Executive Director's Letter
National Library Week is April 8-14. First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support.
In keeping with that celebratory theme, Otis Library features an entire month of noteworthy events! It would not be a memorable April without the spring installment of the Friends of Otis Library Book Sale. Once again, the Friends have a great selection of books, DVDs and other materials available at very reasonable prices. The income from the book sale and other Friends events provides added support for library programs and services beyond the scope of the library's general operating budget.
April is also Harris Sisters Month. Otis Library will be hosting a series of programs to celebrate the Harris sisters, Norwich natives and students at Prudence Crandall's school for young African-American women from 1833 - 1834. In addition to an extensive calendar of program, throughout the month, items on loan from the Prudence Crandall Museum will be on display in the Otis Library atrium display cases and text on the history of the school will be displayed in the Community Room.
Our signature fundraising event, Evening with an Author returns on Friday, April 27, 2018 at The Spa at Norwich Inn. Fifty years ago, Robert F. Kennedy sought the Democratic Party nomination for president. With the nomination in reach, he was assassinated shortly after winning the California Primary. This year's speaker, Jack Bohrer, author of The Revolution of Robert Kennedy focuses on the events and influences that caused Kennedy to evolve from the hard-edged hatchet man in John F. Kennedy's 1960 presidential campaign to a more empathetic and progressive reformer as the decade ended.
None of these stellar events would occur without a coterie of dedicated people. On the cusp of National Library Week, I must note in particular the contributions of the Otis Library staff. The success enjoyed by the library, the accolades received and the contributions made to Norwich's quality of life are a testament to their hard work and creativity.
The Millie and Martin Shapiro Author Series Featuring a
n Evening with John R. Bohrer
Friday, April 27, 6pm
The Spa at Norwich Inn
John R. Bohrer is a reporter, historian, and television news producer. He has prepared anchors for high-profile interviews and tackled investigations, and his research has been cited by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and many more.
g has appeared in New York magazine, The New Republic, Politico, and USA Today,
he Revolution of Robert Kennedy
is his first book.
Join us for our 15th Annual Evening with an Author, Otis Library's signature fundraiser! Evening with an Author is known for its unique silent auction, delicious dinner, and stimulating keynote presentation, including a question and answer period and book signing. Tickets are $125 per person, and sponsorships range from $250 to $5,000. Books are included with tickets and sponsorship.
For information on tickets or sponsorship, please contact Cathy Special at (860) 889-2365, ext. 125 or email@example.com by April 13.
Friends of Otis Library Book Sale
Save the Dates!
Early Bird Preview, $10, Friday, April 20, 9am - 10am.
Free General Admission:
Friday, April 20, 10am - 3pm
Saturday, April 21, 10am - 3pm
Sunday, April 22, 12pm - 3pm
The Friends are accepting donations of gently used books for their upcoming book sale. Please drop off your books, two bags at a time, to the Front Desk. For larger donations, please call ahead to (860) 889-2365. Please, no encyclopedias, textbooks, magazines, cassette tapes, or VHS tapes. Thank you for your support!
Interested in becoming a Friend? Learn more about the Friends of Otis Library here.
Harris Sisters Month
||Sarah Harris Fayerweather
Sponsored by The Elsie Brown Fund
Otis Library will be hosting a series of programs in April, 2018 to celebrate the Harris sisters, who were Norwich natives and students at Prudence Crandall's school for young African-American women from 1833 - 1834. The umbrella theme for the month is "access to education."
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. Sarah Harris and her sister, Mary, were key in this brave, transformative effort.
Throughout the month of April, items on loan from the
Prudence Crandall Museum
will be on display in the Otis Library atrium. Text on the history of the school will be displayed in the Community Room.
