Oliver Wolcott Library - Programs

Oliver Wolcott Library
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June 20 through August 15 

OWL Reads!
Second Annual Adult Summer Reading Program

Join in the fun this summer as we challenge you to OWL Reads! Challenge yourself to read six to nine books this summer!

How to participate? Beginning June 20th come to OWL to sign up and pick up your challenge card. For every book you read, you will be entered to win our book-lover’s prize basket.

Select which option: We listened to your feedback from last year and are now offering two options to participate!

Option 1: Category-Free Challenge Card: For this option, we challenge you to read six to nine books this summer. You select whatever books you want! The challenge is simply READ!

Option 2: Genre Challenge Card: For this option, we have selected nine reading categories. You need to read a book that fits within our pre-selected challenge categories: book set in a bookshop or library, novel based on a historical figure/event, memoir/biography, book about a crime/mystery, book about nature, book with an ugly cover, and three “free” reader’s choice categories.

Bonus: When you attend one of our events, you may count that event as meeting that genre challenge category. See the following pages in our newsletter for our events and what genre category it would fulfill.

PLUS! All summer, we will have fun displays, staff book talks, events and more! Browse on your own or let us help you choose books to meet your personal summer reading challenge!

CELEBRATE: If you complete six or more challenge categories, you will be invited to an Exclusive After-Hours Celebration Gathering at OWL on Monday, August 20 at 7 PM featuring book sharing, trivia, ice cream and more!



Mondays, June 25th through July 30th 
12:30 - 2:00 p.m.

Monday Scholars:
The Science of Well-Being
Click Here to Register 



Monday Scholars is a weekly series that combines the best of online learning with classroom discussion. Each week a new lecture topic is watched and discussed. All you need to do is come ready to engage your mind and participate in the discussion. Join Patricia Moore as she facilitates this course.

About the Course:
The video lectures of “The Science of Well-Being” will be taught by Professor Laurie Santos. This year, when this course was offered for the first time at Yale nearly a quarter of Yale’s undergrads enrolled - some 1,200 students, a record for Yale University.

 In it, she overviews what psychological science says about happiness. The first half of the course reveals misconceptions we have about happiness and the annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do. The second half of the course focuses on activities that have been proven to increase happiness along with strategies to build better habits. During this course, you’ll have a chance to watch a set of short lectures exploring what the science of psychology says about living a better life. But you won’t just be learning a bunch of scientific insights - we want you to put the scientific insights into practice in your own life. We want you to use what the science says to rewire your own habits and positive practices.

About the Professor:

Laurie Santos is a tenured, Associate Professor of Psychology at Yale University. She earned her Ph.D. from Harvard University. Her research explores an age-old question: what makes the human mind unique? She has published extensively on the topic.


Registration is Required



Sunday, July 8 & August 12

1:00 - 2:30 p.m.

History through the Lens 
A Discussion of Two Novels with Mark Scarbrough
Click here to Register 




Join us as Mark leads us through a discussion of two novels that depict real historical events, but through the lens of fiction.

July 8: Hope: A Tragedy by Shalom Auslander is a hilarious and haunting examination of the burdens and abuse of history, propelled with unstoppable rhythm and filled with existential musings and mordant wit.

The New York Times wrote, “Other fiction writers have gotten this fresh with Anne Frank. But they don’t get much funnier…He brings to mind Woody Allen, Joseph Heller and a libido-free version of Philip Roth…It’s a tall order for Mr. Auslander to raise an essentially comic novel to this level of moral contemplation. Yet Hope: A Tragedy succeeds shockingly well.” 

August 12: Winner of the Man Booker Prize and a New York Times Notable Book, Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is set in February 1862. President Lincoln’s beloved eleven-year-old son, Willie, lies upstairs in the White House, gravely ill, and in a matter of days, dies. From that seed of historical truth, George Saunders spins an unforgettable story of familial love and loss that breaks free of its realistic, historical framework into a supernatural realm both hilarious and terrifying.

Mark Scarbrough started his professional life as an academic whose focus was Chaucer and Harriet Beecher Stowe. After several years teaching, he resigned and moved to New York to write. In New York, he met and married Bruce Weinstein. Together, they have written more than two dozen cookbooks, and have appeared on The Today Show, CBS This Morning and The View. His website is bruceandmark.com.

Registration is Required

OWL Reads! Challenge: Novel Based on a Historical Figure or Event


Thursday, July 12
7:o0 - 8:o0 p.m.

Speed Date with a Book
and OWL Reads! Discussion
Click Here to Register 


 What is the best book you have read so far this summer? We are halfway through OWL Reads! - our second annual adult summer reading program and we want to hear how it’s going.

Get Ready to Speed Date with a Book!

Speed Date with a Book is a fun way for us to share with each other our favorite reads and to hear about new ones. Bring in the book that was the most fun, affecting, or memorable read of your summer (so far). We will pair participants to chat about the books they chose for one-minute each and then…SWITCH! You will book-talk with the next person down the line, until every reader has shared their book with every participant. You will leave the program inspired and with your mind overflowing with new books to read.

