News & Events

Passport imageWin a gift card for visiting libraries!
Based on the Wine Trail Passport Program in Connecticut

Connecticut Library Association is instituting a Library Passport program during Library Card Sign Up Month for the month of September. Every participating library, including Russell Library, will offer a passport to their patrons (one for adults and one for children under 18) as well as a small gift. The patron will then visit as many participating libraries during the month of September as possible, having the passport stamped once at each library. Passports will be turned in to any participating library by October 4th.

Each library will select a winner of the most libraries visited for submission to a second drawing, as well a random drawing, which will be applied to a final drawing for four gift card prizes (2 adult of $150 each and 2 children of $100 each). Please visit the facebook page ( to see all of the wonderful programs, special collections, etc., that CT libraries offer!

Freedom Summer:  Film and DiscussionFreedom Summer

Wesleyan Professor Lois Brown and civil rights activist Muriel Tillinghast are the guest speakers for this program to be held on Thursday, September 11 at 6pm in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown.  Professor Brown will introduce the PBS documentary Freedom Summer and after the screening Muriel Tillinghast will answer questions about the events and issues portrayed in the film.
Freedom Summer, directed by acclaimed filmmaker Stanley Nelson (Freedom Riders, The Murder of Emmett Till), highlights an overlooked but essential element of the civil rights movement: the patient and long-term efforts by both outside activists and local citizens in Mississippi to organize communities and register black voters--even in the face of intimidation, physical violence, and death.

Muriel Tillinghast is a long-time civil rights activist, youth organizer, and former member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, also known as SNCC, which played a pivotal role during the turbulent 1960's. She has served as the president of the Nonviolent Action Group (NAG), an organization that addressed de-segregation issues in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Delaware. She is actively involved with tenant's rights, AIDS-related issues, and has provided motivation and support to prison inmates who sought to expand their education.

Professor Lois Brown teaches in the English Department and African American Studies Program at Wesleyan. Her research and teaching focus on African American literary history, nineteenth-century women writers, African American biography, as well as the politics of identity, faith, and privilege in colonial and antebellum America.  As chair of the program and director of the Center for African American Studies, she is involved in the campus and community planning for the Freedom Summer anniversary celebrations at Wesleyan scheduled for September 12 and September 13, 2014.

The library will provide sandwiches and beverages.

Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut by Anthony RiccioFarms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut by Anthony Riccio

Anthony Riccio, author, photographer and oral historian, will speak about his book Farms, Factories and Families: Italian American Women of Connecticut Farms, Factories and Families at 2pm on Saturday, September 20 in the Hubbard Room at Russell Library, 123 Broad Street, Middletown.  This book documents the rich history of Italian American working women in Connecticut, including the crucial role they played in union organizing.

Farms, Factories and Families opens with the voices of elderly Italian American women, who reconstruct daily life in Italy’s southern regions at the turn of the twentieth century.  Raised to be caretakers and nurturers of families, these women lived in a patriarchal society that offered them few choices.  This enlightening work reveals the trajectories of immigrant women who arrived in Connecticut with the ability to face adversity with quiet inner strength, the stamina to work tirelessly from dawn to dusk, the skill to manage the family economy, and adherence to moral principles rooted in the southern Italian code of behavior. Second- and third-generation Italian American women who attended college and achieved professional careers have not forgotten their legacy. This book gives them the opportunity to tell their own stories, in their own words.
Mr. Riccio will read sections of Farms, Factories, and Families and discuss the research and interview process he used to write the book. Copies of his books will be for sale and signing following the presentation.  He has written two other books about the Italian American experience in New Haven and Boston, and says that once he started listening to the stories of the women he interviewed, he couldn’t get enough.


Jazz Interpretations of Stevie Wonder by Noah Baerman Noah Baerman

Jazz pianist and educator Noah Baerman will present a discussion and performance as part of the partnership between the non-profit Resonant Motion, Inc. and the Russell Library on Saturday, September 27 at 2pm in the Hubbard Room. The music of Stevie Wonder is beloved across generations, in part due to the depth and flexibility of his songs. Unlike many of his contemporaries, his musical vocabulary lends itself very well to being interpreted in a jazz context. Baerman will discuss and demonstrate this phenomenon, covering a range of material from big hits like “You Are the Sunshine of My Life” and “Boogie On Reggae Woman” to lesser-known masterworks from Wonder’s catalog.



Sixth Middletown International Film Festival

Tuesday, September 30
Russell Library Hubbard Room

Wadjda (2012) 98 min. Saudi Arabia - directed by Haifaa Al Mansour

An enterprising Saudi girl signs on for her school's Koran recitation competition as a way to raise the remainng funds she needs in order to buy the green bicycle that has captured her interest.

Fall Film Series

When Cary Grant’s suave wit and impeccable timing met Howard Hawk’s razor sharp yet elegant direction, the results were sheer perfection.  Join us for four films from their stunning collaboration, and learn why they worked so well together.

Only Angels Have Wings (1939) –Tuesday, September 16, 2014 Only Angels Have Wings starring Cary Greant and Jean Arthur

Their most touching film, Grant plays a hardened aviator in Hawk’s thrilling professional world. Jean Arthur brings romance to the workplace while Rita Hayworth awakens Grant’s haunted past.  It is a bravura exercise in balancing tension and adventure with character depth and self-discovery.

His Gal Friday starring Cary Grant and Rosalind RussellHis Girl Friday (1940) – Tuesday, October 21, 2014

In their adaptation of The Front Page, Grant plays a hard-as-nails news editor and Rosiland Russell is the reporter who wants to leave the rat race. Hawks moves things at a blistering speed, as the bickering divorcee’s race through a breaking story leaving her fiancé Ralph Bellamy in the dust.I Was a Male War Bride starring Cary Grant and Ann Sheridan

I Was a Male War Bride (1949) – Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Captain Henri Rochard is a French officer assigned to work with Lieut. Catherine Gates. Through a wacky series of misadventures, they fall in love and marry. When the war ends, Capt. Rochard tries to return to America with the other female war brides. Zany gender-confusing antics follow.

Monkey Business starring Cary Grant, Ginger Rogers and Marilyn Monroe


Monkey Business (1952) – Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Cary Grant plays a chemist, through his work he stumbles across a youth-inducing drug.  Ginger Rogers plays his wife, Marilyn Monroe his secretary, and they all regress info hysterics.  Hawks once again keeps Grant in delirious, constant motion. This movie also involves a chimp!!

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