News & Events

Escape the Ordinary!  Adult Summer Reading Program

Escape the Ordinary

June 1 – August 14
The Russell Library will kick off the Adult Summer Reading Program June 1.  Join us for our Superhero kickoff event at the Circulation desk and take a selfie with Captain America! Writing a brief review of the book you’ve read earns an entry into our weekly drawings for a Downtown Middletown Gift card.  The first drawing will be held June 15. Pick up a Reading BINGO card and explore new genres and interests. Sponsored by the Friends of Russell Library--our favorite Superheroes!

Readers TheaterVelocity of Autumn

The Velocity of Autumn
By Eric Coble,
Monday, June 22- 7 PM
Hubbard Room

  This play swirls around Alexandra, an 80-year-old artist in a showdown with her family over where she'll spend her remaining years. In her corner are her wit, volcanic passion, and the fact that she's barricaded herself in her Brooklyn brownstone with enough Molotov cocktails to take out the block.  Enter her estranged son Chris, who returns after 20 years, crawls through a second-floor window, and becomes the family's unlikely mediator. No sooner does he utter the words "Hi, Mom," when the emotional bombs start detonating. Wickedly funny and wonderfully touching.  This program is sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.  Light refreshments will be served. 

18th Annual Naturalization Ceremony

Wednesday, July 1, 1pm.
City Hall, 245 Dekoven Drive, Middletown. 

An estimated 50 people from 30 countries will be naturalized, with The Oath of Allegiance administered by the Honorable Stefan R. Underhill, U.S. District Court Judge for Connecticut.  The ceremony will continue with the Pledge of Allegiance and singing of The Star-Spangled Banner, followed by remarks from federal, state and local officials.  After the ceremony, new citizens will have the opportunity to register to vote courtesy of the Registrar of Voters, City of Middletown.  The public is invited to attend the ceremony and celebrate the rights and opportunities of all citizens of the United States, old and new!

We Were There: Writing Your Military Experiences

Thursdays, 7pm:
July 2, 9, 16, 23, & 30
Meeting Room 2

Author Elisabeth Petry will continue to lead The Veterans' Writing Group on Thursdays at 7pm: July 2, 9, 16, 23, and 30 in Meeting Room 2. This series, in its third year, invites Veterans to share their stories and photos in their own voices. All Veterans, either active or retired, are encouraged to come and share their experiences for their own benefit or to share with family and friends. Currently, we have servicemen from combat and non-combat situations in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and Iraqi Freedom. We hope to hear from other Iraq War Vets, and those who have served in Afghanistan. 
We encourage new members to visit us this summer to see what we are all about.
Old Saybrook native Elisabeth Petry is a writer and former journalist and lawyer. Her first book, a collection of letters that she edited, was Can Anything Beat White?: A Black Family's Letters. Her second is At Home Inside: A Daughter’s Tribute to Ann Petry. She lives in Middletown with her husband, Lawrence Riley, who is a dog trainer and Commander of the American Legion Milardo-Wilcox Post 75, Middletown, Connecticut.   The workshop facilitator and contact person from the Russell Library is Christy Billings. She can be reached at 860-347-2528 or This program is being sponsored with funds from The Friends of the Russell Library.

Russell Readers

Tuesday, July 14
Meeting Room 3

This month we will discuss “On the Advantage and Disadvantage of History for Life” by Friedrich Nietzsche.  This year we are using the anthology Great Conversations 6.  It brings together selections representing a wide range of genres written over the ages and is intended to generate discussion about discovering the ideas and authors that have shaped our culture and ourselves.  The selections have general themes for discussion:  ways of living, living in community, forms of belief, the power of knowledge, forms of love, and the perspective of history.  Questions for discussion and for further reflection accompany each selection. Discussions are based on the Great Books Foundation method in which readers talk in open gatherings, under a leader, about the great issues that have shaped civilization as reflected in the readings.  The group meets the second Tuesday of each month from 7-8:20pm in Meeting Room 3 at Russell Library.   For more information, call (860) 573-2946 or email   The anthology can be checked out at the front desk in the lobby.  The discussions are sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.

The Russell Writers Online Forum

Participate any day, any time, from the comfort of your own computer. Register and log in for this online writing group where you can post your work for critique, provide feedback for your fellow Russell Writers, exchange ideas and tips, and participate in the monthly writing prompts. Go to: Beginning and experienced writers welcomed! For more information, contact Michele Rousseau at


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