Newsletter                                           May 2019
Executive Director's Letter

On Monday, May 6, at 7:30pm, the Norwich City Council will adopt the preliminary budget for fiscal year 2019-2020.  On Monday, May 13, at 7:30pm, the second and concluding public hearing on the budget takes place in council chambers at City Hall.  The tentative date for the final approval of the 2019-2020 budget is June 3.

Otis Library is recommended for $995,000 in operating support.  (My April missive incorrectly stated the figure as $990,000).  That represents a $45,000 increase from 2018-2019 and is most welcome.  To ensure that this recommendation remains intact, we need you to express your support for Otis Library.  To paraphrase comments from April's newsletter, we need your advocacy and encourage your support during the May 6 council meeting and public discussion of the preliminary budget on May 13.  A brief statement delivered to the City Council is effective.  For those not comfortable speaking at a public forum, please advocate for Otis Library through phone calls or emails to the City Manager and City Council members.  In particular, the majority members of the council can benefit from communications received from Norwich residents and community library patrons.  The requisite links are provided below.  Thank you for your help.  

Robert Farwell
Executive Director


Please Note:  Otis Library will be closed on Saturday, May 25, and Monday, May 27, for the Memorial Day holiday. Let us take time to remember those who have fallen and honor their sacrifice.

The Friends of Otis Library
Thank you to everyone who came out in support of the Friends of Otis Library Book Sale in April!  It was a huge success, with  all proceeds benefiting Otis Library.  Thank you to our Friends for their hard work on behalf of our Library!


Evening with an Author
Millie and Martin Shapiro with author Pam Jenoff
The Millie and Martin Shapiro Author Series featuring an Evening with Pam Jenoff, was held on Friday, April 12, at The Spa at Norwich Inn. Evening with an Author is Otis Library's signature fundraiser. Thanks to the support of local business and residents, this event brings in much-needed funds to the library.
THANK YOU to everyone who supported and attended this year's event!!
Guests enjoyed a wonderful night of mingling and laughter over cocktails and hors d'oeuvres during the silent auction, followed by a delicious dinner and a fabulous presentation by author Pam Jenoff.
Special thanks to our sponsors, Sayet & Seder, Attorneys  at Law, CorePlus Credit Union, Chelsea Groton Bank, SouthEast Agency, LLC, and numerous others for their support. Extra special thanks to Pam Jenoff, whose warm and engaging address is still bringing in rave reviews from the attendees! Pam will be a tough act to follow, but we're already looking forward to next year.
If you would like to sponsor an event or are interested in supporting the library in other ways, please contact Cathy Special at 860-889-2365 x125 or .


Author Beverly Donofrio
Photo by Franco Vogt

Author Beverly Donofrio will be speaking at Otis Library on Saturday, May 4, at 11am in the Millie and Martin Shapiro Community Room. Beverly will discuss her books and the craft of writing, followed by Q&A and refreshments. This program is presented in partnership with Artreach of Norwich as part of Mental Health Awareness Month. 

Beverly Donofrio is an award-winning essayist and memoirist who gained notoriety with her first book, the bestselling Riding in Cars with Boys. Praised by Variety as a "working class Chekhov," Bev writes with humor about a dead serious subject: being a teen and a single mother while trying to grow up herself. It was made into a major motion picture starring Drew Barrymore, was directed by Penny Marshall, and became a cult classic.  Her second memoir, Looking for Mary, is Bev's journey, a pilgrimage of sorts, to faith through the Virgin Mary. Her third memoir, Astonished, begins when something powerful and awful interrupts Bev's life, and the real question becomes not "why did this awful thing happen?,"  but "what am I going to do now that it has?"  Astonished is a heartening story of healing and grace.

Copies of her books will be available for sale and signing. Registration is required; please call 860-889-2365, ext. 128, or register on the online calendar.

Delicious Discussions
Wednesday, May 15, 12 - 1:30pm, 
Michael Jordan's Steak House
This series is generously sponsored by Guinan & Houle, LLP Attorneys at Law.