Friday, April 6, the library will host the opening of the student art exhibit "My Teacher Taught Me..." Children from pre-school through fifth grade will exhibit art - paintings, drawings, collage, and assemblage - that illustrates an important lesson or skill learned from a teacher. The event will take place from
6pm - 8pm in the Millie and Martin Shapiro Community Room. Guest speaker will be Norwich resident Lottie Scott, who will present compelling monologues based on her childhood in South Carolina. The exhibit will be on display throughout the month of April.
||Professor Jennifer Rycenga
Saturday, April 14, at 1pm in the Community Room, Professor Jennifer Rycenga will give a talk on the history of the Prudence Crandall school, with an emphasis on the black students, including the Harris Sisters. Professor Rycenga is Professor of Comparative Religious Studies at San José State University. She is currently finishing a comprehensive cultural biography of Prudence Crandall (1803-1890).
Faye Ringel, retired Professor of Humanities at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, will talk about on Norwich native Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791-1865) on
Saturday, April 21, at 1pm
Sigourney, a well-known writer of her time, had a deep commitment to the education of girls, including African American, Native American, and Deaf children. Lydia Sigourney never abandoned her passion for Deaf education, remaining a supporter of the nation's first school for Deaf children in Hartford, CT, until her death. This program will take place in the Story Room.
Otis Library will host students from the Norwich Free Academy on
Saturday, April 28, at 1pm in the Community Room. The students will present a variety of spoken word performances - reminiscence, monologue, poetry - on the intertwining themes of education and liberation.
All programs are free and open to the public. No registration is required. Sign language interpretation will be available if requested one week prior to each event. Descriptive tours of the exhibit will also be available upon request. Please contact Elanah Sherman at 860-614-7200 or by e-mail at
for interpretation or descriptive tours.
TVCCA VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) will provide free tax return preparation at Otis Library on Wednesdays, 11am - 2pm, through April 11. Limitations apply and appointments are required. Please call TVCCA at (860) 425-6597 for more details and to schedule your appointment.
Friday, April 13, 11am, Community Room
Otis Library, as part of the Peer Library Citizenship Collaborative (PLCC), is pleased to serve as the host of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) Naturalization Ceremony on Friday, April 13, from 11am - 12pm. The ceremony will include the presentation of the colors by the Norwich Police Department, the National Anthem sung by Rick Spencer, and the administering of the Oath of Allegiance by The Honorable John M. Walker, Jr. A small reception, hosted by the library, will take place immediately following the ceremony. All are welcome.
The Peer Library Citizenship Collaborative (PLCC) was formed in 2016 as part of a U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services grant to Hartford Public Library. The partnership is comprised of librarians representing public libraries throughout Connecticut meeting to share information, resources and best practices in order to increase their ability to better serve immigrants in their local communities.
The week of April 8-14 Otis Library will be one of six PLCC members working with USCIS to host Naturalization Ceremonies during National Library Week. Other sites are: Danbury Public Library, Ferguson Library (Stamford), Hartford Public Library, New Britain Public Library, and Rockville Public Library (Vernon). Since 1958, libraries across the country have observed one week each April to recognize the role of libraries in communities and to encourage new users. These ceremonies will provide a wonderful opportunity to welcome new citizens while celebrating the educational and cultural opportunities available to all at the library.
For more information, please contact Bassem Gayed, Multicultural Services Coordinator, at (860) 889-2365, ext. 109. Otis Library is located at 261 Main Street in Norwich and is accessible to people with disabilities.
Passport to Connecticut Libraries
Contest Dates: April 2 - 30, 2018
Your library card opens the world to you through books, audio books, music CDs and DVDs. Now let your library card open the doors of Connecticut libraries by participating in the Passport to Connecticut Libraries Program!
Over 100 Connecticut libraries are proud to participate in the Connecticut Library Association's Passport to Connecticut Libraries Program. To celebrate National Library Week during April, the Passport to Connecticut Libraries Program invites you to visit all of the participating Connecticut public libraries. Each library has its own architecture, vibe and collection to explore and browse! The program is open to adults and children, and the hope is that it encourages residents to explore the amazing diversity of our public libraries.
