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News & Events

Adult Summer Reading
Ongoing Registration
Build A Better World Summer Reading

Our Adult Summer Reading Program's theme this year is 'Build a Better World.' Read books AND win Downtown Middletown Gift Cards! Ongoing registration begins June 5th at the Borrowing Desk. The program begins June 12 and runs through August 25th. How do you participate? READ! Once you have read a book (it can be any kind of book!), fill out a review form with the Title, Author, your name and email. The reviews will be collected at the Borrowing Desk. Each review has a chance to be picked for one of our four drawings. The more you read, the more chances you have to win! The four dates of drawing for the gift cards are: June 23rd, July 14th, August 4th and August 25th.

Yoga in the Courtyard

Saturday, August 26, 11:00am

No prior experience necessary, and no mats will be used. Our instructor will be Jeff Hush, founder of Food and Movement Therapy and a local instructor of Family Yoga, Tai Chi and Chair Yoga. Come experience how practicing yoga can help you feel calmer and more energetic, and learn how it can also help support a stronger immune system and better sleep patterns. In case of rain, the program will be held in the Hubbard Room.
Drop in; no registration.
Sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library.

WWI Film Series: The Great War on the Big Screen

Wednesdays, August 16, and 23, 2:00pm and 6:00pm
Hubbard Room

The Russell Library will offer a series of film screenings through the month of August as part of the library’s commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the First World War. World War One has been a rich subject for cinematographers, and movies have always contributed to our cultural memory of historical events. The films selected for the series feature engaging and visually stunning dramas told from the English, French, and American points of view.

August 16: The Silent Mountain

The Silent Mountain (2014) is a love story set in the Dolomite Mountains between Italy and Austria-Hungary at the outbreak of World War One. A young Austrian soldier fights his way through the mountains to rescue his Italian love and escape an impending explosion that will rock the mountain. The movie is inspired by actual events. Starring William Moseley, Eugenia Costantini, and Claudia Cardinale.
Not rated. Run time 95 minutes.

August 23: A Very Long Engagement

A Very Long Engagement (2004) is the story of a young Frenchwoman’s unrelenting search for her fiancé, who has disappeared from the trenches of the Somme during World War One. Starring Audrey Tautou, Gaspard Ulliel, and Jodie Foster. Nominated for 2 Oscars.
Rated R. Run time 2 hours 13 minutes.

Adult Coloring—Build A Better World

Fridays, August 18 and 25, 11:30am
Hubbard Room

Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown. Our Adult Summer Reading theme this year is 'Build a Better World'. Let's start by relieving stress while making something beautiful by coloring pages! Adults are invited to bring their own supplies, or they may use the library's supplies.
Drop in; no registration.

Fairy Houses for all ages

Thursday, August 17, 6:00pm
The Activity Room

Want to attract a fairy or a gnome to your home? Plenty of environmentally friendly supplies will be available for you to create your own fairy or gnome home, but participants are welcome to bring additional materials as well: moss, feathers, fabric, ribbon, shells--whatever a fairy or gnome might fancy.
Adults and families are welcome.
Drop in; no registration.

Fiddlers’ Workshop Concert

Saturday, August 19, 10:30am
Hubbard Room

This concert, hosted by the Connecticut Bristol Old Tyme Fiddlers Club, is the culmination of their students’ summer series of free lessons. CBOTFC formed in 1972 to ensure that old time fiddling music endures for public enjoyment. The club has been playing throughout Connecticut for 45 years.

Five Easy Steps to Go Solar

Tuesday, August 22, 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

This seminar is designed to inform Middletown residents about the Energize Connecticut Initiative—a state mandate for 27% of all homes to have some form of renewable energy by 2020. The program has federal incentives through 2017 and may offer rebates to homeowners who choose solar as an alternative power source. Presenter Scott Hayes is a state licensed home improvement consultant with Vivint Solar working in Middletown since November, 2016. Founded in 2011, Vivint Solar believes that going solar should be headache and hassle-free. They supply the solar panels and take care of all the installation and maintenance—for little to no upfront cost.
Drop in; no registration.

