, Shayna’s love of photography helped her to connect more deeply to the communities she encountered that were so far from anything she knew. Join Shayna as she shares some of these images from her amazing odyssey.

Litchfield native Shayna Jenkins is a documentary photographer focusing on visual storytelling. Her next adventure will be University College of London where she will study Ethnographic and Documentary Film, after which she intends to pursue a career as a combat photojournalist.

Join world traveler Shayna Jenkins as she takes us on a photographic odyssey.

Registration is Required



A Conversation with Author Dani Shapiro

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

Click Here to Register 






What makes us who we are? What combination of memory, history, biology, experience, and that ineffable thing called the soul defines us?

In the spring of 2016, through a genealogy website to which she had whimsically submitted her DNA for analysis, Dani Shapiro received the stunning news that her father was not her biological father. She woke up one morning and her entire history – the life she had lived –crumbled beneath her.

Inheritance is a book about secrets. It is the story of a woman’s urgent quest to unlock the story of her own identity, a story that has been scrupulously hidden from her for more than fifty years, years she had spent writing brilliantly, and compulsively, on themes of identity and family history.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates this conversation with Dani Shapiro.

Dani Shapiro’s books include the memoirs, Hourglass, Still Writing, Devotion, and Slow Motion, and five novels including Black & White and Family History. Her work spans diverse subjects from her tumultuous upbringing in an Orthodox Jewish community and the tragic death of her father to her explorations of spirituality and the nature of our deepest relationships.

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



How to Raise Happy, Engaged Readers
with Dr. Caroline Ugurlu

Tuesday, September 24
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



When children are able to read well, they will likely read for pleasure. Picture your little ones whiling away an autumn afternoon exploring their minds and expanding their hearts with a great book. During this one hour talk you will learn about how to provide reading support for your child. 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 who excel. 

The importance of reading to a child’s well-being and sense of self cannot be overstated.  We know how to examine the path to literacy so that all children reach their highest reading potential. 

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 and has authored a book, Letters are Characters, on the subject.

Registration is Required


Mid-Century Modern Architecture
Travel Guide: East Coast USA
with Author Sam Lubbell & Photographer Darren Bradley

Wednesday, September 25
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



Join writer Sam Lubell and photographer Darren Bradley in a discussion of their new book on modernist architecture that provides the reader with a curated list of more than 250 must-see destinations organized geographically from the Canadian border to Florida. 

This slide presentation will introduce you to some of the best mid-century modernist architecture on the east coast, including many homes and buildings in Litchfield such as our beautiful Oliver Wolcott Library as well as works of other important influential modernist architects such as Marcel Breuer, Mies van der Rohe, and Philip Johnson. 

Sam Lubell has written eight books about architecture, including California Captured and Mid-Century Modern Architecture Travel Guide: West Coast USA. He writes for The New York Times, Wallpaper, Dwell, Wired, The Atlantic, Architect Magazine, and other publications.

Darren Bradley is an architectural photographer who also lectures frequently about mid-century modern architecture. His work has been exhibited in Los Angeles, San Diego, Palm Springs, Sydney, Australia, and at the International Architecture Biennale in Venice, Italy and has appeared in numerous books and publications.

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



Lost Roses: A Novel
with Author Martha Hall Kelly

Thursday, October 3
7:00 - 8:00 PM 

Click Here to Register 





Martha Hall Kelly’s first novel, Lilac Girls, sold more than one million copies. Join us as Martha explores her second novel, Lost Roses, to talk more about the challenges of writing a fictional trilogy about such a notable family.

Lilac Girls introduced the real-life heroine Caroline Ferriday. This sweeping new novel, set a generation earlier and also inspired by true events, features Caroline’s mother, Eliza, and follows three equally indomitable women from St. Petersburg to Paris under the shadow of World War I.

From the Tsar’s palaces of St. Petersburg to the long-lost Russian neighborhoods of Paris to the glorious estates of Southampton, New York, the lives of Eliza, Sofya, and Varinka intersect in profound ways, taking readers on a breathtaking ride through a fascinating time in history.

Martha Hall Kelly worked as an advertising copywriter for many years. Lilac Girls, her New York Times best selling first novel, took ten years to research and five years to write. Today she lives in Connecticut, where she spends her days filling legal pads with stories and reading World War II books. Lost Roses is her second novel. Visit her website at marthahallkelly.com.

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



Three Women
a Conversation with Author Lisa Taddeo

Tuesday, October 8
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 





“Extraordinary - A nonfiction literary masterpiece…I can’t remember the last time a book affected me as profoundly as Three Women.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert

It thrills us and torments us. It controls our thoughts, destroys our lives, and it’s all we live for. Yet we almost never speak of it. And as a buried force in our lives, desire remains largely unexplored—until now. Over the past eight years, journalist Lisa Taddeo has driven across the country six times to embed herself with ordinary women from different regions and backgrounds. The result, Three Women, is the deepest nonfiction portrait of desire ever written and one of the most anticipated books of the year.

Join Joseph Montebello as he facilitates this conversation with Lisa Taddeo.

Lisa Taddeo has contributed to New York Magazine, Esquire, Elle, Glamour, and many other publications. Her nonfiction has been included in the Best American Sports Writing and Best American Political Writing anthologies, and her short stories have won two Pushcart Prizes. She lives with her husband and daughter in New England. Visit her website at: lisataddeo.com.

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




Extra Sensory Performance
with Keith Zalinger

Thursday, October 17
7:00 - 8:00 PM

Click Here to Register 



Can Keith read your mind? Predict the future? Demonstrate that you and other guests can read minds? Read a guest’s personality from an item they are wearing? Perform acts that defy description? Many aspects of this show involve any number of participants, sometimes everyone in the room!

