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News & Events

All Programs Sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library 

Wonder by R.J. Palacio; a One Book on the Riverbend Book Discussion

Wednesday, May 23, 6:00pm
Hubbard Room

The book begins with, 'My name is August. I won't describe to you what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.” Auggie is ten years old and wants to be just like everyone else. He is, however, far from ordinary. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, he has been home-schooled by his parents his entire life in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, Auggie's parents are sending him to public school. Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches, Wonder is a frank, funny, moving debut to be read in one sitting, passed along to others, and remembered long after the final page.
Read the book along with a parent, grandparent, or a friend and join us! Discussion will be led by Christy Billings, Chair of the One Book on the Riverbend committee.
Contact: cbillings@russelllibrary.org or (860) 347-2528 ext 160. Copies of Wonder are available for checkout.
This program is open to everyone from children age 6th grade to adults.
Sponsored through a Middletown Rotary Grant and by the Friends of the Russell Library. 

We Were There: Writing Your Military Experiences

Thursdays, May 24, 31; June 7, 14, 21, 28 @ 6:30pm
Meeting Room 2

Author Elisabeth Petry will continue to lead The Veterans' Writing Group which 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. New members are encouraged to visit to see what the group is all about! Currently, service people from combat and non-combat situations from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, and Iraqi Freedom attend regularly. We hope to hear from other Iraq War Vets, and those who have served in Afghanistan.  Elisabeth Petry is a writer and former journalist and lawyer. She lives in Middletown with her husband, Lawrence Riley, who is Commander of the American Legion Milardo-Wilcox Post 75, Middletown CT.

The workshop facilitator is Christy Billings. She can be reached at (860) 347-2528 or cbillings@russelllibrary.org


Adult Coloring for Stress Reduction

Friday, May 25, 11:00am
Hubbard Room

Come and enjoy a stress-free environment while you color beautiful pictures!
The library provides materials, or you may bring your own. 

Yoga in the Courtyard

Saturday, May 26, 11:00am
The Courtyard

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 bad weather, yoga will be held in the Hubbard Room.

Classic Mystery Book Discussion: The Crow Trap by Ann Cleves

Tuesday, May 29, @ 7:00pm
Meeting Room 2

This month, we are reading The Crow Trap by Ann Cleves (Vera Stanhope #1). At the isolated Baikie's Cottage on the North Pennines, three very different women come together to complete an environmental survey. Three women who, in some way or another, know the meaning of betrayal...Only when there are two deaths at the cottage does a fourth woman enter the picture - the unconventional Detective Inspector Vera Stanhope, who must piece together the truth from these women's tangled lives. Author Ann Cleeves is an English crime-writer. In 2006 she won the Duncan Lawrie Dagger, the richest crime-writing prize in the world, for her novel Raven Black.
Copies are available at the circulation desk. 

Mother-Daughter Book Discussion: Wonder: a One Book on the Riverbend Event

Wednesday May 30, @ 6:00pm
Hubbard Room

We invite mothers and daughters to read the 2018 One Book on the Riverbend title: Wonder by R.J. Palacio and join us for this discussion. Auggie is ten years old and wants to be just like everyone else. He is, however, far from ordinary. Born with a terrible facial abnormality, he has been home-schooled by his parents his entire life in an attempt to protect him from the cruelty of the outside world. Now, Auggie's parents are sending him to public school. Narrated by Auggie and the people around him whose lives he touches, Wonder is a frank, funny, moving debut to be read in one sitting, passed along to others, and remembered long after the final page.
Copies of Wonder are available for checkout.
Discussion will be facilitated by Teen Librarian Heather Scussel and by Christy Billings, Library Assistant in Programming and Community Engagement. Contact cbillings@russelllibrary.org or 860- 347-2528 x 160
This is a One Book on the Riverbend 2018 event. It is sponsored through a Middletown Rotary Grant and by the Friends of the Russell Library.

