Wilton Reads 'Ragtime'

Wiltonians will be immersed in the turn of the 20th Century as they read E.L. Doctorow’s Ragtime for Wilton Library’s Wilton Reads community event this October.

Written in 1975, Ragtime captures the spirit of America in the era between the turn of the 20th Century and World War I.

“This is our 10th Wilton Reads, and we are delighted to be sharing this wonderful novel with the Wilton community,” said Wilton Library Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria.

“The writing is so rich and descriptive that we were motivated to bring a full range of programming for our patrons to experience.”

The library has planned a month’s worth of programming related to the modern American classic.

There will there be book discussions and activities for all ages, including:

  • A screening of the 1928 film Speedy, starring Harold Lloyd, on Monday, Oct. 6;
  • A bus trip to the Morgan Library & Museum in Manhattan on Tuesday, Oct. 7;
  • Discussion of the book with Joanna Ecke on Wednesday, Oct. 8;
  • Reception for an exhibition of New American Impressionism artwork on Friday, Oct. 10;
  • Ragtime musical concert on Saturday, Oct. 11;
  • Seminar with genealogist Toni McKeen on Tuesday, Oct. 14;
  • Book discussion with Susan Boyar on Wednesday, Oct. 15;
  • Genealogy program for children on Friday, Oct. 17;
  • Screening of the movie Ragtime, starring Jimmy Cagney, Sunday, Oct. 19;
  • Ragtime crafts on Monday, Oct. 20;
  • Wilton history talk with Bob Russell on Tuesday, Oct. 21;
  • A closing reception on Friday, Oct. 24.

There will also be rotating exhibits featuring costume, advertisements and photographs of the Wilton and Norwalk area.

“Staff members came together as a group to create the programming for this event,” said Wilton Library Program Manager Karen Danvers.

“We are so enthusiastic about the undertaking that we were able to bring in many community partners to help round our the programming.”

Before this year’s Wilton Reads begins, Wilton Library will give away 100 free copies of Ragtime on Saturday, Sept. 27, beginning at 10 a.m., courtesy of Fairfield County Bank. Free copies will be available on a first-come, first-served basis and limited to one per person.

The month-long community reading event will conclude with a free, public reception on Friday, Oct. 24, from 6 to 8, with catering from Barcelona SoNo, Bartaco, Bianco Rosso, Bistro 7, Little Pub, Marly’s, Wave Hill Breads and Wilton Pizza.

The reception will feature a Ragtime cocktail, Model A and Model T Fords from the era, dance demonstrations by Walter Schalk Dance Studio students and ragtime music by the New Orleans Beatniks.

Photo project

The library will also use new technology from the Innovation Station to visually explore 1900s America.

“We are inviting people to digitally scan their old photographs from the turn of the 20th Century using the library’s equipment,” said Susan Lauricella, coordinator of the Innovation Station.

“The project starts now through Oct. 20. The photos will then be projected during the community reception.”

Original photographs will be returned and digital copies will be provided to the owners.

To participate in the photo project email innovation@wiltonlibrary.org.

Information and registration: wiltonlibrary.org, 203-762-3950, ext. 213.