Visit your local participating library to pick up your Passport. They will stamp it and give you a token gift to get you started. Then, take your Passport along as you visit other participating libraries. At each visit, you must show your library card, and then the library will stamp your passport and give you another small gift.
If you visit at least five participating libraries and return your passport to a participating library by May 7, you will be entered into one statewide drawing for a chance to win a $150 Visa gift card for adults (18 and up) and a $100 Visa gift card for children (under 18). This is a statewide contest where four winners will be selected: one adult and one child from a random drawing from all who visited at least five libraries, and one adult and one child from a random drawing from all who visited the most libraries.
For more details, stop at the Front Desk. A full list of participating libraries is
Delicious Discussion Author Series
This series is generously sponsored by Guinan & Houle, LLP Attorneys at Law.
Delicious Discussions Author Series is a partnership between Otis Library, Bank Square Books and Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun.
Thursday, May 3, 12pm - 1:30pm
Join us for a Delicious Discussions author luncheon with Jill Santopolo, author of the international bestselling novel
The Light We Lost
. Tickets for this event are $40 and include an author talk and signing, a copy of
The Light We Lost
and a buffet lunch at Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun. Preregistration is required. Please call Julie at (860) 889-2365, ext. 128, or
Tuesday, June 5, 12pm - 1:30pm
Join us for a Delicious Discussions luncheon with bestselling author Nancy Thayer in celebration of her new book
A Nantucket Wedding.
Tickets for this event are $45 and include an author talk and signing, a copy of
A Nantucket Wedding
and a buffet lunch at Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun. Preregistration is required. Please call Julie at (860) 889-2365 ext. 128, or
Programs for Adults
Wednesdays, 5pm - 8pm & Fridays, 10am - 1pm
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. Please call 860-889-2365, ext. 100, for additional information or to make an appointment.
Technology Classes are offered in Spanish by appointment only. Please call Bassem at (860) 889-2365, ext. 109 or 110 to register.
Para reservar una cita, apersonese a la biblioteca o llame a Bassem
860-889-2365, ext. 109 o 110.
Otis Library is now providing computer/technology instruction to seniors at the Rose City Senior Center on Tuesdays from 10am - 12pm.
Please call 860-889-2365, ext. 100, for additional information.
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
Fridays, 10am - 11:15am, Meeting Room
The Rows City Knitters meet every Friday. All skill levels welcome! For more information, call (860) 889-2365, ext. 128.
Members of the Rows City Knitters would like to thank Driftwood Yarns of Groton for their continued support!
To Post Or Not To Post: Managing The Pitfalls of Social Media Workshop For Parents
Saturday, April 7, 12:30 - 2:30pm, Community Room
Sponsored by Connecticut College's International Curriculum Development (ICD) Grant & Holleran Center Sheridan Grant, Otis Library, and Writer's Block Ink.
Parents, social media can make or break your child's future. Learn how to be savvy about the internet in this proactive workshop offered by students from Connecticut College and members of Writers Block Ink. For parents. A light lunch will be available for attendees from 12-12:30pm in the Story Room before the workshop. Please register.
Wednesday, April 11, 5pm
The group will be discussing Memoirs of an Imaginary Friend by Matthew Dicks. Join us in the Meeting Room for conversation and refreshments! No registration required. Copies of the book are available to borrow at the Front Desk.
Otis Library Genealogy Club
Tuesday, April 17, 1 - 2:30pm
The club meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month to learn and to brainstorm about family history projects. Please bring with you any basic information you have about the family members for whom you are looking. This club will be useful for beginners as well as experienced researchers. For more information, please call Kathleen Wieland, Genealogy Librarian, at (860) 889-2365, ext. 108.