Classic Mystery Discussion Group

Tuesday, August 29, 6:30pm
Meeting Room 3

It's Nero Wolfe month! We will be reading Fer-de-Lance, the first Nero Wolfe mystery by Rex Stout (1934). As any herpetologist will tell you, the fer-de-lance is among the most dreaded snakes known to man.  When someone makes a present of one to Nero Wolfe, Archie Goodwin knows he's getting dreadfully close to solving the devilishly clever murders of an immigrant and a college president. As for Wolfe, he's playing snake charmer in a case with more twists than an anaconda -- whistling a seductive tune he hopes will catch a killer who's still got poison in his heart.

Henry David Thoreau’s essay ‘Civil Disobedience’

Wednesday, August 30, 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

In honor of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, we will be discussing his ground-breaking essay, 'Civil Disobedience.' Written in 1849 as opposition to the Mexican-American War and the expansion of slavery, this essay and Thoreau's non-violent protest against the war, inspired Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. to promote non-violent methods of protest. Paper copies of the essay can be obtained at Russell Library's Borrowing Desk. There are a variety of internet sites that offer e-copies of the essay.


Racial Justice Book Club

Tuesday, September 5
6:00-7:45 PM 
Meeting Room 2

Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson

Join us on the First Tuesday of the September for a discussion of Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson. Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

“Proximity has taught me some basic and humbling truths, including this vital lesson: Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done. My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice. Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”

Copies of Just Mercy will be available for check-out. Contact person is Christy Billings: cbillings@russelllibrary.org or by calling 860 347-2528 ext 122.

This book club is open to anyone, no registration necessary. The Racial Justice Book Club will meet the first Tuesday of the month through 2017. The Racial Justice Book Club is in partnership with the Middletown Racial Justice Community.

October 3rd discussion: The Hate U Give, by Angie Thomas

Support the Local Arts Community! – The MASH: Main Street Stroll

Saturday, September 9, 10:00am to 4:00pm.
Stroll between Wesleyan Campus and Downtown Middletown.

Hosted by Wesleyan’s Center for the Arts, the stroll offers a family-friendly way to get to enjoy two festive events in one day. On your way past the street performers, stop by the Russell Library at 123 Broad Street and sign up for a card—FREE for Middletown residents and Wesleyan students! Pick up a calendar of current and upcoming FREE programs, and check out the great selection of new books, DVDs, CDs, magazines and other materials and services the library offers. The library is open 10:00 to 2:00 on Saturdays.The MASH: Main Street Stroll is made possible by the City of Middletown, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Middletown Downtown Business District, and Wesleyan University.

Film Screening: The Postman Always Rings Twice (Classic Mystery Series)

Tuesday September 12, 12:00 - 2:00 PM
Hubbard Room

The Postman Always Rings Twice (1946) starring Lana Turner and John Garfield. Directed by Tay Garnett. Not rated. Run time 1 hour 53 minutes. When a married woman and a drifter fall in love, they plot to murder her husband and take over his diner in rural California. Once the deed is done, they must live with the consequences of their actions. Short introduction by librarian Amy Slowik. Drop-in; no sign-up.

Adult Coloring for Stress Reduction

Friday September 22, 11:30 AM - 1:00 PM
Meeting Room 2

Come and enjoy coloring beautiful patterns and pictures without the stress of the woes of the outside world.
The library will provide coloring pencils and pages, or you may bring your own.
Drop-in, no registration.

Jazz Up Close

Saturday September 23, 1:30 - 3:15 PM
Hubbard Room

Resonant Motion, Inc. presents the second event in its 2017 'Crossing Cultures” program through the popular Jazz Up Close series on Saturday, September 23 at 1:30 pm in the Russell Library’s Hubbard Room. For this event Brazilian drummer and percussionist Rogério Boccato leads an eclectic quartet featuring alto saxophonist Kris Allen, bassist Henry Lugo.

As a longtime member of the 'Orquestra Jazz Sinfônica do Estado de São Paulo,” Rogério played with Antonio Carlos Jobim, Hermeto Pascoal, Milton Nascimento, Egberto Gismonti, João Bosco, and Joe Zawinul, among many others. Since moving to the U.S. ten years ago, he has become a first-call percussionist in many jazz ensembles, including those of Maria Schneider, Kenny Garrett, John Patitucci, Fred Hersch, Billy Childs, Jimmy Greene, and Danilo Perez. He also continued to collaborate with prominent Brazilian artists such as Toninho Horta, Dori Caymmi, Moacir Santos, and Vinicius Cantuária. Rogério is on the faculty at Manhattan School of Music and was previously on the percussion faculty at the Hartt School of Music.

