Programs are listed in chronological order, with our most recently recorded program appearing first.

A Colorado River Trip through the Grand Canyon

Our virtual travel series continues with an exciting rafting trip through the majestic Grand Canyon. There are many ways to experience the Grand Canyon, but to appreciate this natural wonder’s scale, power, and diversity, nothing matches a trip rafting on the Colorado River in the shadow of the canyon’s towering walls. In this program Barbara Spiegel and Tom Hodgkin recount their rafting experience through a series of stunning photographs taken by Buzz Kuhns.

A Reading of Ukrainian Poetry

The armed conflict in the east of Ukraine that began in 2014 brought about an emergence of a distinctive trend in contemporary Ukrainian poetry: the poetry of war. Young and old, female and male, somber and ironic, tragic and playful, filled with extraordinary terror and ordinary human delights, the voices of Ukrainian poets recreate the human sounds of war in its tragic complexity. One way to honor the extraordinary spirit of the Ukrainians in the face of the current Russian invasion is by honoring its rich literary culture. Ilya Kaminsky, a Ukrainian American poet born in Odessa, recently wrote an op-ed in which he described asking friends there how he could help. One, a seasoned journalist, answered “Putins come and go. If you want to help, send us some poems and essays. We are putting together a literary magazine.” Two anthologies, Words for War and What We Live For, What We Die For, make available to us some of the best poets and strongest writing to come out this ongoing conflict. Please join the Norfolk Library for a virtual reading of select Ukrainian poems, read by poet Susannah Wood, Davyne Verstandig, and Kelly Kandra Hughes.

A Virtual Visit to the Galapagos Islands

The Norfolk Library welcomes environmental science major Alex Green to take us on a virtual visit to the Galápagos Islands. Alex and 14 others traveled to Quito, Ecuador, and the Galápagos Islands in late December 2021 after the COVID-19 pandemic postponed the trip for two years. This travelogue presentation will focus on the incredible biodiversity and natural beauty of the islands. Alex will share her favorite photos from the trip in chronological order from Quito, San Cristobal Island, Santa Cruz Island, Isabela Island, then back to Santa Cruz and Quito. Pack your bags and get ready to experience the wonders of the Galápagos Islands.

Alex Green is in her last semester as an environmental science major at Berkshire Community College and is an aspiring naturalist and conservation biologist. Her childhood surrounded by nature in Sandisfield, MA, instilled her with an inherent appreciation of all organisms. She grew up saving slugs and newts from the road and climbing to the very tops of hemlock trees. Up until last year, she would have said she wanted to be an ornithologist. Though her love of birds continues, she now wishes to study the smaller and less appreciated organisms of soil and leaf litter communities who are less likely to get the conservation efforts they require.

Kirk Sinclair performs American Discovery

Kirk Sinclair performs his symphonic journal American Discovery via Zoom, The symphony documents the 5,000 mile, year long walk he and his wife Cindy took across the country along the American Discovery Trail in 2011-12. When Cindy began to experience early cognitive decline, she and Kirk resolved to reboot her life with their passion for long distance hiking. The journey lived up to the name of the trail they followed, as they discovered America in ways few people experience. The symphonic journal combines music with photos, sound effects and interviews that were recorded during the couple’s journey. Five movements of Beauty, Culture, Kindness, Joy and Journey portray different themes of discovery. Sinclair has gained distinction for his writing, photography and particularly his long-distance hiking, all of which contributed to the composition of American Discovery as a symphonic journal and a tribute to his wife and their pursuit of living life fully together despite a tragic affliction.

Eve Kahn: The Forgotten Impressionist – Mary Rogers Williams, 1857-1907

Revolutionary artist Mary Rogers Williams (1857—1907), a baker’s daughter from Hartford, Connecticut, biked and hiked from the Arctic Circle to Naples, exhibited from Paris to Indianapolis, trained at New York’s Art Students League, chafed against art world rules that favored men, wrote thousands of pages about her travels and work, taught at Smith College for nearly two decades, but sadly ended up almost totally obscure. In 2012, arts writer Eve M. Kahn, a frequent New York Times contributor, discovered Williams’s long-forgotten artworks and thousands of pages of letters in a Connecticut boathouse. Kahn will lecture on the detective work for her book, Forever Seeing New Beauties: The Forgotten Impressionist Mary Rogers Williams, 1857-1907 (Wesleyan University Press, 2019). The virtual lecture explores Williams’s defiance of her era’s norms and love for Connecticut scenery, during a globetrotting career painting portraits of pensive gowned women, Norwegian slopes reflected in icy waters, saw-tooth roofs on French chateaus, and incense hazes in Italian chapels.

