News & Events

The Seventh Annual Common Ground Middletown International Film Festival

Russell Library has partnered with Middlesex Community College and Wesleyan University to select and screen acclaimed international films. The festival provides an opportunity to learn more about our world’s diverse cultures—their joys and their struggles—as we gather on ‘common ground’ to celebrate the shared human spirit.
All screenings are on Tuesdays, beginning at 7:00pm. Free admission and parking.
All venues accessible to individuals with disabilities. Brief introductions and Q&A following each film, provided by area scholars.
Light refreshments follow each event.Other Son

October 6:
The Other Son, (France, 2012, Directed by Lorraine Levy)
Location: Russell Library / Hubbard Room

October 13:
Leviathan (Russia, 2014, Directed by Andrey Zvyagintsev)
Location: Wesleyan University / Center for Film Studies

October 20:
Lucky (South Africa, 2012, Directed by Avie Luthra)
Location: Wesleyan University / Center for Film Studies

October 27:
Timbuktu (France/Africa, 2014, Directed by Abderrahmane Sissako)
Location: MxCC / Chapman Hall

November 3: Tangerines (Estonia/USA, 2013, Directed by Zaza Urushadze)\
Location: MxCC / Chapman Hall

November 10:
Josh (Against the Grain), Pakistan, 2013, Directed by Iram Parveen Bilal
Location: Russell Library / Hubbard Room

Sponsorship information: The film festival is made possible by The Middletown Commission on the Arts, Middletown Rotary, Friends of the Russell Library, The New Haven Philatelic Society, and Individual donors of the Russell Library.

Understanding Shakespeare: An Interactive Workshop!ArtFarm Shakespeare 400

Wednesday, October 7
6:30 pm

The Hubbard Room
Ages: 15 and up

Understanding Shakespeare is an immersion into Shakespeare. This interactive workshop will include a quick dip into the language of Shakespeare, including metrical structure, rhythm, literary devices and rhetoric plus secret tools for understanding the text. In signature ARTFARM style, this workshop will be on our feet, off the page and into our mouths! Don’t be afraid! Seasoned aficionado or new to the Bard, all are welcomed to come and play!

Limit 20. To register, please call 860-347-2520 or email

Finding your Elusive Ancestor in Connecticut Governmental Records

Thursday, October 8,
1:30 pm

The Hubbard Room

The Society of Middletown First Settlers Descendants presents “Beyond the Barbour Collection: Finding your Elusive Ancestor in Connecticut Governmental Records”, a talk by Mel Smith from the Connecticut State Library. The Connecticut State Library's History and Genealogy Unit is well known for its extensive collection of historical and family research materials including several state-wide Connecticut Genealogical Indexes.  These indexes include the noted Barbour Collection of Connecticut Vital Records which contains important information on thousands of your Connecticut ancestors. However, not all births, marriages or deaths were recorded in town or church records, while other records have been lost over time. Sometimes you need to go beyond the Barbour Collection to find evidence of your ancestor. Sometimes you need to turn to other resources.  lease join reference librarian Mel Smith who will help you navigate Connecticut governmental records for a clue in finding your elusive Connecticut ancestor! Drop-in, no registration.

Teen Advisory Council

Wednesday, October 14
3:30 to 4:30 pm
Meeting Room 3
Grades: 7 to 12

Come join the new and improved Russell Library Teen Advisory Council (TAC). On Wednesday, October 14, from 3:30 to 4:30 in Meeting Room 3 come meet the new Teen Librarian and enjoy some ice cream! The Teen Advisory Council (TAC) meets on the second Wednesday of each month, from 3:30-4:30 pm. Earn community service hours, plan library activities, decorate bulletin boards, and much more. If you cannot make it to the meeting, but would like to join TAC, please contact Heather at
Registration is required and begins on Monday, September 28 at 9:00 a.m., in person or by phone, 860-347-2520.

Mental Health Matters: Accessing Mental Health and Addiction Services

Wednesday, October 14
The Hubbard Room

A big part of getting well is knowing where to find the people and resources that can help you. River Valley Services will help guide participants through the various mental health and addiction agencies within Middlesex County. Megan Goodfield, LCSW, Associate Director from RVS and Margaret O’Hagan Lynch, M.S., LPC, Division Director from Addiction Services will provide an overview of how to access services for both Mental Health Services and Addiction Services.  River Valley Services provides comprehensive clinical services to individuals living in Middletown through Old Lyme. Come and find out what is offered, and how you can access the services! Drop-in, no registration.

A Sitar Recital with Krishna DeviKrishna Devi playing sitar

Monday, October 19
6:30 pm
Hubbard Room

Sitar player Krishna Devi will introduce audiences to several Indian compositions on three of India’s traditional instruments: the harmonium, the tabla, and the sitar. Ms. Devi received a Master Degree in Sitar performance from Guru Nanak Dev University.


Fall Noontime Movie Series: Pre-Code Hollywood: Sin on the Silver Screen

Scarfce 1932 Howard HawksTuesday, October 20,
12 noon
Hubbard Room

This film discussion series will continue with Scarface, directed by Howard Hawks in 1932. Paul Muni rises, rises, and falls in Howard Hawks' hard-hitting gangster classic loosely based on the exploits of Al Capone.

During the early 1930s Hollywood studios lured depression-era audiences to the movies with sex, drugs, profanity, violence, and more sex. Filmmakers delivered crime and infidelity with a frankness that was shocking for its day, and that still packs a punch. This would all change in 1934 when producers bowed to pressure from reformers and instituted the Production Code Administration, a system of self-censorship that enforced long-neglected rules for moral representation. Join us this fall for a revealing survey of comedies, musicals, and dramas from the “pre-code” era. See what popular films could show and say before American cinema cleaned up its act. Scott Higgins, Professor, Chair of the College of Film and the Moving Image at Wesleyan University will facilitate a discussion of four films that were made during the “Pre-Code” era.  As always, bring your lunch, all movies start at noon and the library will provide beverages and dessert. The remaining three movies in the series include: Scarface (1932), Baby Face (1933) and Dames (1934).


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