Our spring calendar is online. Check out all of the great things you can do with the Blackstone Library!
All of our spring classes and events are virtual (using Zoom app/software) unless otherwise noted. Click here for a printable calendar.
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Monday Stories LIVE: Virtual Weekly Storytime (ages 5 and under)
Mondays @ 10:30–11 am
Join Miss Mary and Miss Carly every Monday for a virtual storytime with songs, hand rhymes, stories and more. Storytime kits are available for pick up with sign up, one per participant while supplies last. Registration required to receive meeting link and kit pick up specifics. Click here to register.
Wednesday Stories LIVE: Virtual Weekly Storytime (ages 5 and under)
Wednesdays @ 10:30–11 am
Join Miss Mary and Miss Carly every Wednesday for a virtual storytime with songs, hand rhymes, stories and more. Storytime kits are available for pick up with sign up, one per participant while supplies last. Registration required to receive meeting link and kit pick up specifics. Click here to register.
Picture Books LIVE: a Shared Weekly Viewing Event (ages 5 and under)
Fridays @ 11–11:30 am
Miss Mary and Carly are saving Fridays for Picture Books LIVE, a program that brings your favorite book characters to the big screen! Songs, rhymes, dancing, and books will be included. Registration is required to receive meeting link. Click here to register.
Cooking with You: a Meal Sharing Book Club (grades K-4 and family)
3rd Monday of the month @ 4–5 pm | March 15 & April 19
We are re-starting our cookbook club for families and want to include you! Here’s how it works: download the selected cookbook through Hoopla. Review the recipes with your kids, test a few out and then the afternoon of our virtual meeting show off something you’ve made so others can see whether you “nailed it” or not. Books are selected after each meeting. Click here to register. For March, we are going green with Let’s Bake St. Patrick’s Day Treats by Ruth Owen.
Take & Make: Hands-on Activity to Pick Up (grades K-4)
Wednesdays | March 17, April 28, May 26
Drop by the library once a month to pick up a hands-on activity that can be completed anytime you’re looking for something to do. Each month is a different activity, such as a craft, art project, or something to eat! Kits available while supplies last during no-contact pickup hours, 10 am-7 pm. No registration is required; don’t forget your mask! Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library.
Rick Riordan Presents: Book Club (grades 3-6)
4th Thursday of the month @ 4–5 pm | March 25 & April 22
Join us once a month for a virtual book club that features different books from Rick Riordan Presents – books published with a goal of sharing different cultures and backgrounds through stories inspired by their mythology, folklore, and heritage. Registration is required to receive meeting link. Click here to register.
Our next book will be Magnus Chase: The Ship of the Dead. You can also download the book directly through Hoopla.
Read Across America Day: a Storytime and Commitment to Read Out Loud (ages 5 and under)
Tuesday, March 2 @ 10:30–11 am
Celebrate Read Across America Day by joining in a fun filled storytime with Miss Mary and Miss Carly. During the program we will feature songs, hand rhymes and stories and share resources where you can continue having fun reading out loud daily. A free book for contactless pickup will be provided by our friends at Read to Grow. Space is limited! Click here to register.
Rick Riordan Presents: a Book Club Follow-up with Author Carlos Hernandez (grades 3-6)
Wednesday, March 31 @ 5 pm
The Blackstone Library is pleased to host Carlos Hernandez, author of Sal & Gabi Break the Universe, winner of the 2020 Pura Belpré Award as well as his companion book, this month’s Rick Riordan Presents Book Club pick – Sal & Gabi Fix the Universe. During this book talk we will learn a little about Mr. Hernandez, his writing process and what inspires his middle grade novels. Then he will open the “virtual” floor for some Q&A. Click here to register.
BreakOUT of This: a Week Long Virtual Challenge (families)
Monday–Friday, April 12–16 @ 11 am
Jump on the BreakoutEdu game train! Questions will test reading, mathematics, sciences, and logic all in an effort to stretch your brain. Challenges will be released daily throughout spring break and will get harder as we go! Complete them with your family one by one or save them all for the end of the week. All games should be completed by Monday April 19 to crown the next puzzle master. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.
