Wilton will be immersed in the turn of the 20th century when the community comes together to read E .L. Doctorow’s Ragtime for Wilton Library’s Wilton Reads 2014 event. The modern American classic was written in 1975 by one of America’s most accomplished and acclaimed living writers. Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the 20th century and the First World War and is part of the Modern Library collection of the 100 best novels of all time.

The library has planned a month’s worth of programming in October to enhance the learning experience. The sponsors who have generously donated to this endeavor are Fairfield County Bank, Peachwave Yogurt, Stay at Home Wilton, Sun Products, Wilton Historical Society, the Wilton Woman’s Club and media sponsor Wilton Magazine.

Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library, remarked, “This is our tenth Wilton Reads and we are delighted to be sharing this wonderful novel with the Wilton community. The writing is so rich and descriptive that we were motivated to bring a full range of programming for our patrons to experience.”

In addition to book discussions with popular book leaders Joanna Ecke and Susan Boyar, there will be activities for everyone to learn about 1900s America including programming for children. Film screenings, a special trip to the Morgan Library and Museum, a Wilton history talk by Wilton Historian Bob Russell, genealogy seminars, and rotating exhibits featuring a costume, advertisements and Wilton/Norwalk area photographs are just some of the highlights. The reading event will culminate with a Community Reception on Friday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. that is free and open to all.

Karen Danvers, the library’s program manager noted, “Staff members came together as a group to create the programming for this event. We were so enthusiastic about the undertaking that we were able to bring in many community partners to help round out the programming.” The library’s development director Robin Axness added, “We have restaurants, people with expertise in certain areas – we’re looking forward to sharing this cultural connection.”

The program kicks-off at the library with one hundred free books being given away courtesy of Fairfield County Bank on Saturday, Sept. 27, beginning at 10 a.m. on a first come, first-served basis, one per person, while supplies last.

The following is a brief list of programs that are scheduled. More details and registration information may be found on the library’s website and in a brochure available at the library:

Monday, Oct. 6  3–4:30 p.m.  Silent Film Screening of Speedy with John Mucci, piano accompanist

Tuesday, Oct. 7  9 a.m.–4:30 p.m.   Bus Trip to The Morgan Library & Museum

Thursday, Oct. 9  10:30 a.m.–noon  Book Discussion with Joanna Ecke

Friday, Oct. 10  5–6 p.m.  Dmitri Wright: A Talk on New American Impressionism followed by art exhibit, 6 – 7:30 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 11  2–3 p.m.  City Winds Trip Plays Ragtime; for children grades K and up

Tuesday, Oct. 14  7–8:30 p.m.  Toni McKeen, Genealogist: The Immigrant Experience

Wednesday, Oct. 15  7–8:30 p.m.  Book Discussion with Susan Boyar

Friday, Oct. 17  4–5 p.m.  Genealogy for Kids; grades 2 and up

Sunday, Oct. 19  3–6 p.m.  Screening of Ragtime, the 1981 movie

Monday, Oct. 20  3–5 p.m.  Ragtime Crafts

Tuesday, Oct. 21  7–8:30 p.m.  Wilton at the Turn of the Century with Bob Russell

Friday, Oct. 24  6–8 p.m.  Wilton Reads Community Reception

The Wilton Reads Community Reception on Friday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8 p.m. puts the finishing touches on the month-long programming. Catering for the event will be generously provided by Barcelona SoNo, Bartaco, Bianco Rosso, Bistro 7, Little Pub, Marly’s, Wave Hill Breads and Wilton Pizza. A signature Ragtime cocktail will be featured, along with Model A and Model T Fords from the era, dance demonstrations by Walter Schalk Dance Studio students, ragtime music by the New Orleans Beatniks and more.

In an interesting juxtaposition, the library will be using new technology from its Innovation Station to visually explore the era of the 1900s. Susan Lauricella, Innovation Station coordinator explained, “We are inviting people to digitally scan their old photographs from the turn of the 20th century using the library’s equipment. The project starts now through Oct. 20. The photos will then be projected during the Community Reception.” Original photographs will be returned and digital copies will be provided to the owners. Anyone interested in this project may email innovation@wiltonlibrary.org.

For information, registration and directions to Wilton Library, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213.