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News & Events

All Programs Sponsored by the Friends of the Russell Library 

Mittens Drive

November 15 - December 12 - Lobby

Once again, the Russell Library will be collecting new mittens, gloves, scarves, hats, and warm socks of all sizes for distribution to various community organizations. Look for the bin in the lobby.

United Way

Russell Library is again participating in the United Way Campaign. Many Russell Library staff are generously making donations in support of the valuable work of the United Way.

Just a few examples of UW’s impact are:

  • More than 845,000 meals were provided by Middlesex United Way-funded programs last year
  • 97% of babies born in Middlesex Hospital’s Perinatal Program were born at a healthy weight, thanks to United Way
  • 345 families, including 385 children at risk of homelessness, have remained in their homes since 2008 because of United Way’s partnership with The Coalition on Housing and Homelessness
  • Schools benefit from the Healthy Communities-Healthy Youth (HCHY) program that is reducing risky behaviors in young people. Substance abuse, violence and antisocial behavior have decreased in all 15 towns
  • The Early Childhood Council (ECC) implements programs and opportunities for children, families and providers to assure that all children will enter kindergarten prepared socially, physically and behaviorally, and
  • VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) prepared 543 tax returns at no cost to the individuals.  Many of those receiving assistance were from the Middletown, Middlefield, Durham, Haddam and shoreline areas. This service, provided by IRS trained and certified volunteers, is available to households with incomes of $53,000 and under.

Russell Readers: Awaiting Orders by Tobias Wolff

Tuesday, December 11, 6:30pm
Meeting Room 2

Join us to discuss Awaiting Orders by Tobias Wolff, 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 contact Chantal Foster at (860) 573-2946 or email Chantal.foster@comcast.net

Drop in; no registration required.

How to Deal With Grief During the Holidays

Wednesday, December 12, 2:00pm
Hubbard Room

The holidays are a difficult time for people trying to cope with loss. This program with Michelle Pellin, ((MS, MA, LPC) offers support to those coming to terms with a loss, especially at a time of year when there is so much pressure to be happy. Join us for ways to cope, and to know you are not alone.

Drop in; no registration required.

Scrabble Wednesday

Wednesdays, December 12, 19, 26, 5:00pm
Meeting Room 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!

Books and Brews, OFFSITE Book Discussion: Wishin’ and Hopin’: a Christmas Story by Wally Lamb

Thursday, December 13, 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Stubborn Beauty Brewery, 180 Johnson Street, Middletown.

This unforgettable Wally Lamb novella captures the warmth and joy of the holiday season. Poignant and hilarious. Copies are available at the library. Christy Billings, facilitator, can be reached at 860-347-2528 x 160 or cbillings@russelllibrary.org    No brewery purchase necessary; the group meets monthly.  In January, the book will be The Stranger in the Woods: the Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel. Date TBD.

Drop in; no registration required.

We Were There: Writing Your Military Experiences

Thursdays, December 13, 20 and 27,
6:30pm, Meeting Room 2

No registration required.

Led by Elizabeth Petry, the Veterans' Writing Group invites all active or retired Veterans to document their stories and experiences for their own benefit or to share with family and friends. New members are always welcome and recent Vets are especially encouraged to attend. The group recently signed a contract to publish a book of their collected writings.  The workshop facilitator is Christy Billings. She can be reached at (860) 347-2528 x 160 or cbillings@russelllibrary.org

Tax Law Changes for 2018 with Heidi Parchman, Liberty Tax Services

Thursday, December 13, 6:30pm
Hubbard Room

With the passage of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, many tax laws and forms have changed, including the familiar federal 1040 form. Learn about many of these changes before you begin to prepare your 2018 income tax return. Heidi specializes in individual and small business taxes and accounting, and is highly educated and experienced in these fields.

The Friends of the Russell Library Book Sale

Friday, December 14, 9:00am – 6:00pm
Saturday, December 15, 9:00am – 2:00pm
Sunday, December 16, 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Activity Room

Friends' book sales offer something for everyone and help the Friends fund a wide variety of Library programs.

Osaki-san, William Gillette's Gentleman Valet (A New Play)

Sunday, December 16, 2:00pm
Hubbard Room

The East Haddam Stage Company presents a new one-man drama on the life of Yukitaka Osaki, featuring Japanese actor Taku Hirai. Osaki came to visit the US from Japan in 1888 with his older brother Yukio. Yukio returned to Japan, became the mayor of Tokyo, and bequeathed the famous cherry trees to Washington D.C. Yukitaka stayed and became the quiet soul who worked behind actor William Gillette for almost forty years.

Sponsored by a grant from the Middletown Commission on the Arts as part of the Immigrant Artist series.

No registration required.

Crafts for Adults

Friday, December 28, 11:00am
Hubbard Room

Come explore the world of crafts for adults! The library will provide materials as well as Adult Coloring pages for those who prefer coloring.