Jazz Up Close with Noah Baerman presents: Amanda Monaco

Thursday, May 31, 7:00pm
The Hubbard Room

Resonant Motion, Inc. presents the first event in its 2018 'Sound Belief’ series through the popular Jazz Up Close program. This year’s guests will share diverse original compositions springing forth from similarly diverse spiritual practices. For this event, guitarist and composer Amanda Monaco brings her Pirkei Avot Project, also featuring Tammy Scheffer on vocals and Daphna Mor on recorders, accompanied by bassist Henry Lugo and pianist and series curator Noah Baerman.
Amanda Monaco has been a fixture on the New York jazz scene for over twenty years, playing with a variety artists including Steve Wilson, Rufus Reid, and the Mingus Orchestra. She has led and co-led a variety of ensembles that feature her eclectic compositions, including the Amanda Monaco 4, the quartet Deathblow, the rambunctious organ-based group Girly Day, and the collective ensemble Playdate, all of which have issued recordings. Her New Music ensemble The Pirkei Avot Project performs her original music with lyrics culled from a collection of rabbinical teachings compiled in the third century C.E.
Amanda is an Assistant Professor at Berklee College of Music, teaching labs, ensembles, and lessons through their Guitar Department, and is the author of Jazz Guitar for the Absolute Beginner. She is also the founder of the New York based nonprofit Convergence Arts.
This event is presented with the support of the Middletown Commission on the Arts and the CT Department of Economic and Community Development, Office of the Arts, which also receives support from the National Endowment for the Arts, a federal agency, along with the Shoreline Arts Alliance. 

USPS Passport Fair

Saturday June 2, 10:30am to 1:30pm
2nd Floor Information - Quiet Area

Russell Library and the United States Post Office have teamed up to offer patrons a convenient and time saving opportunity to get or renew your U.S. passport.

See flyer for required documents and fees. You may bring a passport compliant photo or have one taken ($15.00) that day.

Questions? Christy Billings (860) 347-2528 ext 160 or cbillings@russelllibrary.org

Racial Justice Book Discussion: Citizen by Claudia Rankine and The Origin of Others by Toni Morrison

Tuesday, June 5, 6:00pm (First Tuesday of each month)
Meeting Room 2

Poet Claudia Rankine meditates on police brutality, racial fatigue, depression and the denigration of black bodies. In Toni Morrison's The Origin of Others America's foremost novelist reflects on the themes that preoccupy her work and increasingly dominate national and world politics: race, fear, borders, the mass movement of peoples, and the desire for belonging. What is race and why does it matter? What motivates the human tendency to construct Others? Why does the presence of Others make us so afraid? If we learn racism by example, then literature plays an important part in the history of race in America, both negatively and positively. National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates provides a foreword to Morrison's most personal work of nonfiction to date.
Copies of both books are available for check-out.

Contact Christy Billings at cbillings@russelllibrary.org or 860 347-2528 x 160

This book club is open to everyone; no registration necessary.
The Racial Justice Book Club is sponsored in partnership with the Middletown Racial Justice Community.

Blood Pressure Monitoring Program with the YMCA

Wednesdays, June 6 and 20, 1:30pm
Meeting Room 2

This is a monthly program sponsored by the YMCA. Contact Middlesex YMCA’s Community Wellness Coordinator, Gabrielle West, for more information: GWest@midymca.org or (860) 343-6240. 

Scrabble Wednesday

Wednesdays, June 6, 13, 20, and 27, 2:30pm. Meeting Room 2 or 3,

Carol Whitfield will lead players in scrabble games for ages 12 - 112.
We will have dictionaries, score sheets and scrabble boards. Bring your brains! 
For ages 12 to 112.

Just drop-in or sign-up online and get an email reminder!

Kate Callahan Concert

Wednesday, June 6, 7:00pm
Hubbard Room

Connecticut's 16th State Troubadour, Kate Callahan, gives a concert of compelling original music plus songs by Leonard Cohen and Bob Dylan. For this concert, she will be joined by a quartet of musicians. Callahan has shared stages with songwriter legends Judy Collins, Noel Paul Stookey (Peter, Paul & Mary), the late Bill Morrissey, Aztec Two Step, and Regina Spektor. She is unapologetically optimistic in concert, singing original songs about the Earth, gratitude, marriage, love, and spirit.  Kate is one of the most awarded songwriters in her home state of Connecticut, most recently named the 2017 Best Singer-Songwriter by the CT Now Hartford poll. She was the prestigious United Arts Campaign’s Featured Artist of the Year in 2014, and received Hartford’s Woman of Character Award. 

