Newsletter                                         April 2017
Executive Director's Letter

Dear Library Patrons,

April is associated with numerous activities and events including the spring installment of the Friends of Otis Library Book Sale.  Categorically, it would not be a memorable April without the book sale! Once again, the Friends have a great selection of books, DVDs and other materials at very reasonable prices. For more information, see the Friends of Otis Library flyer below

This year's speaker at Evening With an Author, Kaitlyn Greenidge, is an award winner!  Last week Ms. Greenidge received a prestigious Whiting Award from the Paris Review! For perspective, here is a bit of information on the award and its significance: Founded in 1985, the Whiting Award recognizes an author's "early accomplishment and the promise of great work to come." The program has awarded more than $6 million to some 320 writers and poets, including Colson Whitehead, Suzan-Lori Parks, Alice McDermott, Akhil Sharma, David Foster Wallace, August Wilson, Tracy K. Smith, Tarell Alvin McCraney, Jeffrey Eugenides, and The Paris Review's own Mona Simpson and John Jeremiah Sullivan.  For more information on the 14th Annual Evening with an Author, please visit the Otis Library web site:

Robert Farwell
Executive Director


Otis Library will be closed on Friday, April 14, in observance of Good Friday.

The 14th Annual Millie and Martin Shapiro Author Series Featuring an Evening with Kaitlyn Greenidge

Otis Library's signature fundraiser, "Evening with an Author," will take place on Friday, April 28, at The Spa at Norwich Inn.  The 2017 Author is Kaitlyn Greenidge.

Greenidge's novel, We Love You, Charlie Freeman, is a timely work, full of uncomfortable yet important observations about race in our country.  Kirkus Reviews writes "...with humor, irony, and wit, Greenidge tackles this sensitive subject and crafts a light but deeply respectful take on this heavy aspect of America's treatment of black people ... A vivid and poignant coming-of-age story that is also an important exploration of family, race, and history."  Ms. Greenidge is the winner of the 2017 Whiting Award for Fiction.

Now in its 14th year, "Evening with an Author" celebrates the spirit of Norwich and its community library.  The evening begins at 6pm with cocktails and a silent auction.  A dinner will be followed by an address and book signing by Kaitlyn Greenidge.  Tickets are $125 per person and include a copy of We Love You, Charlie Freeman.  

For information on sponsorship or to purchase tickets to this event, please call the Event Chair at (860) 887-7236, or contact Kate McDonald, Development Manager at or (860) 889-2365, ext. 127.

The Friends of Otis Library Book Sale is this month!

Otis Library Celebrates The Harris Sisters of Norwich
Sarah Harris Fayeweather
Otis Library will be hosting a series of programs and walks to celebrate The Harris Sisters, students at Prudence Crandall's School for African-American Women in 1833 - 1834.
Prudence Crandall is justifiably celebrated in Connecticut as the State Heroine. Less recognized are the black students who assumed enormous risk to receive an elite education. Indeed, the stimulus to the establishment of the academy was the repeated requests of Sarah Harris to take classes at the then all-white school. Sarah started taking classes in 1832; the resulting withdrawal of the white students from the academy and subsequent establishment of an all-black girls' school in 1833 constitute a remarkable chapter in the annals of abolitionist history. Norwich natives Sarah Harris and her sister, Mary, were key in this brave, transformative effort.

This April, Otis Library will celebrate the students and their teacher in several ways. Throughout the month of April, items on loan from the Prudence Crandall Museum will be on display in the Otis Library atrium display cases. 

On April 1, former state senator Donald Williams, author of Prudence Crandall's Legacy: The Fight for Equality in the 1830s, Dred Scott, and Brown v. Board of Education, will present a lecture on the academy that includes the contributions and lives of the Harris Sisters at 1:30pm in the Community Room. Copies of his book will be available for sale and signing. 

On April 8, the Emerson Theater Collaborative  of New London will present a staged reading of a play about the school commissioned by the Collaborative at 12pm in the Community Room. 