Just in case…Bring your second favorite book along in case there is additional time to share at the end.

Adult Services Librarian Patricia Moore will facilitate the event, and will also be participating. She will share her favorite books, share book lists ideas, and bring multiple copies of popular titles.

We want you to be successful in the summer reading challenge and we will do all we can to make sure you have fun and reach your summer reading goal!

Light refreshments will be served.
Registration is Required

OWL Reads! Challenge: Reader’s Choice


Thursday, July 19
7:o0 - 8:o0 p.m.

Murder in the Stacks:
An Interactive Puzzle Adventure
Click Here to Register 


This is not your usual “murder mystery” event - there will be no character acting or using silly accents. You are an investigator looking for the who, the where, and the how of a murder.

Librarians Patricia Moore and Jordan McCorison have created a unique treat for you - questions that will test your literary skill and knowledge! Each answer leads you to the next clue and gives you part of the puzzle to help solve the crime. Every team that correctly answers all of the questions and completes the adventure will receive a mystery prize. 

The backstory: Marian Librarian has invited seven guests to celebrate the launching of her memoir, Days of Our Libraries. However, many of the guests may not be happy to find that they are featured in her book. As they gather in the library, the night turns deadly: Marian is found dead.

Your investigative team has been called in to identify the culprit, the weapon, and where the actual crime took place. To solve the case and put the right person behind bars, you and your team need to use your research skills to find the answers to our puzzles and literary questions. To find the answers, you need to use your knowledge of literature and authors as well as any printed material in the library. We will also provide some hints on where to find an answer, if needed. But this is “old school”- no computers or smart phones may be used to find the answer.

Sign up in teams of four, or a team will be assigned to you. Dust off those research skills and get ready for an exciting evening that blends trivia and scavenger hunt!

Registration is Required

OWL Reads! Challenge: Book About Crime/ Mystery 


Tuesday, July 31
7:o0 - 8:o0 p.m.

The Life of Sorrow:
The Life & Times of Carter Stanley
Performed by Gary Reid
Click Here to Register 



For the uninitiated, Carter Stanley was an expressive singer and songwriter. As the front man for the legendary Stanley Brothers duo, he spent the best 20 years of his life pounding the pavement to take his gift to anyone who would listen.  By 1966, he was tired. But...he had a story to tell! Using a mix of storytelling and music, actor Gary Reid will bring to life the saga of a Mountain Music Treasure.

Raised in the coalfields of Appalachia during the Great Depression, the bright lights of a country stage raised the hairs on the back of 10-year-old Carter Stanley. He had found his calling! A decade later, his musical expression of choice was a new phenomenon known to many as the high lonesome sound, what would come to be known the world over as bluegrass. He played the music, he wrote the songs, and ultimately he self-destructed. A Life of Sorrow is the story of one man’s musical journey, from the Clinch Mountains of Virginia, around the world, and back home again.

A Life of Sorrow is the creation of Roanoke, Virginia actor Gary Reid. A bluegrass enthusiast and historian for over 40 years, he is regarded as the foremost authority on the music of the Stanley Brothers. In 2009, Reid conceived the idea of putting together a one-man show about Carter Stanley. To that end, he took two semesters of acting at Virginia Western Community College and has since appeared in more than 60 productions and events at regional community theatres as an actor, producer, and stage manager and has appeared in several short films and commercials.

Registration is Required

OWL Reads! Challenge: Memoir/Biography



Wednesday, August 8
7:o0 - 8:o0 p.m.

Cookbook Club
Ugly Covers, Great Recipes
Click Here to Register 




Cookbooks have changed dramatically in the past century. A genre that started out as all text went on to became very reliant on photography. Recently published cookbooks overflow with full-color photographs: with dazzling covers and sleek, foodie photography accompanying each recipe. But while modern, photographed cookbooks are a feast for the eye, older cookbooks rarely had any photographs and when they did, the photographs tend to appear quite dated in comparison to what we’ve grown accustomed to seeing.

As the saying goes, you can’t judge a book by its cover and underneath those plain and sometimes “ugly” cookbook covers are outstanding recipes!

We want you to find a cookbook with a recipe you love but an “ugly” cover. If you don’t have any examples of this in your personal cookbook collection, come into OWL and check out our display of Ugly Covers, Great Recipes. Books will be available for checkout one month before the program.

Join Librarians Jordan McCorison and Patricia Moore for an entertaining potluck dinner of delicious food and delightful conversation. We encourage you to bring a dish to share, but if you run out of time to cook, never fear, just bring yourself - there is always more than enough food to go around. We cannot wait to share a fun, food-filled evening with you. After all, we are just amateur cooks who love books.

Registration is Required

OWL Reads! Challenge: Book with an Ugly Cover




















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