Sometimes things just come together in a certain way that make it easier for other things to fall in place. Such is the case this year with Wilton Library’s selection of its Wilton Reads 2020 community-wide book. With the centennial celebration of the late jazz legend and Wiltonian Dave Brubeck, the very recent announcement of the Brubeck Collection archives coming to Wilton Library, and the collaboration of Wilton Library and Wilton Historical Society’s “Jazzed Up – The History of Jazz” lecture series underway, it seems fitting that Wilton Reads 2020 focuses on American jazz.

Elaine Tai-Lauria, executive director of Wilton Library, and Dr. Kevin Smith, superintendent of Wilton Public Schools, announced Thursday night at the Board of Education meeting that the Wilton Reads book will be F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Tales of the Jazz Age. This compendium of short stories by the august author delves into American social life and customs during the 20th century using the backdrop of jazz. The Jazz Age world that Fitzgerald so aptly evokes appears in his later masterpiece, The Great Gatsby.

“With the great jazz musician, composer and educator Dave Brubeck’s centennial, and the fact that he lived right here in Wilton where we have the Brubeck Room named for the Brubeck family, and now the Brubeck Collection is coming to the library, it’s all about jazz this year–from its contribution to music, to American culture, to social issues and justice,” Tai-Lauria said about the selection.

Smith is eagerly anticipating how Wilton schools will incorporate the Wilton Reads selection into the curriculum.

“The rich conversations, discussions and programming for the entire community including all of our students made this an easy decision.  We’ll be able to engage our students on so many levels–from relatable topics such as youthfulness, innocence, dreams and aspirations to the sheer joy of listening to music. We have been working with Miller-Driscoll, Cider Mill, Middlebrook and Wilton High School administrators and teachers to develop robust programming.”

As with all Wilton Reads events, free books will be given away this spring at the library thanks to Fairfield County Bank, so that the community can become familiar with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s short stories. Future activities this spring include book talks, films, music appreciation and historical context programming and more.

According to Fran Kompar, director of digital learning, who will lead this initiative in the public schools, “The school district teachers will be selecting age-appropriate materials for the classes, with high school students reading the Wilton Reads selection.”

Details of the library’s programming will be on the library’s website in February. The book giveaway date also will be posted shortly. The school district’s programming details may be found by visiting the district’s website.

This is the library’s 14th season of Wilton Reads. The program originated with a reading of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. A complete list of all the Wilton Reads books can be found online. The media sponsor of Wilton Reads is GOOD Morning Wilton.

Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Rd. in the heart of Wilton Center. Library hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m.-5 p.m. and Sundays, 1-5 p.m.. For information and directions, visit the Wilton Library website or call 203.762.6334.