Eve M. Kahn writes regularly for The New York TimesApollo magazine, The Magazine Antiques and Atlas Obscura. Based in Manhattan, she helps lead scholarly nonprofit groups including the Grolier Club, the Victorian Society’s New York chapter and CUNY’s Women Writing Women’s Lives.

Ski Jumping in the Northeast with Ariel Picton Kobayashi

Dozens of towering ski jumps once dotted the landscape across the northeastern United States. Introduced by Norwegian immigrants in the late 1800s, ski jumping became popular in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York and Connecticut. From Lake Placid to Salisbury, crowds thronged to the jumps to watch. Youngsters like the Tokle brothers and Roy Sherwood rose to stardom. All of that changed in the 1980s with the end of college jumping. Today, only a handful of jumping clubs remain. But in a rare few communities, a strong sense of tradition keeps the spirit alive. Join author and coach Ariel Picton Kobayashi on Zoom as she examines ski jumping’s fascinating identity as both a small-town tradition and thrilling sport. This webinar is presented in conjunction with the Norfolk Historical Society. Kobayashi’s book is available for sale or to check out at the Library.

Ann Havemeyer: Ladies, Legends & Lakeside Dwellings – Alfredo Taylor in Norfolk

Those of us who live in Norfolk, CT assume that everyone has heard of Alfredo Taylor. One has only to drive through the center of town, dominated as it is by the tall brick building known as the Royal Arcanum with its steeply pitched slate roof enlivened with multiple gables and dormers, to make acquaintance with this highly original architect. Taylor came to Norfolk in the first years of the last century, and within a short period of time had put his distinctive mark on the landscape, designing stone and timber houses, lakeside camps, commercial buildings, schools, churches, and monuments. His work more than any other has come to define the look and style of this small Connecticut town, and it is now part of the National Register of Historic Places. Find out more about this Norfolk legend in an illustrated slide talk by Ann Havemeyer, author of An Architect of Place and the Village Beautiful: Alfredo Taylor in Norfolk, Connecticut (2012).

Virtual Studio Tour with Kate Gridley

Known for her insights into human character, the quality of light in her work, and her painting technique, Kate Gridley maintains a studio in Middlebury, Vermont, where she has lived and painted full time since 1991. Her work is in numerous public and private collections. Kate’s installation “Passing Through: Portraits of Emerging Adults,” a set of 17 over life-size oil portraits paired with sound portraits, which former NPR correspondent and Norfolk’s own Anne Garrels helped record, continues to travel across the United States after its launch in 2014. She is currently at work on two installations: a multimedia portrait of musician and famed children’s television character Officer Clemmons entitled “The Shoulders on Which We Stand: a Portrait of Francois Clemmons,” partially underwritten by the Vermont Arts Council and The Vermont Community Foundation; and “Witness Marks: Anatomy of a Memory,” a multimedia installation in which she explores how we make memories, how we store them, and how we retrieve them. Kate takes us into her studio and show us paintings in process.

Weathervanes by John Garret Thew

John Garret Thew learned the essentials of good art from his father, Robert Garret Thew: good workmanship coupled with good design. “Make your creations so well, no one can do better” was Robert’s credo. John took over the business after his father’s death in 1964, crafting over 11,500 copper weathervanes, each numbered, signed, and dated. In this presentation, the 94-year-old artist shares memories of each of the weathervanes and describes his process using hand-made watercolor designs. The presentation ends with John describing a few of his inventions from his earlier years, including a solar sundial and a turnpike toll gun.

Dianne Pierce: Thomas Jefferson and Slavery at Monticello

Although he penned that “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson was a life-long slaveholder, and his many accomplishments were built within a system of enslavement. Dianne Pierce discusses how this contradiction, central in the founding of the United States, has continuing effects today, and tells some of the individual stories of those enslaved at Monticello.

Behind the Scenes Picture Book Panel — Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree

November is National Picture Book Month! To celebrate, the Norfolk Library welcomes author Jessica Kulekjian, illustrator Madeline Kloepper, and Roaring Brook Nature Center Director Jay Kaplan as they discuss their roles in bringing Before We Stood Tall: From Small Seed to Mighty Tree (released September 2020 from Kids Can Press) from a story idea to finished product.

A Tale of 5 Norfolks

Join us as the staff from five Norfolk Libraries in Connecticut, Massachusetts, Virginia, Nebraska, and England come together to compare Norfolks. Each library will share the history of their town and library, as well as share interesting facts on what makes their town special. Questions such as “How does your community pronounce the town name?” or “What is your town known for?” is answered by each Norfolk library during this program. We end the program with each Norfolk library highlighting their library facts, programs, and a tour of their library.

