News & Events

Passport to Connecticut Libraries
Throughout April

Passport to Connecticut Libraries is a statewide program running throughout the month of April 2016 in celebration of National Library Week. 124 libraries in all parts of the state are participating in the program, and Russell Library is one of them!
To participate, visit a participating library and show a valid library card to pick up your free Passport. Visit other participating libraries, have your Passport stamped, and receive a token gift at each one. If you visit at least five participating libraries and have your Passport stamped, then return your Passport to a participating library by May 6th, you will be entered into one statewide drawing for a chance to win a $150 Visa gift card (for adults) or a $100 Visa gift card (for children under 18).
For more details and a full list of participating libraries, ask at our circulation desk!

Who in the What is Poetry? A Poetry event with Susan Allison

Susan AllisonSaturday, April 30
Hubbard Room

Who in the What is Poetry? is an open discussion and celebration of poetry for beginners, poets, experts, the curious and the frustrated. There will be time to discuss what we believe poetry is, read aloud some of our favorite poems, and workshop poems of our own, All are welcome to come join in, share, and learn about an ancient tradition that has survived into a thriving artform. Susan Allison, Middletown's first Poet Laureate, wrote and read the poem, Here we are Now in a Moment Like this One in honor of the the inaurguration fo newly elected city officials last November. This past February she visited the Russell Library on Take Your Child to the Library Day, reading a poem entitled Wild Blue that she had written for the occasion.

Drop-in, no registration

Feng Shui with Gia Khalsa – Part 1

Tuesday, May 3
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

Use the ancient art of Feng Shui to enhance your home and your life with the creative, exciting simple placement of color. Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement for health, prosperity, happiness and peace. Understanding Feng Shui with Gia is easy. She brings this complicated and esoteric science down to earth in a user friendly way.
This is Part 1 of a two-part lesson in Feng Shui. Part 2 will be on Tuesday, May 10.
Sponsored by the City of Middletown Department of Health.

Drop-in, no registration.

The Dog Listener: Phil KleinDog Listener

Wednesday, May 4
Hubbard Room

Certified Dog Listener Phil Klein will present a workshop on understanding and training your dog. Learn how canines see the world and the underlying reasons for unwanted behaviors like hyperactivity, destructive chewing, incessant barking, toileting in the house, jumping on guests, and aggression. Learn the four main areas of canine communications, including the leadership signals that will eliminate or minimize these behaviors and turn your dog into a relaxed, joyful companion. BRING YOUR QUESTIONS, BUT NOT YOUR DOG for an enlightening event!

Middletown, Help Us Remember World War I

Saturday, May 7
10:00am to 2:00pm
Hubbard Room

Russell Library is partnering with the Connecticut State Library and the Greater Middletown Military Museum to help preserve the history and memories of World War I.  You are invited to bring your keepsakes, photos, letters, souvenirs & more, to the Russell Library where they will be scanned, photographed, and returned to you.  The images will be preserved and available for research in the Connecticut Digital Archive. 

For more information about the event, please contact Denise Russo at Russell Library at 860-347-2520 or Christine Pittsley at the Connecticut State Library at 860-757-6517 or

Feet to the Fire Festival at the Riverfront

Saturday, May 7
12:00pm - 5:00pm
Harbor Park

Join Russell Librarians and staff at the Riverfront Festival to hear a good story and learn how to fish!
Sponsored by the City of Middletown and Wesleyan University.

NOT Liberty and Justice For All: The Criminal Case of 'To Kill a Mockingbird'

To Kill a MockingbirdLed by Author Liz Petry
May 9, 2016
7:00 pm – 8:15pm
Hubbard Room

This program will discuss the criminal trial of To Kill a Mockingbird and one of the most eloquent appeals for tolerance and justice.

Old Saybrook native Elisabeth Petry is a writer and former journalist and lawyer. She is a co-leader of the Russell Library Veteran's Writing group. 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.

Feng Shui with Gia Khalsa – Part 2

Tuesday, May 10
5:30pm – 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown. Use the ancient art of Feng Shui to enhance your home and your life with the creative, exciting simple placement of color. Feng Shui is the Chinese art of placement for health, prosperity, happiness and peace. Understanding Feng Shui with Gia is easy. She brings this complicated and esoteric science down to earth in a user friendly way.
This is Part 2 of a two-part lesson in Feng Shui.

Cultural Connections Women’s Group

Wednesday, May 11
5:30pm – 6:45pm
Hubbard Room

Women of all nationalities are invited to come and meet other immigrant women in order to help one another adapt to American culture. Get help with local resources and network. Share stories, tips and make new friends.
Children are welcome. Fluency in English is not necessary.
Drop-in, no registration.

Metropolitan Klezmer: Quartet Special ConcertMetropolitan Klezmer

Thursday, May 12
Hubbard Room

Hailed as 'one of the finest American klezmer bands' by Songlines Magazine (UK), Metropolitan Klezmer performs an exhilarating range of musical treasures with astonishing agility and refreshing depth. MK's fifth album, Mazel Means Good Luck, was recorded live at The Emelin Theatre in 2014. Touring coast-to-coast and broadcast worldwide (on HBO, PRI, NPR, and others), this collaborative adventure of exceptional New York musicians under the leader ship of drummer-archivist Eve Sicular combines the best of downtown, classical and World Music scenes to create inspired interpretations and compositions around a panoply of eclectic Yiddish repertoire. 'Metropolitan Klezmer takes a scholarly approach to the genre's history, yet never skimps on the exuberance at its core.' (Time Out New York).
This concert is co-sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library and Congregation Adath Israel.