This event is supported in part by Shoreline Arts Alliance, Inc., in partnership with the Connecticut Office of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts, and by the Middletown Commission on the Arts.

Classic Mystery Book Discussion - The Postman Always Rings Twice

Tuesday September 26, 6:30 - 7:30 PM
Meeting Room 2

For September we will be reading The Postman Always Rings Twice (1934) by James M. Cain. It is considered by many to be one of the most important, most successful, and most controversial novels of all time. Frank Chambers, a drifter, falls in love with Cora, the dissatisfied wife of a diner owner in rural California. Together they plot the death of her husband, Nick, so that Cora can run the diner and marry Nick. Complications ensue.

Copies will be available at the circulation desk. Drop-in; no sign-up.

Yoga In The Courtyard

Saturday September 30, 11 AM - 12 Noon
Courtyard (Hubbard Room for rain)

No prior experience necessary, and no mats will be used. Our instructor will be Jeff Hush, founder of Food and Movement Therapy and a local instructor of Family Yoga, Tai Chi and Chair Yoga. Come experience how practicing yoga can help you feel calmer and more energetic, and learn how it can also help support a stronger immune system and better sleep patterns.
Depending on the weather, the class may meet in the Hubbard Room.
Sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Connecticut Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Supervised by WWI Officers

Saturday September 30, 1:00 - 2:30 PM
Hubbard Room

Author and historian Marty Podskoch will give a presentation on his new book Connecticut Civilian Conservation Camps: History, Memories & Legacy of the CCC, which will focus on WWI Officers who supervised the camps.

The Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) began on March 31, 1933 under President Roosevelt’s 'New Deal” to relieve the poverty and unemployment of the Depression. Twenty-one amps were set up in many Connecticut towns, state parks & forests. Roosevelt choose the Army to supervise the camps and many of the officers had served in WWI. Workers built trails, roads, campsites, & dams, stocked fish, built & maintained fire tower observer’s cabins & telephone lines, fought fires, & planted millions of trees. The CCC disbanded in 1942 due to the need for men in WW II.

Marty Podskoch is a retired teacher and the author of seven other books: Adirondack Civilian Conservation Corps Camps: Their History, Memories and Legacy of the CCC; Fire Towers of the Catskills: Their History and Lore; Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Southern Districts; Adirondack Fire Towers: Their History and Lore, the Northern Districts; Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches; 101 more Adirondack Stories: Historical Sketches and The Adirondack 102 Club: Your Passport and Guide to the North Country. He also writes a weekly column called 'Adirondack Stories,' which appears in five Adirondack newspapers.
Presently, Marty Podskoch is conducting research on the Civilian Conservation Camps in Rhode Island. He is keenly interested in meeting individuals who may have CCC stories to contribute to his next book. Marty Podskoch will have all of his books available after the presentation for sale and signing.

Racial Justice Book Group

Tuesday, October 3 
6PM-7:45PM in
Meeting Room 2
The Hate U Give,
by Angie Thomas

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.
Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.

Goodreads Review: “This book is the most powerful book I've ever read. It is important, educational, and happening in our world right now as you're reading this review. If you can only read one book in 2017, please pick this one.”

Contact person is Christy Billings: cbillings@russelllibrary.org or by calling 860 347-2528 ext 122.
This book group is open to anyone, no registration necessary. The Racial Justice Book Group will meet the first Tuesday of the month through 2017. The Racial Justice Book Group is in partnership with the Middletown Racial Justice Community.

Alias Grace: A Book Discussion

Books available September 1st.
Discussion date is Thursday, October 12, 6:30pm. 

The Hubbard Room, Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown. Join us for a discussion of Margaret Atwood's 1996 novel Alias Grace. Based on the true story of the murders of Thomas Kinnear and his housekeeper Nancy Montgomery in 1843, Atwood develops the character of Grace Marks, one of the people convicted of the crime. Unlike her 'co-conspirator' James McDermott, Grace Marks was not hanged. Instead, she was sentenced to life in prison, spending some years in a 'Lunatic Asylum'. The novel has been adapted as a six-part miniseries that will air on Canadian television in September 2017. Netflix will be streaming the show beginning in November.

Copies of the book will be available beginning September 1st at the Borrowing Desk. Please sign up for the discussion online at our events calendar.


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