On both days, in the morning, City Historian Dale Plummer will lead a Harris Sisters-themed walking tour entitled Exploring Black Norwich, through the neighborhoods where the Harris Family lived and worked in downtown Norwich and Jail Hill. The tours are 10am - 11am beginning at the David Ruggles Freedom Courtyard at Norwich City Hall. The tour on April 1 will give extra time for people with disabilities. Sign language interpretation will be available for programs. Advance registration is required. Please contact Julie Menders at (860) 889-2365, ext. 128. All programs are free; no registration required.

These activities will be the first of annual events celebrating the sisters and the American principle of free, integrated public education. Otis Library is proposing that the City establish a Harris Sisters Day in celebration of the essential role played by these Norwich natives at Prudence Crandall's academy for young black women. The day would be April 1, the day the academy officially opened its doors to black students in 1833.

For more information about the accessibility of the tour and other programs, please call Elanah Sherman at (860) 614-7200, or Julie Menders at (860) 889-2365, ext. 128.

Citizenship Workshop/Clinica de Ciudadania
Saturday, April 15, 10am - 2pm
Sabado, 15 de abril, 10:00 - 2:00

Complete your application for citizenship one-on-one with trained lawyers and volunteers! Registration is required.  For more information and to register call 860-629-7759 or email

Trabajar con abogados y voluntarios para completar su colicitud para la ciudadania.  Se requiere registro.  Llamanos 860-629-7758 o escribanos
Every great book deserves a great cover.
Sponsored by The Friends of Otis Library.

Otis Library, with assistance from artist Faith Satterfield, is offering the opportunity to local artists, 14 years or older, of all skill levels to re-imagine their favorite classic book cover and participate in an exhibit at the library from May through June, 2017!

Please see the attached information sheet and exhibit entry form for information.  Please note:  Submissions are due by April 22.

Programs for Adults

Technology Classes
Feeling a little lost with all the new technology?  Maybe even some of the old technology?  We are ready to assist you with one-on-one instruction tailored to your specific needs. Topics include basic computer skills, navigating the internet, e-mail, e-readers, and Microsoft Office. Assistance will be provided by appointment only on Wednesdays, 5pm - 8pm. Please call 860-889-2365, ext. 100, for additional information or to make an appointment.

Technology Classes are offered in Spanish on Mondays between 5pm - 8pm by appointment only.  Please call (860) 889-2365, ext. 100, to register.  

Drop-In Chess
Wednesdays, 5pm - 8pm in the Business Center 
Players of all ages and skill levels are invited to play chess. Use one of our chess sets or bring your own.  

Drop-In Knitting Group
The Rows City Knitters meet every Friday at 10am in the Meeting Room.  All skill levels welcome!  For more information, call (860) 889-2365, ext. 128. 

They Called Her Reckless
Wednesday, April 5, 6:30pm
Author Janet Barrett will discuss her book They Called Her Reckless: A True Story of War, Love And One Extraordinary Horse in the Meeting Room.

When the Fifth Regiment's Recoilless Rifle Platoon acquired a small Korean pony to haul ammunition to the front lines, what they got was a real-life warhorse, the courageous and indomitable Reckless, who stood with her Marines for two years during the Korean War, saving many lives, raising spirits, and winning the love and respect of all who knew her.  

From the moment she heard about Reckless, Janet Barrett knew she would write They Called Her Reckless.  Her experiences as a horsewoman gave her a particular appreciation of the tight bond that developed between Reckless and her fellow Marines, from which the story springs.  Barrett has loved and been fascinated by horses all her life, and for 25 years almost obsessively rode, owned, and cared for them.  She is the author of On The Fence: A Parent's Handbook of Horseback Riding.

This program is free and open to the public.  No registration is required.  Copies of They Called Her Reckless will be available for sale and signing.

Changing Minds Book Club
Wednesday, April 12, 5pm
Join us in the Meeting Room for great conversation and refreshments as we discuss  The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time by Mark Haddon.  Copies of the book are available to borrow at the Front Desk. No registration required.

Lunch & Learn: Reverse Mortgages
Wednesday, April 19, 12pm
Sponsored by Chelsea Groton Bank
Pam Days-Luketich, Community Outreach Officer at Chelsea Groton Bank, will provide information on reverse mortgages.  Free event; lunch provided. Registration is required.  Call 860-889-2365, ext. 128, or you may register on our online calendar.