Tales That Only Look Tall: SOVA TheaterAdelka Polak

Saturday, May 14
Hubbard Room

Adelka Polak will perform her latest Sova Theater solo work, Tales that Only Look Tall, a collection of true stories about bizarre and beautiful encounters with wild animals through the seasons in rural CT. Her stories combine original dance, eclectic live music & sounds with handmade masks and puppets by artist/sculptor Justin Perlman. This event is perfect for all ages and the whole family. Adelka Polak is the founder and Artistic Director of SOVA Dance and Puppet Theater. She is a dancer, puppeteer, mask-performer and movement director whose work has traveled to Denmark, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, and Turkey.
All ages. Drop-in, no registration
This event is co-sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library and The Connecticut Guild of Puppetry.

Readers’ Theater: Good People

Monday, May 16
Hubbard Room

In this play by David Lindsay-Abaire, the playwright pays his respects to his old South Boston neighborhood with this tough and tender play about the insurmountable class divide between those who make it out of this blue-collar Irish neighborhood and those who find themselves left behind. The scrappy characters grapple with a moral dilemma: is it strength of character or just a few lucky breaks that determines a person’s fate?
Reader’s Theater is live drama enacted by professional actors, directed by Richard B. Kamins.
Drop-in, no registration. 
Sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library

Film Screenings & Discussions To Kill a Mockingbird

Tuesday, May 17th
Both films followed by discussions led by Commonweal Film Critic Richard Alleva

  • Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird, 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm
    Russell Library, Hubbard Room

Film screening of Hey Boo: Harper Lee and To Kill a Mockingbird featuring the PBS documentary The documentary features interviews with Lee’s friends and family, who share intimate recollections, anecdotes and biographical details for the first time: Lee’s rise from small-town Alabama girl to famous author, her tumultuous friendship with Truman Capote, and the origin of her most memorable characters: Atticus Finch, his daughter Scout, her friend Dill, and Boo Radley.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird 6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
    Russell Library, Hubbard Room

To Kill a Mockingbird Tuesday, May 17th 6PM-8PM
Based on Harper Lee's Pulitzer Prize winning book of 1961. Atticus Finch is a lawyer in the fictional town of Maycomb, a racially divided Alabama town, set in the early 1930s, and modeled after Monroeville where Harper Lee grew up. Finch agrees to defend a young black man who is accused of a serious crime.

Meet Your Teen New Librarian

Wednesday, May 17
6 to 8 pm

Teen Area
Parents and students in grades 7 to 12  

Drop by the Teen Area on May 17 from 6 to 8 pm for Pizza, Ice Cream, and other refreshments and meet YOUR Teen Librarians. Come find out about the exciting new programs being offered to teens and explore the teen area. We hope to see you here!
No registration required. 

Throne of BloodShakespeare On Screen: Film Series with Richard Alleva - Throne of Blood

Saturday, May 21
Hubbard Room

Macbeth in Japan? Shakespeare without the blank verse? But when Japan’s greatest movie director, Akira Kurosawa, puts the Scottish play on screen, and Japan’s greatest film actor, Toshiro Mifune, plays the bloodsoaked tyrant, verbal poetry gets replaced by visual poetry, and the result is stunning. The film series is part of the Shakespeare 400 Passport in partnership with ArtFarm.
Drop-in, no registration.
This series is funded by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Mindfulness for the Stressed and Depressed with Stephen Cuddy

Monday, May 23
Hubbard Room

Stephen M. Cuddy will teach a workshop on how to achieve a state of mindfulness.
Cuddy defines mindfulness as: 1. The quality or state of being conscious or aware of something; and, 2. A mental state achieved by focusing awareness on the present moment while calmly acknowledging and accepting feelings, thoughts and bodily sensations.
Cuddy is a certified presenter and facilitator for the National Alliance on Mental Illness. He presents on mindfulness and other health topics and promotes healthy living.
Sponsored by the City of Middletown Department of Health.

Chasing Justice Through the Ruins: Film Series with Richard Alleva

A Foreign Affair 1948 Billy WilderTuesday, May 24

Hubbard Room
A Foreign Affair

World War II left much of Europe ruined. Great cities had been reduced to rubble, and the citizens of the defeated countries began to realize that their former leaders had perpetrated despicable acts. Movie critic Richard Alleva introduces and analyzes four classics that capture the postwar situation in a way that’s both candid and thoroughly entertaining. In each movie a person tries to recover something precious that was stolen from him or her by the chaos of war. The remarkably varied selections include a thriller, a comedy, and two of the most heartbreaking dramas ever made.

A Foreign Affair (1948) is the third film in this series. A Congresswoman visits postwar Berlin and finds herself in an emotional and sexual triangle with a shady American officer and his even shadier German mistress. Director-writer Billy Wilder pits Jean Arthur against Marlene Dietrich in one of the funniest yet most disquieting comedies ever made. As one character put it, "The Germans have to be gracious. They're too poor not to be be gracious."

Drop-in, no registration. This series is funded by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Make a Flag or Pennant for the Memorial Day Parade!

Saturday, May 28
Activity Room

Children and parents are invited to make their own flag to wave during Middletown's Memorial Day Parade! Wear an old shirt and prepare to get messy!
All ages. Drop-in, no registration.

Russell Library Marches in Middletown's Memorial Day Parade

May 30
McDonough School

Meet at McDonough School if you wish to join with the Russell Library staff while we march down Main Street and help to commemorate all of those who served in the defense of our country.


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