Drop in; no registration required.

Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero film screening

Friday, December 28, 2:30pm
Hubbard Room

The incredible true story of a stray dog rescued off the streets of New Haven, CT who became a hero of World War I. For his keen instincts and fierce loyalty, Stubby is still recognized today as the most decorated canine in American history.

The film is rated PG for war action and some thematic elements. Run time is 1 hour 24 minutes.  

For all ages. Drop in; no registration required.

Yoga in the Hubbard Room

Saturday, December, 29, 11:00 AM
Sunday, January 13, 1:00 PM
Hubbard Room

Yoga promotes well-being, a stronger immune system and better sleep patterns. Led by Jeff Hush, founder of Food and Movement Therapy.  No prior experience is necessary, and no mats will be used.
Drop in; no registration required.

No Racial Justice Book Group in January

The Cooking Gene is the February book.

No First Friday Book Group in January

Super Better is the February book.

Books and Brews: offsite Book Discussion at Stubborn Beauty Brewing

Thursday, January 10, 6PM-7:30PM
Stubborn Beauty Brewery (180 Johnson St, Middletown, CT

Join us off-site for the January 'Books and Brews' Book Discussion at Stubborn Beauty Brewery with The Stranger in the Woods:  The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel.
Our thanks to Stubborn Beauty for having us in their local space!
Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.
Discussion will be facilitated by Christy Billings.

Copies of The Stranger in the Woods are available for checkout at Russell Library. This program is sponsored by The Friends of the Russell Library. Our thanks again to Stubborn Beauty for having us in their local space!
180 Johnson Ave, Middletown, Ct 06457
Copies of the book are available for check-out. Contact Christy Billings at: cbillings@russelllibrary.org or at 860 347-2528 ext 160.

No registration necessary; everyone is welcome.

30 Years of Writing for The Simpsons: Mike Reiss

Sunday January 13, 2019, 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Activity Room

Mike Reiss, author of Springfield Confidential and writer for The Simpsons since the very first show will be here at Russell Library to share his experiences. Mike is a Connecticut native (Bristol).

Join us for a humorous presentation with plenty of Simpsons trivia and show clips. Copies of Springfield Confidential will be available for purchase and signing.

Family Game Night

Wednesday January 23, 2019 @ 5:00 PM
Activity Room

Join us for a fun night of board games with the entire family!  Try your hand at some new favorites, get reacquainted with some classics.  Family + games = Family Game Night!  Come and join the fun.

All ages. Drop-In, No Registration.

Nekita Waller Concert

Thursday January 24, 2019 7:00 PM to 8:30 PM
Hubbard Room

This concert is presented by our new state troubadour, Nekita Waller and celebrates Martin Luther King, Jr. A Middletown native, Nekita Waller won an award for singing at the Buttonwood Tree when she was ten years old. She sings soul music, and is the first non-folk musician to be appointed as the Connecticut State Troubadour. 

Preschool Information Fair

Saturday January 26, 2019, 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM
Activity Room

Don't delay - begin your search for preschool enrollment today!Parents and their children are invited to meet local preschool program providers. While adults ask questions we will have a simple craft available for children.

Snow date is Saturday, 2/2/2019.
Inclusion in this fair is for informational purposes only and does not constitute endorsement of individual programs by the Russell Library.

French Film Group

Sunday January 27, 2019 2:00 PM to 4:45 PM
Meeting Room 3

A French film will be presented, with a short introduction by presenter James Taylor, in French. The choice of film will be announced by December 30th.

'Vous pouvez apporter une boisson et quelque chose à manger aussi.' 

Participants may bring a drink and a snack to enjoy during the film.

Life on Parole: Film and Discussion

Sunday January 27, 2019 2:00 PM to 4:30 PM
Hubbard Room

The Institute for Municipal and Regional Policy (IMRP) at Central Connecticut State University will hold a screenings/community conversations of Life on Parole in the Hubbard Room. The panel will be led by Richard Frieder of IMRP and other special guests.

Life on Parole, produced in Connecticut with the cooperation of the Department of Corrections and in collaboration with the New York Timesand PBS Frontline, follows several former prisoners released on parole, showing in stark detail the punitive rules under which they live. For more than a year, Frontline and the NYT followed newly released prisoners as they tried to find homes and jobs, reconnect with loved ones and avoid temptation, sometimes discovering that the system created to help them can also hold them back.

Preview the trailer: https://www.pbs.org/video/life-on-parole-gvpejl/

NR Running time of 55 minutes.

Classic Mystery Book Discussion

Tuesday January 29, 2019 7:00 PM to 8:00 PM
Meeting Room 2

The book this month will be Night Train to Memphis by Elizabeth Peters. We will also compare Death on the Nile by Agatha Christie. Copies of both books will be available at the Borrowing Desk. This event is hosted by Amy Slowik.

Drop-in, no registration necessary. 

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