Is Keith psychic? He says it depends on your definition but from his perspective, everyone is psychic...to a certain degree. Keith also welcomes skeptics and says most self-proclaimed skeptics love his show.  The only thing he expects during his performance is courtesy.

Keith Zalinger is an acclaimed and award winning thought-reader and paranormal entertainer. A licensed hypnotist in the state of Connecticut, Keith also performs card, palm, and numerology readings, which people love and find useful in their lives.

He is the author of Palmistry, Love, & You; Learn the Tarot and Practical Astrology. His clients include Harvard University, Cisco Systems, Mutual Insurance Company, Bridgeport Hospital, and Alden Global Capital. He was the featured guest speaker at Yale School of Management MBA Program in April of 2013. Visit his website at readerofminds.com.

Registration is Required



Sunday Salon:
OWL Writes: The Craft of Style

Sundays, October 20, 27 & November 3 & 10
1:00 - 2:30 PM

Click Here to Register 



OWL Writes combines online learning, writing prompts, and the sharing and discussion of those writing samples. Each week, we will watch a 30 minute lecture by Salvatore Scibona, then we will write for 30 minutes using the tools we learned in that day’s lecture, and the final 30 minutes of each session will be spent sharing our work. Join Adult Services Librarian Patricia Moore as she facilitates this course.

Your style is as unique and distinctive as your face, your voice, except that you can choose it, you can can work on it, enhance it. In this course we will introduce aspiring writers to the art of putting pressure on written language. We will study the use of metaphor and imagery, and demonstrate how clarity, grace, and inventiveness in word choice are imperative to a story’s success. Writers will emerge with the revision skills essential to all writers of good stories and good prose.

On video, Salvatore Scibona will be the writer/professor who leads the online courses. Salvatore is the Frank B. Weeks Visiting Professor of Creative Writing. A Guggenheim Fellow and a National Book Award finalist for his novel The End, Scibona has also been named as one of The New Yorker’s “20 Under 40: Fiction Writers to Watch” in 2010. Prior to his current position at Wesleyan, he administered the writing fellowship at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, MA, and helped to found the online writing workshop program there.

Registration is Required



Phantom of the Opera
Film & Live Music with Donald Sosin & Joanna Seaton

Tuesday, October 22
7:00 - 8:30 PM

Click Here to Register 


Experience the cinema as it was 100 years ago with an evening of silent film and live music. Enjoy classic horror with a showing of the 1925 film Phantom of the Opera starring Lon Chaney while Joanna Seaton sings the opera arias from Faust, accompanied by Donald Sosin’s spooky organ music.

For twenty years Donald and Joanna have been among the only major performers in the US creating and performing music for classic silent films with vocals as well as instrumentals. They have won high praise from experts in the field, and enthusiastic supporter from all ages. Their unique blend of keyboard, vocals, electronics and percussion delights audiences.

Their film scores incorporate original songs with Joanna’s lyrics and Donald’s music, as well as select songs from the early 20th century appropriate to the film, and even, in some cases, giving voice to the muted singing of the actors onscreen.

Donald Sosin and Joanna Seaton play an active part of their community in northwest Connecticut, teaching, leading community vocal groups, and directing and conducting musical theater. They live in Lakeville and have two children. Visit their website at: silent-film-music.com.

Registration is Required



The Grotesque 10: Amazing Architechural
Sculpture from Ten American Colleges and Universities

Presented by Author & Photographer Matthew Duman

Wednesday, October 23
7:00 - 8:o0 PM

Click Here to Register 



Join us for this slide presentation and lecture as Matthew Duman takes us on a journey of viewing and learning about the variety of ornament, history and humor the grotesques and gargoyles from our college university campuses have to offer.

Armed with only a camera, a sense of humor and a host of frequent flyer miles, Mathew Duman embarked on a “grotesque safari,” traveling to ten universities around the country to photograph the grotesques and gargoyles roosting on their academic buildings. He found that this sculpture makes its home within a style of architecture known as Collegiate Gothic which was popular in the 19th and early 20th centuries.

As a personal project, he began exploring the variety of sculpture found on the buildings of Yale University & published a book called An Education in the Grotesque, containing his findings at Yale and has now turned his sights on the sculpture at other campuses around the US.

Mathew Duman is a photographer, author and graphic designer. He attended the gargoyle-free campus of Central Connecticut State University but while studying abroad, he developed a fascination with the grotesque sculptures of the cathedrals of Britain.

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




The Canadian Maritimes:
Kinship, Connections & Kitchen Parties

Presented by Mariann Millard

WednesdayTuesday, October 29
2:00 - 3:o0 PM


Click Here to Register 



Come explore the history, culture, cuisine, and personalities of the three Canadian Maritime Provinces: Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, and New Brunswick.

The connections between the U.S. and our next-door-neighbors go back centuries and exist even today. Funny travel stories mixed with wonder and discovery make this presentation a special one. Experience the Maritimes through photographs, explanations, and stories portrayed in a lively and engaging manner.

Mariann Millard, an experienced tour director who has travelled extensively in the region, will lead this presentation and discussion. A question and answer period will follow.

In addition to Mariann’s expertise on the Canadian Marities, she is also a Licensed Washington, DC Guide and a certified Tour Director who specializes in Italy. She thoroughly enjoys connecting people, places and things. Her extensive travel has given her a keen appreciation for what makes us human and for the differences that makes us culturally unique.

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