Wilton Library selects topic, and book for 2022 community wide reading program

The topic of the Wilton Reads 2022 community-wide reading program will be the town’s history itself.

The topic of the Wilton Reads 2022 community-wide reading program will be the town’s history itself.

H John Voorhees III / Hearst Connecticut Media

The library and Wilton Public School district are exploring the rich history of the Town of Wilton for the Wilton Reads 2022 community-wide reading program.

As the Town of Wilton welcomes the arrival of many new residents, the library has decided that “it is an opportune time to educate all Wilton residents, from the newest arrivals to the longest established, about the rich and the vibrant history of the town.”

Thus, the history of Wilton will be told throughout the library’s upcoming programming.

At the Thursday, Jan. 20, Wilton Board of Education meeting, Wilton Library Retired Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria and the Wilton Public School district Director of Digital Learning Fran Kompar announced the Wilton Reads 2022 book selection titled: “Wilton, Connecticut: Three Centuries of People, Places, and Progress,” by author Robert, Bob, H. Russell.

The library will again collaborate with the Wilton Public Schools district to facilitate discussions and intriguing conversations throughout the community at all levels.

Tai-Lauria credited Wilton Library Assistant Director Lauren McLaughlin with the idea.

“In Wilton, we are in the midst of a change. Our community is growing and changing so quickly, and we are seeing history happen right before our eyes. We believe it is the perfect time to look inward and explore Wilton’s fascinating story, and we could not think of a better selection than Bob Russell’s ‘Wilton, Connecticut,’ which is the definitive history of our town,” Tai-Lauria said ahead of the event.

“As with Wilton Reads collaborations in the past, the school district will choose age-appropriate reading selections and create supplemental activities for the various schools,” Kompar said of the schools.

The school’s superintendent is on board, too.

“We believe that the library’s selection for Wilton Reads 2022 provides a wonderful learning opportunity for all Wilton residents,” said Wilton Public School District Superintendent Kevin Smith. “For our students, we’ll be able to engage them on so many levels - such as virtual author visits and other educational programs.”

Author Bob Russell led Wilton as First Selectman for six years after his 35-year business career with IBM.

Russell allso served on the boards of several Wilton organizations including on the board of the Wilton Library.

His lifelong interest in history led him to research and eventually write a comprehensive record of Wilton’s 300-year past.

The book was previously published by the Wilton Historical Society in 2004.

To write the book, Russell drew upon records at the Wilton Town Hall and at local libraries, including the extensive archives in the Wilton Library’s History Room, and personal accounts of many Wilton residents.

The Wilton Reads program will culminate with an author talk by Russell in the spring. During his talk, Russell will be recognized with the Grodin Family Fine Writers award.

The library plans to offer free copies of the book this spring, courtesy of the Fairfield County Bank.

However, copies of the book are currently available via the library’s catalog at www.wiltonlibrary.org.

For Wilton Reads 2022, a slate of programs featuring local and Connecticut state history is being planned for the spring. These programs will supplement the reading material recommended to those participating. The library will also provide educational resources for further exploration, upon request.

Further details about the library’s Wilton Reads 2022 programming will be posted on the library’s website at www.wiltonlibrary.org.

Wilton Public Schools’ programming details may be found by those interested by visiting the school district’s website at wiltonps.org.

Now in its 16th year running, the Wilton Reads program originated with a reading of Harper Lee’s “To Kill a Mockingbird.”

A list of past Wilton Reads book selections can also be found at http://www.wiltonlibrary.org/past-wilton-reads-selections.

The Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in Wilton.

For more information, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org, call the library’s reference librarians at 203-762-6350, or email reference@wiltonlibrary.org.