Library Lines

Views of America in fiction

Mark Schenker, college dean of Academic Affairs at Yale University, returns to Wilton Library to reflect on the different aspects of America through fiction. The three-part series, Visions and Versions of America: Three Views from Fiction, are Saturday lectures beginning Sept. 15 from 4 to 5:30. In this presidential election year, voters may be reminded that the federalist philosophy reflected in the Electoral College system envisions an America that is not a single homogenized nation but an amalgam of states and regions. In these three lectures, Mr. Schenker will consider how the geographical and cultural aspects of northern New England, the Deep South, and the American West enrich and complicate the nation’s national identity. The first discussion centers on northern New England, mirrored in the novel, The Country of the Pointed Firs (1896) by Sarah Orne Jewett; Sept. 29 is an exploration of the deep south through William Faulkner’s Absalom! Absalom! (1936); the American West is captured in Blood Meridian (1985) by Cormac McCarthy on Oct. 6. Registration is highly recommended and attendees are asked to sign up separately for each program in the series. The lecture series has been generously sponsored by an anonymous donor. The series includes a one-hour talk followed by a Q&A and informal reception.

Who’s Elmo?

This month’s New Perspectives Film Series screening is Being Elmo: A Puppeteer’s Journey on Saturday, Sept. 15, from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Although the ubiquitous furry red creature is beloved by millions, few people know of the man who brings Elmo to life, Kevin Clash. This engaging documentary is narrated by Whoopi Goldberg and chronicles the career of the puppeteer, along with a behind-the-scenes look at the famous Sesame Street and Jim Henson Workshop. The film series is programmed and moderated by Megan Smith-Harris. A Q&A follows the film. Registration is highly recommended.

Book chat

The Tuesday Book Buzz group gets together this month on Sept. 18, from 11 to noon, to talk about books they have read or heard about, and to find out what’s coming new this fall from famous and still-to-be discovered authors. The group is open to everyone and is moderated by staff librarians. Registration is suggested. Future dates are Oct. 16, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18.

A new wing takes flight

The Paintings Galleries in the new American Wing at the Metropolitan Museum of Art are now open and the library and St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church are sponsoring a bus trip to view them on Wednesday, Sept. 19, from 9:30 to 4:30. The trip includes transportation, museum admission and a one-hour guided tour of the newly expanded galleries. The cost is $62 per person ($55 for seniors). Reservations are due today (Thursday), so people are encouraged to call the library to sign-up.

ESL classes begin

Once again, Wilton Library will hold intermediate ESL (English as a Second Language) classes beginning Wednesday, Sept. 19, through Wednesday, Dec. 12, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. twice weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays. To attend the classes, people have to take a placement test. For more information call Westport Continuing Education at 203-341-1209.

Ben’s back

Ben Van Vechten returns for a literary mash-up called Literary Olio on Thursday and Friday, Sept. 20 and 21, from 10:30 to noon. An olio is “a collection of miscellaneous pieces” that will be discussed with the usual gusto from Ben. Copies of the selection are now available at the front desk. The program is made possible through an anonymous donor. Advance registration is required.

Reminder: The Library Card Sign-Up staff will be at The Village Market on Sept. 15, from 10:30 to 1:30 and the Tots to Teens Book Sale at the library on Sept. 22 from 10 to 1. To register for any of the above mentioned programs, visit and click on Events or call 203-762-3950, ext. 213 for adults and teens or ext. 217 for children’s events. Downloadable e-book help is available at the library on Tuesdays, from 4 to 6, and Saturdays, from 10 to noon.