Otis Library and Bank Square Books present a Delicious Discussions luncheon with author Wendy Walker in celebration of her new book  The Night Before. Tickets for this event are $45 and include an author talk and signing, a copy of the book and a buffet lunch at Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun.

This event requires pre-registration.  To register, call Julie at 860-889-2365 x128, or   register online.  Delicious Discussions Author Series is a partnership between Otis Library, Bank Square Books and Michael Jordan's Steak House at Mohegan Sun.

On Display in May

In the Community Room:  With a theme of Home, Family of Choice and B elonging, Artreach members have worked with Norwich mural artist Faith Satterfield on a print making project that has yielded some beautiful art!  You can see their artwork beginning May 3 in celebration of Mental Health Month.

In the AtriumThe City of Norwich is celebrating Haiti and Cape Verde with a festival on May 18 for Haitian Flag Day and a Cape Verdean Festival on May 26. Both events take place on Franklin Street.

Otis Library joins the celebration with an exhibit in our atrium of photos of local veterans of Cape Verdean origin (from the collection of Mr. Alfred Gonsalves of the Cape Verdean community) and items dedicated to the history and art of Haiti and Cape Verde. A selection of books in English, Haitian Creole and Portuguese will accompany the display.

Gardening Programs for Beginners
In partnership with the Eastern Connecticut Community Gardens Association (ECCGA), Otis Library will host a series of classes on gardening for beginners.   Experienced gardeners from the ECCGA will teach basic gardening skills for everyone, from homeowners to apartment dwellers. This series will lead beginner gardeners through the steps and practices involved in maintaining a flourishing home garden.  Dates are as follows:  Monday, April 8; Monday, June 3; Monday, August 5; and Monday, September 9. All programs will begin at 6pm in the Story Room and are free and open to the public.  No registration is required.   Appropriate for teens and adults.  

June 3rd Session: Garden Management   
Now that your garden is prepped and planted, what steps need to be taken to ensure that it thrives?  Join us on June 3 at 6pm in the Story Room.

For more information on the ECCGA, visit
Programs for Adults

Technology Classes at Otis Library
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.

Technology Classes at Rose City Senior Center
Tuesdays, 10am - 12pm
Otis Library provides computer/technology instruction to seniors at the Rose City Senior Center.  Please call 860-889-2365, ext. 100, for additional information.

Please Note:  The Drop-In Chess Club is on hiatus.  Watch this space for updates.

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!

Ask The Expert!
Wednesday, May 8, 10:30am - 12:30pm, Business Center
Are you looking to start your own business but don't know where to begin?  Do you need help writing a business plan?  What if you own a business but need advice on marketing?  Jill Fritzsche, Community Manager at Norwich Community Development Corporation, will be in the Business Center at Otis Library the second Wednesday of every month from 10:30am - 12:30pm to answer your questions. Drop in; no appointment necessary.  This is a free program.  For more information, call Julie at 860-889-2365, ext. 128.

Changing Minds Book Club
Wednesday, May 8, 5pm,  Meeting Room
The group will be discussing Educated: A Memoir by Tara Westover. Refreshments will be served.  No registration required. A limited number of copies of the book are available to borrow at the Front Desk.


Second Step Players at Otis Library!
Wednesday, May 8, 6:30pm, Community Room
The Second Step Players present a relevant and irreverent look at mental illness, written and performed by actors who have personal experience with the mental health system. This original sketch comedy will tickle your funny bone and touch your heart, and will promote dialogue about what it's like to live in America when you're diagnosed with a mental illness.

Free event; registration is required. To register, call Julie at 860-889-2365, ext. 128, or register on the online calendar at

Classics Book Club
Saturday, May 11, 10 - 11:30am
We will read a variety of classic works, from the ancient to modern, and meet four times a year in various locations around the City.  May's discussion is on  Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. Meet us at the new  Cafe Otis , 80 Broadway , Norwich. To register, call Julie at 860-889-2365, ext. 128.