Live From Lincoln Center:  Free Screenings
We Like It Like That!  A Boogaloo Celebration
Saturday, April 22, 12pm
Lincoln Center Local partners with Otis Library to bring film screenings of world-class performances to your neighborhood.  Free program; no registration required.

Latin boogaloo is New York City-a colorful expression of '60s Latino soul straight from the streets of El Barrio, the South Bronx, and Brooklyn. Boogaloo godfather Joe Bataan unites doo-wop charm and Latin sounds in his irresistible hits. Ray Lugo's good-time, hip-swinging originals pay homage to the style's greats, including his specials guests, legendary pianist Richie Ray, and in one of his first performances in 40 years, Pete Rodriguez. ABAKUÁ Afro-Latin Dance Company will perform some of its signature choreography. To get the party started, in-demand DJ Turmix will spin Boogaloo gems.

Otis Library is screening this film as part of the Norwich Arts Center Latino Arts Celebration.

Programs for Tweens and Teens

All programs are offered at no charge to the public.  Registration is required for some programs. Please register in person at the Front Desk; by calling (860) 889-2365, ext. 100; or you may register for our programs via our   online calendar.

Anime Club of Otis Library (grades 5 and up)
Wednesday, April 19, 6pm - 7pm
Pocky & Paint Party: Japanese Art Class!  Express your creativity through Japanese-themed art projects as you snack on Pocky.  Please register. Program will take place in the Young Adult Department.

Tween Book Club (grades 6- 8)
Monday, April 24, 6pm - 7pm
Sponsored by the Norwich Recreation Department - thank you!
Read Unsinkable (Titanic Series #1) by Gordon Korman.  There will be pizza, Titanic trivia and quizzes, and related activities! Please register.  Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk. Program will take place in the Meeting Room.

Tween Advisory Board Meeting (grades 5 - 8)
Wednesday, April 26, 6pm - 7pm
Meet other students your age and make new friends!  Work on projects to give back to the community.  This month we will be working on Summer Reading Program ideas!   Register  online or by contacting the Front Desk at (860) 889-2365, ext. 100 beginning April 3.  Meeting will take place in the Young Adult Department.

Children's Programs

All programs are offered at no charge to the public.  Registration is required for some programs.  Please register in person at the Children's Desk; by calling (860) 889-2365, ext. 114; or you may register for our programs via our online calendar.

Mother Goose & More: Rhyme Time and Playgroup (ages newborn to 23 months)  Mondays, April 3, 10, 17, & 24  10:30am (program); 11am - 12pm (playgroup)
Sponsored by the Norwich Recreation Department - thank you!
Enjoy 30 minutes of rhymes, songs, and other activities for the very young, then stay (or not) for a one-hour open play group.  Older siblings are welcome! No registration required.

Toddler Storytime (ages 2 - 3, with adult)
Tuesdays, April 4 - May 16 (no class April 11), 10:30am - 11am
Sponsored by the Norwich Recreation Department
Enjoy stories, songs, rhymes, and a simple craft with your child!  Space is limited; please  register .

Open Art Clinic (ages 5 - 12)
Wednesdays, April 5 & 12, 4:30pm - 5:30pm
Sponsored by Attorney Bart Sayet and Ms. Lori Lindfors & the Norwich Recreation Department - thank you!
Create a cool work of art at our Open Art Clinic!  Express yourself by making a take-home project with a variety of art materials.  No registration required.

Preschool Storytime (ages 3 - 6)
Thursdays, April 6 - May 18, (no class April 13), 10:30am - 11:15am
Children enjoy stories, songs, rhymes, and a craft while their grownups wait in the Children's Department.  Space is limited; please   register.

Recipe for Success (ages 8 - 11)
Saturday, April 8, 11am - 12pm
Celebrate Spring by making an adorable lamb cake! Stories and related activities complete the fun!  Space is limited; p lease register .