The Friends of the Russell Library Book Sale

Friday, June 8, 10:00am – 6:00pm and Saturday, June 9, 10:00am—2:00pm.
Activity Room

The Friends' book sales help the library fund a wide variety of programs. From art books to children's books, there is something for everyone! CDs and DVDs are also available. Donating books for the Friends' book sales is easy: place your books in the Book Drop box inside the entrance of the Library. If you have large quantities, call about possible pick-up: 860-347-2528 x 124. Support the Friends by becoming a member, volunteering your time or talents, donating books, or making an endowment as part of your estate plan.

Crafts for Adults

Friday, June 8, 11:00am - 1:00pm
Hubbard Room

Come explore the world of crafts for adults! Each month, we will have a new type of craft to try. The library will provide materials to complete the craft. If you have a certain craft or project in mind, you may bring your own materials, and share your knowledge and expertise with others. 

Readers’ Theater presents Ben Butler by Richard Strand

Monday, June 11, 7:00pm
Hubbard Room

A combination of comedy, biography, and historical drama, Ben Butler takes a thought-provoking look at a key decision in the Civil War, and explores the timeless questions surrounding social conscience, individual responsibility, and the politics of race in America. 
Sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library.

Classic Mystery Film Series: Murder at the Gallop

Tuesday, June 12, 12:30pm
Hubbard Room

Murder at the Gallop (1963) is the second of four Miss Marple films made by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. While out collecting for charity, Miss Jane Marple (Margaret Rutherford) visits an antisocial villager (Robert Morley), and he suddenly drops dead in her presence. Suspicious of the circumstances, Marple eavesdrops on the reading of his will and subsequently shadows various members of the family who seem suspicious. As the bodies pile up, Miss Marple suspects she has the guilty party cornered, but she needs to find the last bit of proof before it's too late

Russell Readers: Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver

Tuesday, June 12, 6:30pm
Meeting Room 2

Join us to discuss Will You Please Be Quiet, Please? by Raymond Carver from the collection 100 Years of the Best American Short Stories. 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. For more information about participating in the group or acquiring the text, contact Chantal Foster at 860-573-2946 or email Chantal.foster@comcast.net.
Drop in; no registration.

Educational Talk: Oh My Aching Joints!

Thursday, June 14, 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

Do you have shoulder, hip or knee pain? Have you been diagnosed with osteoarthritis? Come learn effective strategies to cope with pain and improve mobility.

Sponsored by Physical Therapy & Sports Medicine Centers of Middletown.

On the River: A Community Art Project

Saturday, June 16, @10:30am
Hubbard Room

In this hands-on art class, participants will work together to create a mural based on a well-known piece of art. Each person or small group will get one to three 12'' x 12'' paper squares with a section of the painting. They will be asked to replicate the lines, shapes, and general composition of the sample square using any materials, colors, or style that they wish. Materials will be provided. Artists are encouraged to bring in their favorite supplies if they’d like. As they finish, they will place their square on the wall based on the number on the back. The combined squares will reveal the piece of art chosen for the class.
This project is ideal for individuals interested in making art, and families with children in grades 1 and up (ages 6 +). Siblings welcome! 
Registration suggested; drop-ins accepted if there’s room. Please sign up on line or call the Information Desk at 860-347-2520.

YMCA’s Nutritional Education

Wednesday, June 20, 2:00pm
Meeting Room 2

Contact Middlesex YMCA's Community Wellness Coordinator, Gabrielle West for more information:GWest@midymca.org or (860) 343-6240. 
Registration is required.

This program is sponsored by the YMCA

Clara’s Journey: Why Our Piano Goes to the Woods

Thursday, June 21, 7:00pm
Hubbard Room

Every summer, the piano at Russell Library, named after Clara Schumann, has a summer adventure in the woods. Come enjoy her music and story with Mara Bennett, Noyes dancer, and Carolyn Halsted, a Middletown composer and pianist who will play a selection of musical pieces used for Noyes Rhythm, including one of her own compositions.  Pianist Carolyn Halsted is a composer and pianist who teaches at Wesleyan University. Along with other pianists, she has worked with the Noyes Rhythm Summer Retreat for several years. Created by Florence Fleming Noyes in the early 1900s, Noyes Rhythm is a movement system that brings ease and strength to your body, while opening you up to great creativity in art and life. Many people of all ages, both dancers and non-dancers, have come to Noyes School of Rhythm to relieve stiffness, tiredness, and loss of inspiration. 