Author Martin Podskoch
Saturday, May 18, 1pm, Community Room
Author Martin Podskoch will be speaking at Otis Library on Saturday, May 18, at 1pm in the Millie and Martin Shapiro Community Room.  He will talk about his new book Connecticut 169 Club: Your Passport and Guide to Exploring Connecticut

Mr. Podskoch, a retired teacher who lives in East Hampton, is the author of six books on the history of the Adirondacks, fire towers, and Civilian Conservation Corps camps.  In Connecticut 169 Club, the author has compiled interesting information on the 169 towns, cities and villages in the State of Connecticut in the hopes of encouraging people to visit them all. He recruited writers, historians, and officials from each town to write a short description about the town's history, interesting places to visit, and good places to eat.

Free program; no registration required. Copies of the book will be available for sale and signing.

Otis Library Genealogy Club
Tuesday, May 21, 1-2:30pm,  Meeting Room
The club meets on the 3rd Tuesday of each month to learn and to brain storm  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. 

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.

Tween Book Club (grades 6-8)
Monday, May 20, 6 - 7pm
Loot: How to Steal a Fortune by Jude Watson will be the featured book this month.  Join in activities related to the book!  Pizza will be served.  Registration required.  Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk.  Program will take place in the Story Room.

Teen Volunteer Orientation (ages 12 and up)
Wednesday, May 29, 6 - 7pm
Learn about our Summer Reading Program and opportunities to help younger students learn and earn prizes for their work!  Refreshments will be
 served.  Program will take place in the Story Room.     

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 Child ren's Desk; by calling (860) 889-2365, ext. 114; or you may register for our programs via our online calendar .

Monthly Mother Goose & More:  Rhyme Time and Playgroup (ages
newborn-23 months)
Saturday, May 4, 10:30 - 11am (Rhyme Time), 11 - 11:30am (Playgroup)
Enjoy 30 minutes of traditional rhymes, songs, fingerplays and other activities for the very young; then stay (or not) for a half-hour open playgroup.  This is a great opportunity for working parents to enjoy this weekend program!  Older siblings are welcome to attend.  Drop-in.

Drop-In Spider Craft (all ages)
Saturday, May 4, 11am - 2pm
Help your child make a colorful crazy-legged spider!  No registration required.  Program will take place in the Children's Department.

Bella!  Therapy Dog Extraordinaire (all ages)
Saturday, May 4, 12 - 1pm
Courtesy of Ms. Pepin - thank you!
Visit and read to our very favorite therapy pug, Bella.  No registration required.  

Mother Goose & More: Rhyme Time and Playgroup (ages newborn-23 months)
Mondays, May 6, 13, & 20; 10:30 - 11am (Rhyme Time), 11am - 12pm (Playgroup)
Enjoy 30 minutes of traditional rhymes, songs, fingerplays, and other activities for the very young; then stay (or not) for a one-hour open playgroup.  Older siblings are welcome to attend!  Drop-in.

Creative Movement (ages 3-5)
Friday, May 10, 10:30 - 11:15am
Join us for this joyful movement class with instructor Christine Finch of Eastern Connecticut Ballet.  This month's theme is something we all look forward to: "Vacation!"  Hear a story around this theme and do 35 minutes of movement.  For girls & boys ages 3-5!  Please register.

Crazy Science (grades K-5)  THIS PROGRAM IS FULL
Saturday, May 11, 11 - 11:45am
The Children's Museum of SECT comes to the library for science fun!  Learn about reactions and polymers, do experiments to investigate principles such as state of matter, substance, density, or surface tension.  Space is limited; please register.  Program will take place in the Story Room.

Kids Imagine! Book Club (grades 3-5 )
Monday, May 13, 6 - 7pm
Come discuss Ghosthunters and the Gruesome Invincible Lightning Ghost! by Cornelia Funke.  Join in a mega squishy slime challenge!  Pizza will be served.  Please register.  Pick up a copy of the book at the Front Desk.  Program will take place in the Story Room.

Coming in June!
The Summer Learning Program, "A Universe of Stories," kicks off in June. Stay tuned for more details.

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 Sundays
Closed on Saturdays in July & August

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