Lynn Katz Author Talk

Lynn Katz began writing her first novel when she retired as the principal of Union School in Farmington, CT. The ideas for her domestic thriller began in the aftermath of the Sandy Hook mass shooting, a tragedy that took place at an elementary school not far from hers. The questions that have haunted her since that day inspired her writing: How could this happen? Why is it happening again and again? What can we do to stop the next mass shooting? What can we, as parents, educators, lawmakers, citizens, leaders, do in order to end the horrific gun violence that continues to grip our nation?  The Surrogate is not a book about a school shooting. It is a novel that explores the psychological profiles of a would-be mass shooter and the teacher who tries to help him. Join us as we talk with Lynn about her book and how her experiences as a principal informed this thrilling story.

Visiting Our National Parks Lessons Learned with John Bunker

John Bunker gives a virtual presentation and slide show for the Norfolk Library on his adventures and misadventures at some of his favorite national parks: Badlands, Bryce, Canyonlands, Glacier, Grand Tetons, Yellowstone, and Zion. Formerly Associate Dean, UNH College of Health and Human Services, John lives in New Hampshire and has visited twenty-five national parks during the past two decades.  His presentation includes a YouTube video of hiking Angel’s Landing in Zion National Park and over 70 images of his travels to the parks. The presentation covers a broad range of issues related to visiting our National Parks: lodging and dining, budget considerations, logistics and planning activities, and safety.

Mark Scarbrough in Conversation with Genevieve Gagne Hawes

New York Times bestselling cookbook author, educator, podcaster, and Norfolk Book Group leader Mark Scarbrough converses with Dr. Genevieve Gagne-Hawes, the in-house editor at Writers House, about his new memoir released on September 23, Bookmarked: How the Great Works of Western Literature F*cked Up My Life. Their conversation includes a broader discussion of the overall writing process and the business and editorial side of writing a memoir.

What’s on Your Bookshelf A Celebration of Middle Grade Books

Watch as children’s book author, podcaster, and physician, Dr. Rajani LaRocca,  and her agent Brent Taylor, senior agent at TriadaUS, celebrate all things middle grade books — from their favorite books to their working relationship and everything in between!

A Celebration of Picture Books with Pat Zietlow Miller and e.E. Charlton-Trujillo

Listen as The New York Times best-selling author Pat Zietlow Miller and ALA Stonewall Award-winning author e.E. Charlton-Trujillo celebrate all things picture books — from their favorite books to their forthcoming co-written Lupe Lopez: Rock Star Rules.

Fox Hysen Virtual Studio Tour

Norfolk resident Fox Hysen talks about her current work in a virtual studio tour for the Norfolk Library. A native of San Rafael, California, Hysen received her BFA from New York University in 2006 and her MFA from Yale University in 2015. Solo exhibitions include Gallery 16 in San Francisco, The Suburban in Milwaukee, and Soloway Gallery and Marcello Marvelli Gallery in New York. Hysen has been part of numerous group shows nationally and abroad. Her visually diverse practice oscillates between drawing, printmaking, and painting.

Virtual Studio Tour with Hilary VanWright

Hilary VanWright is a visual artist living in Norfolk, CT. She received a BFA from Moore College of Art & Design in Philadelphia and worked as an Art Director for Vanity Fair and New York Magazine before shifting to a freelance design career. Join Hilary as she takes us into her studio and shares with us her visually compelling work, as well her sources of inspiration.

Virtual Studio Tour with Molly Zuckerman-Hartung

Molly Zuckerman-Hartung is a painter and writer living and working in Norfolk.  She teaches in the low residency MFA program at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and is currently Senior Critic in painting/printmaking at the Yale School of Art. Zuckerman-Hartung received a BA from The Evergreen State College in 1998 and an MFA from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2007. She has shown internationally and in group shows at the Walker Art Center (Minneapolis) and the 2014 Whitney Biennial. She has also had solo shows in New York, Chicago, Miami, and Karlsruhe. She is a 2013 recipient of the Louis Comfort Tiffany Grant. Zuckerman-Hartung co-founded the Julius Caesar project Space in Chicago in 2007, and she was one of the founding organizers of Ladyfest 2000, a feminist conference and performance showcase that has been revived around the world since. She has written essays on Susan Sontag, Michelle Grabner, Carrie Schneider, and Magalie Guerin, and in 2012 she wrote (The 95 Theses on Painting).