Kids Imagine! Book Club (grades 3 - 5)
Monday, April 10, 6pm - 7pm
Read  Fairy Tale Comics: Classic Tales Told By Extraordinary Cartoonists  edited by Chris Duffy.  There will be pizza, fairy tale Mad Libs, and related activities! Please  register.  Program will take place in the Story Room. Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk.

Sportstacking with Glenn Costello (grades K - 5)
Tuesday, April 11, 11am - 12pm
Sponsored by Attorney Bart Sayet and Ms. Lori Lindford
Have fun this April vacation week with a presentation of Sportstacking with teacher Glenn Costello.  Improve your coordination and concentration through this cool activity!  If you're up to the challenge, please register now; space is limited.  

Music With Margie (ages 2 - 5)
Thursdays, April 13 & 27, 12:30pm - 1pm
Join this joy-based music and movement class with your child.   Register for one or both classes  online or at the Children's Desk.  

Bella! Therapy Dog Extraordinaire (all ages)
Saturday, April 15, 11am - 12pm
Courtesy of Ms. Pepin - thank you!
Visit and read to our very favorite therapy pub, Bella.  No registration required.

"Brown Bear, Brown Bear" Story Celebration (ages 3 - 6)
Saturday, April 15, 11am - 11:45am
Did you know the beloved classic Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin is 50 years old?  Help us celebrate this classic at our Brown Bear celebration!  There will be stories, songs, crafts, and treats!  Please register now.

Delicious Discussions Author Series

Our next Delicious Discussions Author Luncheon will be held on Thursday, April 20, and will feature Harry Haskell, author of  Maiden Flight. Please join us at Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun from 12 - 1:30pm for this fantastic event!

The Delicious Discussions Author Series is an ongoing partnership with Bank Square Books and Michael Jordan's Steak House. The luncheon is generously sponsored by Guinan & Houle, LLP, Attorneys at Law.

Maiden Flight is the true story of the Wright sister who in 1926 left her world-famous and intensely possessive older brother to marry newspaper editor Harry Haskell, the man she loved, and suffered the unhappy consequences. An international celebrity in her own right, Katharine Wright embodied the worldly, independent, and self-fulfilled New Woman of the early twentieth century, yet she remained in many ways a Victorian. Torn between duty and love, she agonized for months before making her devastating break with Orville at age 52.

Tickets are $40 and include lunch, dessert, a paperback copy of  Maiden Flight and author signing. Reservations are required. To purchase tickets, contact Kate McDonald, Development Manager at (860) 889-2365, ext. 127, or visit:
Harry Haskell is the grandson of Henry J. (Harry) Haskell, husband of Katharine Wright. He is the author of  Boss-Busters and Sin Hounds: Kansas City and Its StarThe Early Music Revival: A History, and editor of  The Attentive Listener: Three Centuries of Music Criticism. He lives in Guilford, Connecticut.

Seed Lending Library 
Sponsored by Wheeler Library and Diana Hunt 
Otis Library has partnered with Wheeler Library to share a Seed Lending Library open to all!  How does it work? Choose one or two seed packets from the box at the Front Desk. They are free - really!  If you would like more, you may browse the collection at Wheeler Library, 101 Main Street, in North Stonington.  No residency required. To learn about Wheeler Library's Seed Lending Library, visit their website.

Change your mind, or have more than you need?  Bring them back to Otis Library or Wheeler Library and we will make them available to other gardeners. At the end of the season, if your plants have made seeds for you, please bring some to Wheeler Library, so that they may continue to sponsor the Seed Lending Library.

We would love to see photographs of your plants from the Seed Lending Library!  Please share them with us, and we may post them to the Otis Library Facebook page!
CORE:  A Shared Calendar of Regional Events
Looking for things to do this weekend? Visit the CORE calendar!  CORE is a collaborative of organizations based in eastern CT with a shared goal of providing the community one regional go-to calendar of events for all things happening in the area. Be sure to check back often as it is updated daily!
Otis Library | 261 Main Street, Norwich, CT 06360 | (860) 889-2365 |

 Monday & Wednesday 10:00 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Tuesday, Thursday & Friday 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Saturday, 10:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m.
Closed on Saturdays in July & August

Like us on Facebook  Follow us on Twitter  Find us on Pinterest  View our videos on YouTube