Wilton Library is getting ready for its community-wide reading program Wilton Reads 2022 with a full slate of special events and programs scheduled for April and May. The library invites all community members to join together to read, discuss, and reflect upon this year’s book selection, Wilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress by Robert (Bob) H. Russell. This year’s book choice celebrates the community and its history through insightful programming and a collaboration with the Wilton Public Schools.
To kick off the event, a limited number of hardcover copies of Wilton, Connecticut will be given away at the library free of charge courtesy of Fairfield County Bank. Books will be available on a first-come, first-served basis, one per person, in the library lobby on Monday, April 4 from 10-11 a.m. and again from 5:30-6:30 p.m., while supplies last.
“Wilton Reads always provides a wonderful learning opportunity for all Wilton residents, and this year’s selection shines a spotlight on our very own community. Wilton is a vibrant and thriving town with a long and rich history, and we are excited to explore its fascinating story and reflect upon the meaning of community. We hope our programs will open the door for many insights and conversations for all Wilton residents — from the newest arrivals to the longest established,” said Wilton Library Executive Director Caroline Mandler.
Russell was educated as an engineer before becoming a historian. Along with his 35-year IBM career, he served on many Wilton town and organization boards, including the Wilton Library Association, the Wilton Historical Society, Wilton Land Conservation Trust, the town’s Board of Finance, the Wilton Fire Commission and later as the first selectman for six years. A resident in the Wilton area for 53 years, Bob wants to preserve the town’s history for future generations, which led him to research and write Wilton, Connecticut, a comprehensive record of Wilton’s 300-year past, published by the Wilton Historical Society in 2004. He has been married to Carol Russell for 60 years and they have raised two children in Wilton.
For Wilton Reads, there will be something for everyone at Wilton Library to enrich their knowledge of Wilton and its people, history, and progress — from seminars and music programming to special exhibits and children’s storytimes.
- An author talk by Russell will take place at the library on Wednesday, May 4 at 7 p.m. This event will also be streamed live on Zoom. During his talk, the author will be recognized with the Grodin Family Fine Writers award. Books will be available for sale and Russell will be signing books after the presentation. The media sponsor of the author talk is GOOD Morning Wilton.
- As an added bonus, all community members ages 18 and up are invited to enter a special drawing to win a private chauffeur-driven VIP tour hosted by Russell, visiting several historic sites and learning about the history of Wilton. The winner will be announced at the author talk event on May 4.
- Additional program highlights include a special Patriots’ Day talk in the Brubeck Room on “Who Were Roger Sherman and William Samuel Johnson?” on Tuesday, April 19 at 7 p.m. In this presentation, historian Damien Cregeau will share how these two patriots were key contributors to the creation and ratification of the U.S. Constitution, and how they risked everything they owned for the cause of American independence.
- Two special events will take place at the library on Saturday, April 23. The Wilton History Room at Wilton Library will host an “Open House” day from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visit this wonderful, professionally-organized collection of local historical information, documents, maps, and photographs. After the Open House, please join the library for a trip down memory lane and a screening of the 2002 documentary film about Wilton’s history, Hear It From Those Who Lived Here!, starting at 4 p.m. This film was produced on the 200th anniversary of the town’s separation from Norwalk in 1802.
- Popular guest lecturer Dr. Gil Harel will join the library on Zoom for a live Q&A after an encore broadcast of his presentation on Danbury-born composer Charles Ives, “Charles Ives and the American Music Identity” on Tuesday, May 3 at 6:30 p.m. Harel, a musicologist and professor at Naugatuck Valley Community College, will discuss Ives’ role as one of the most important American composers of the modern period, and how his abstract and complex works broke new ground and cemented his place in the canon.
- For Wilton Reads, the library’s Teen Department invites Wilton teens in grades 6-12 to submit art and writing that will be published in a special TeenZine titled My Wilton. Teens are asked to answer the following: What does Wilton mean to you? What’s your favorite thing, place or person in Wilton? and more. Acceptable submissions include poetry; short essays, stories, or other prose; and artwork such as photography, paintings, and drawings. The Teen Library staff and Teen Library Council volunteers will choose submissions for publication in the ‘zine. Submissions will be accepted through April 22.
- The Children’s Library at Wilton Library presents four “Celebrating Community” storytimes on Fridays April 1, 8, 22 and 29 at 4:15 p.m., with free giveaways at each session.
- Another highlight is a special interactive concert with Wilton’s own Kate and Jake Goldblas, “Wilton Reads Celebrates Community with Drums Around the World” on Thursday, April 21 at 3:30 p.m.
- Also, a Children’s Book Discussion of Rob Buyea’s Because of Mr. Terupt, set in a Connecticut school, will take place on Wednesday, April 27 at 4 p.m.
A full list of programs is available on the library’s website. The website also highlights reading suggestions for adults, age-appropriate reading for students, educational resources, and programs offered by our Wilton Reads partners.
Wilton Library’s partners for Wilton Reads 2022 are Wilton Public Schools, Fairfield County Bank, Wilton Historical Society, Drum Hill Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, and James B. Whipple American Legion Post 86. The media sponsor of Wilton Reads is GOOD Morning Wilton.
This is the 16th season of Wilton Reads. The program originated with a reading of Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird. A list of past Wilton Reads selections can be found online.
Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in the heart of Wilton Center. For more information, visit the Wilton Library website, call the library’s reference librarians at 203.762.6350 or contact the library via email.