Studio Tour with Tom Hlas

Get a peek inside the studio of one of Norfolk’s very own talented and gregarious artists, Tom Hlas. Hlas works with mixed media and says his “paintings are grounded in memories with an eye looking toward the future.”

Post Pandemic Life How to Move Forward

Inspired by the New York Times’ article by Adam Grant on Flourishing, Dr. Kelly Kandra Hughes, PhD, discusses the concept of languishing and offers resources, including book recommendations, on how to move forward to the flourishing end of the languishing-flourishing continuum.

Author Talk with Abdul-Razak Zachariah

Yale alum Abdul-Razak Zachariah reads his award-winning picture The Night Is Yours, illustrated by Keturah A. Bobo, as well as answers questions about his childhood, writing life, and his current work on how contemporary living and programmatic spaces foster community engagement.

Gardening 101 with a Master Gardener

Michelle Winkler is the Litchfield County Master Gardener Program Coordinator for the UCONN College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources. COLLEGE OF AGRICULTURE, HEALTH AND NATURAL RESOURCES. In this Gardening 101 presentation, Michelle gives beginner gardeners an overview approach of how to get started, including necessary equipment, best practices, and how to start seeds.

A Place of In Betweens with Mattie Vandiver

Norfolk resident Mattie Vandiver shares photographs and poems from her book of poetry entitled A Place of In Betweens. A Place of In Betweens is a dialogue between poetry and photography that highlights the disconnection between humans and the place we have named “nature.” Through philosophical questioning, metaphors, reflections of her own experiences with the natural world, and striking images, Mattie creates a space in between the human world and natural world in which each reader can stop to ponder their own belonging.

Waking Up to the Earth: A Poetry Reading and Reflection

Join Margaret Gibson, Connecticut Poet Laureate and editor of the recently-released anthology Waking Up to the Earth — Connecticut Poets in a Time of Global Climate Crisis, for a poetry reading and reflection by ten of the 63 poets with poems in the anthology, including Norfolk’s own Susannah Wood. The scope of the poems goes far beyond Connecticut to the whole ecosystem we humans share. As quoted in a book review in The Day , Gibson describes the book: “Climate crisis IS human crisis. Waking Up to the Earth offers poems by poets who are paying attention, finding connection, and warning of the danger. And any anthology is a collection of individual and varied voices. In Waking Up to the Earth, there are voices that praise, raise questions, grieve, warn … There are humorous voices as well.” “It’s hard to believe that the poems in this essential collection all come out of a single small state. But make no mistake; these are not poems about Connecticut. They are poems about the world—our one and only world—and the damage we inflict upon it. Ranging from expressions of profound love for and intimacy with the earth and its many creatures to grief and rage at our species’ self-destructive blindness, each poem is a testament to our planet’s preciousness and a grave warning of its fragility. Waking Up to the Earth is a resounding wake-up call.” —Chase Twichell, author of Things As It Is and Horses Where the Answers Should Have Been

A Virtual Vacation in Galicia with Michael Cobb

Michael Cobb takes us to Galicia in northwestern Spain, where he and his wife Martiña, a native of Santiago de Compostela, have visited for the past twenty years. You will learn about the region’s history and culture and discover interesting places to visit as Michael shares photos, stories, and insider tips. And you will hear the music of a Galician bagpiper (the national instrument).

A Virtual Vacation in Croatia with photographer Babs Perkins

In this stunning and informative program, writer and photographer Babs Perkins takes you on a journey through Croatia, including the stone streets of Dubrovnik, the boardwalks of Plitvice Lakes, Historic Zadar, and lovely Rovinj. Babs’ intimate connection to the people and lands of Croatia give this presentation more heart and soul than a typical travelogue. You won’t be disappointed!

Introduction to Backyard Beekeeping

Starting a beehive in your own backyard may sound daunting, but with the proper education and tools, anyone can be successful. In this Introduction to Beekeeping, Dan Carr of Beavertides Farm takes you from the anatomy and social structure of honey bees to the basics of managing a hive, and teaches you about what it takes to start your very own beehive.

Live from Dublin! A Comedy Show with Annie Gill and Friends

The Norfolk Library’s celebration of St. Patrick’s Day has become an annual tradition for fans of the Emerald Isle. Although this year we cannot host an in-house evening of Irish music and fare, we are excited to bring to you a comedy show live from Dublin! With Guinness in hand, take a virtual trip to Ireland with Annie Gill and Irish comedians for a romp through the Irish American love story that is poetry, accents, and cute cultural differences like the proper usage of the word ‘pants’.