Drop-in; no registration. 

Yoga in the Hubbard Room

Saturday, June 23, 11:00am
Hubbard Room

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.

Medical Massage: What it is and How It Can Help You

Saturday, June 23, 12:00pm
Hubbard Room

Learn about Medical Massage and its value. Simple ways to identify physical issues will be introduced. Useful stretches will be demonstrated and taught. Come prepared to get up and move, and ask questions! Paul Rice has been a Medical Massage Therapist for 15 years. He graduated from CCMT (now Cortiva Institute) with a Certificate in Medical Massage from Hartford Hospital. He has taken courses in Visceral Manipulation (Abdomen, Thorax and Pelvis), Craniosacral I, Myofascial, and also has training in Nerve Mobilization (Lower and Upper Extremities). He often use Acupressure and Energy work when doing medical massage. He worked almost 30 years in Emergency Medicine, 18 years as a Paramedic.

Drop-in; no registration.

Language for Brain Health Workshop, with Dr. Helen Evrard 

Tuesday, June 26, 6:00pm
Hubbard Room

Language and deep word meanings will be explored and applied to help participants improve self-confidence and overcome doubt and fear. In this interactive workshop Dr. Evrard will share her personal journey with depression, and help participants minimize its impact on themselves and others. Dr. Evrard is the author of Positive Matters: Words, Quotations, and Stories to Heal and Inspire and the co-creator with Middletown artist Kimberly Barcello of the companion Positive Pulls, decorated wooden sticks that allow selection of a single word for reflection, insight, and discovery.  She is the producer/host of 'Your Mind Matters,’ (currently on hiatus) airing on WESU 88.1 FM Middletown, offering conversations with researchers, practitioners, and everyday people who deal with brain health issues. For more information go to: www.wordifference.com or Facebook: www.facebook.com/workdifference.

Worldwide, 47 million people are living with Alzheimer's and other dementias. Join the Alzheimer's Association in going purple and raising awareness in June. The more people know about Alzheimer's, the more action we inspire. Go to www.alz.org/abam for more information on National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month.

Classic Mystery Book Discussion: A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie (a Miss Marple mystery)

Tuesday, June 26, 7:00pm
Meeting Room 2

Agatha Christie liked using nursery rhymes as a unifying theme, but A Pocket Full of Rye is the only Miss Marple book to use this method. In this ingeniously plotted classic, the nursery rhyme holds three clues to finding a cunning killer when a well-to-do household becomes infested with murder. Copies are available at the circulation desk.

Author Frank Connolly: Insider's View to City Hall

Wednesday, June 27, 6:00pm
Meeting Room 3

Author Frank Connolly of Portland, former town manager of North Branford, Newington, and Coventry, will speak on his experiences in municipalities from an insider's point of view. His novel Hidden Agenda: Inside Town Hall is loosely based on his three-decade career as an administrator in three Connecticut municipalities. It may be a work of fiction, but its plot, replete with back stabbing, ignited passions, behind-the-scenes schemings and rich characters — both unsavory and altruistic — reveals the entertaining and sometimes lurid nature of town government. This book and Local Government in Connecticut, 3rd Edition will be available for purchase.

Practicing Self Care: A workshop with Tateisha Perry

Thursday, June 28, 6:00pm
Hubbard Room

Life can be chaotic. Very often we get swept up in taking care of everybody and everything else except ourselves. Many of us need to recharge our own batteries! Whether you’re a teenager, a college student, a parent, a caregiver, or any or all of the above, everyone needs to pay attention to taking care of themselves. 

Tateisha Perry, owner of The Triplet Connection, LLC and a Marriage and Family Therapist, will present ideas anyone can adapt to add a little more self-care into their daily routine—simple things such as taking a walk or a bubble bath, or taking the time to exercise. Tateisha will also offer a quick meditation to demonstrate how meditation can help calm a busy mind. Tateisha has four children: 14 year old triplets and an eight year old boy.

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