News & Events

Max Corvo of the O.S.S.

Thursday, May 19 - 7:00pm
Hubbard Roo

Max CorvoBiagio 'Max” Corvo of Middletown was a true hero of World War II and will be the subject of an illustrated talk to be given by his son, Bill Corvo. Max Corvo worked with 'Wild Bill' Donovan and helped develop the Allied plan for the invasion of Italy. 

Coming to Middletown at the age of 9 to join his father, Cesare Corvo, who had immigrated from Mellili, Sicily, Max Corvo was highly influenced by Ida Keigwin in his early schooling and assimilation into American life. When World War II broke out, he enlisted as a private at the age of 22 to fight for his adopted country. But the old country, Italy, was not far from his mind. He devised a plan to invade Sicily and develop an espionage and partisan warfare project. Although only a private, his superior officers saw the merit in his proposal and arranged a meeting with the head of the OSS, General William 'Wild Bill” Donovan.

Corvo was transferred to the OSS and put his plan in place, recruiting other Middletown soldiers of Italian descent, such as Vincent Scamporino and Emilio Daddario, to infiltrate Italy and establish the partisan network. He also established contacts with Italian anti-Fascists, many of whom had been associates of his father. By May of 1943, the newly commissioned 2nd Lieutenant left for North Africa to implement his plan.

An amateur historian, Bill Corvo has written several articles for magazines about OSS Italy operations and has presented at historical symposia including the National Archives Symposium on the OSS in Washington, D.C. He is also the author of The Italian Military and Foreign Affairs Situation, 1933-1943 about Mussolini’s military operations prior to and during World War II. Long active in political and community affairs, Corvo served on the Common Council of the City of Middletown and succeeded his father as editor of the Middletown Bulletin, an Italian American newspaper. He holds a B.A. from Wesleyan University and a J.D. from the Cleveland Marshall College of Law.

The program is free and open to the public. Russell Library is handicap accessible. For further information, please contact the Historical Society at 860-346-0746.

No registration required. 

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

Saturday, May 21 - 1:00pm
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 - 7:00pm
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 - 12:00pm
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 - 10:00am
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- 9:30am
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.

Cultural Connections Women’s Group

Date & Time To Be Announced
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.

Learn About Lyme Disease

Wednesday, June 1 - 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

Join Voices Against Lyme Disease as they share information about Lyme Disease -- how you get it, how to prevent getting it and what symptoms to look for.
Voices Against Lyme Disease is a statewide advocacy program that provides state officials, civic organizations and Connecticut families with educational information. They communicate the need for a better awareness and understanding of all Lyme Disease symptoms, the absolute necessity for funding in research as to quality/quantitative testing and cure, historical and more accurate collection of current statewide statistics and a clear picture of short term and possible long term effects and personal costs associated with being affected by Lyme disease and other illnesses transmitted by the same ticks.

Local Authors Fair

Saturday, June 4, - 10:00am to 1:00pm
Hubbard Room

Come meet authors, buy their books and have them sign them for you at the First Annual Local Authors Fair! A wide variety of subjects and genres, both fiction and non-fiction, will be represented.
Authors include (in alphabetical order):
• Susan Allison
• Janet Barrett
• Sandy Berenbaum
• Robert B. Boyd
• Jessica Brooke
• Co-authors Vic Butsch and Tommy Coletti
• Jennifer Eifrig
• Helen Evrard
• William Foster
• Beth Lapin
• Roy Lisker
• Steve Liskow
• Hanna Perstein Marcus
• Matthew J.A. Simmons
• Arthur Wiknik, Jr.
Refreshments will be served! Drop-in, no registration. This is funded by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Yoga in the Courtyard

Saturday, June 11, - 11:00am
The Library Courtyard at Russell Library

Join us for a morning of “Family Yoga” to learn about the calming effect that yoga has while experiencing it in the great outdoors. No prior experience necessary, and no mats will be used. Our instructor for our outdoor class will be Jeff Hush, founder of Food and Movement Therapy and a local instructor of Family Yoga, Tai Chi and Chair Yoga. Come experience what Yoga flow can do to assist you in feeling calmer and also more energetic. Learn how it helps in having a stronger immune system and better sleep patterns. In case of rain, the class with be held in the Hubbard Room. This program is a part of Adult Summer Reading: Exercise Your Mind.
Drop-in, no registration, all ages.
Sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library

Rites and Passages:  Michael Pestel and Peter Standaart in Concert

Peter Standaart and Michael PestelSaturday, June 11, 2:00pm
The Library Courtyard

This open-air concert in Russell Library’s inner courtyard will feature flutist, Peter Standaart and multi-instrumentalist, Michael Pestel, as they employ the flute as a shamanic vessel of change. The notion of Rites and Passages will be seen, heard, and felt through the lens of political and ecological diasporas, avian migration, and personal transformation. The concert will feature two world premiers – a work for solo flute by Egyptian composer and oud player Philemon Abdellah Kirlles, and a spatial composition for four flutes by Michael Pestel. Other works by Bach, Debussy, and Jolivet will be re-conceptualized for the library’s unique performance space. In case of rain, the concert will take place in the library’s Hubbard Room.
Artist and musician Michael Pestel has built multi-media installations and performed on flutes, contr’alto clarinet, piano, diverse hybrid and invented instruments, such as the Birdmachine and Birdrawingtable, in concert halls, art galleries, city streets, parks, aviaries and natural places throughout the United States, Europe, Japan and Australia. His focus over the past fifteen years on bird sound extends the spirit of Messiaen’s scored works into improvised and solo performances with live birds in aviaries and in the wild.
Peter Standaart is a consummate performer, having performed classical flute and experimental works.
Sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library.

Adult Summer Reading Program: Exercise Your MindAdult Summer Reading

June 13th through August 19th

Weekly drawings for downtown Middletown gift cards and a grand prize drawing for a Kindle Fire HD. Quick and easy sign up at the Circulation Desk. Earn raffle tickets by submitting reviews of books you are already reading this summer. Join us for Summer Reading Programs such as: Yoga in the Courtyard, Adult Coloring, Origami, and Brain Game Night.

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