NEW DATE: Author Susanne Davis
Wednesday, May 23, 6:30pm
Author Susanne Davis will read from her collection of short stories entitled The Appointed Hour, which is set in rural Connecticut, and will discuss how local history inspired her writing. Ms. Davis is a graduate of the Iowa Writer's Workshop, and teaches creative writing at Trinity College and the University of Connecticut. She is a past winner of the Hemingway First Novel Competition, a finalist for the Reynolds Price Short Fiction Award, and the runner-up in the University of Kentucky Press New Poetry and Prose Series competition.
Copies of The Appointed Hour will be available for sale and signing. Free program; no registration required.
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
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.
To Post Or Not To Post: Managing the Pitfalls of Social Media Workshop for Teens (grades 9 and up)
Saturday, March 31, 12:30pm - 2:30pm, Community Room
Sponsored by Connecticut College's International Curriculum Development (ICD) Grant & Holleran Center Sheridan Grant, Otis Library, and Writer's Block Ink
Teens, social media can make or break your future. Learn how to be savvy on the internet in this proactive workshop offered by students from Connecticut College and members of Writers Block Ink. A light lunch will be available from 12pm - 12:30pm in the Story Room before the workshop.
Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl
Saturday, April 7, 1pm - 2pm, Meeting Room
Sponsored by the AHEPA Norwich Foundation.
Youth Services Librarian Diane Deedy will facilitate a discussion of the definitive edition of this classic. Participants will receive a copy of the book and can earn community service credit for attendance. Please pick up a copy of the book in the Children's Department. Refreshments will be served.
Tween Book club (grades 6-8)
Monday, April 30, 6pm - 7pm, Meeting Room
Sponsored by the Norwich Recreation Department
by Craig Thompson will be discussed. This space and robots-themed program will feature a book discussion, snacks, and the opportunity to play with Cubelets Robot Blocks! Please
or call 860-889-2365, ext. 110. Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk.
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
Mother Goose & More (ages zero to 23 months)
Mondays, April 2, 9, 16, & 30, 10:30am (program); 11am - 12pm (playgroup), Story Room
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.
Bella! Therapy Dog Extraordinaire (all ages)
Saturday, April 14, 12pm - 1pm, Children's Department
Courtesy of Ms. Pepin - thank you!
Visit and read to our very favorite therapy pug, Bella. No registration required.
Explore the Shore with Mystic Aquarium (grades K-2)
Tuesday, April 17, 11am - 11:45am, Story Room
Instructors from Mystic Aquarium will teach us about native plants and animals that live along the rocky shore of Connecticut. Discover how and why animals adapt to living in this difficult world. Join us for this special school vacation week program! Space is limited;
Ocean Conservation with Mystic Aquarium (grades 3- 5)
Tuesday, April 17, 12pm - 12:45pm, Story Time Room
Instructors from Mystic Aquarium present this call for students on the importance of protecting our oceans. What can you do to make a difference for the future of our oceans? Find out in this exciting class. Join us for this special school vacation week program. Space is limited;
Our Environmental Footprint with Kellogg Environmental Center (grades
Thursday, April 19, 1pm - 2pm, Story Room
How do people impact the environment? Instructors from the Kellogg Environmental Center help students calculate their environmental footprint through their use of land and water. Learn how our footprint compares with those of other societies throughout the world. Join us for this special school vacation week program. Space is limited;
Earth Day Crafts (all ages)
Saturday, April 21, 11am - 1pm, Children's Department
Celebrate all the wonderful things about our planet Earth during this drop-in craft! Stop by and take advantage of this free craft day. No registration required.
Kids Imagine Book Club (grades 3-5)
Monday, April 23, 6pm - 7pm, Story Room
Star Wars Jedi Academy
by Jeffrey Brown. This space and robots-themed program will feature a book discussion, snacks, and the opportunity to play with Cubelets Robot Blocks!
. Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk.
Build It! Clinic (grades K-8)
Saturday, April 28, 10:30am - 12pm, Children's Department
Build structures using a variety of materials! No registration required.
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!
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