All the Way to the Ocean: Learning About the Watershed (grades 2-4)
Tuesday, April 20 @ 4–5 pm
Learn about water drainage in an interactive storytime. We’ll read you All the Way to the Ocean by Joel Harper, discuss watershed, and identify ways pollutants can affect vegetation, animals, and people. Hands-on activities will be included, and participants will receive their own copy of All the Way to the Ocean. Space is limited and registration is required. Click here to register. This program was made possible by the Claire C. Bennitt Watershed Fund.
Let’s Celebrate: a Storytime Meant for Moms, Gmoms, Aunties, and Caregivers (ages 5 and under)
Saturday, May 8 @ 10:30–11 am
Join us virtually for a morning filled with stories, songs, and activities that celebrate all the special women in our lives. Space is limited since “care packages” will be available for contactless pickup prior to the event. Registration is required to receive meeting link and package pickup specifics. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library.
Spring Waters, Gathering Places: Learning About Water Conservation (grades 2-4)
Tuesday, May 18 @ 4–5 pm
Learn about the power of water and how it has been used to create some pretty interesting myths, legends, and games. You’ll hear stories from Spring Waters: Gathering Places by Sandra DeYonge, discuss how water was represented in the past, and brainstorm ways to keep it clean for the future. Hands-on activities will be included, and participants will receive their own copy of Spring Waters. Space is limited and registration is required. Click here to register. This program was made possible by the Claire C. Bennitt Watershed Fund.
TAG: Teen Advisory Group (grades 6-12)
First & Third Thursday of the month @ 3:30–4:30 pm | March 4 & 18, April 1 & 15, May 6 & 20
Earn community service virtually! Whether you’ve volunteered for our in-person teen group in the past or you’re brand new to our community, join us in our virtual teen space (on discord) for a club where we review new books for the library to purchase & choose upcoming events. Best of all, meetings count as community service. Open to mature teens in grades 6 through 12. Registration is required. Click here to sign up.
Virtual Teen Game Night (grades 6-12)
Second Monday of the month @ 5–7 pm | March 8, April 12, May 10
Once a month, we’re using our virtual teen space (on discord) to meet for game night! We’ll explore the viral game sensations Among Us, Jackbox Games, and more! Space is limited & registration is required to receive instructions on how to join!
Teen Take & Make (grades 5-12)
Wednesdays | March 17, April 28, May 26 (while supplies last!)
Once a month, we’re putting together bags with a craft, just for you. Just drop by the library, pick one up, take it & make it! Each month is a different activity. It could be a craft to keep, a challenge to participate in, or an edible activity that you eat! Kits are available while supplies last during no-contact pickup hours, 10am–7 pm. No registration is required; don’t forget your mask! Sponsored by the Allan Louis Loeb Foundation.
Backyard Bird Challenge (grades 5-12)
Monday, March 22 @ 4:30–5:30 pm
Learn new ways to invite feathered friends into your backyard while painting your own cedar birdhouse to hang in your yard. Who will move in? We can’t wait to see! The first attendee to capture a photo of their new residents in their birdbox will win an additional prize! Materials are provided through contactless pickup, space is limited. Sponsored by the Allan Louis Loeb Foundation. Click here to register.
After Dinner Gardening: Grow Stuff You Can Eat (grades 5-12)
Monday, April 26 @ 4:30–5:30 pm
This isn’t your grandma’s flower garden! We’re putting together kits with everything you need to start a windowsill garden of edible plants, all your own. Plus (bonus) we’ll learn to turn table scraps and grocery store leftovers (the parts you would usually throw away) into new food you can grow and eat. Not sure you have a green enough thumb? Invite your mom to attend this event with you for Mother’s Day and grow your plants together! Space is limited. Sponsored by the Allan Louis Loeb Foundation. Click here to register.
Nailed It: a Teen Cooking Club (grades 5-12)
Monday, May 24 @ 4:30–6 pm
Gather your own ingredients and join Miss Sarah in our virtual teen space (on discord) for a chance to cook and eat together. What will we make? Each session will be something new. You don’t need any cooking experience to join, just your parent’s permission and some creativity! Sign up is required to receive a shopping list of ingredients and an invitation to join us on discord. Click here to register.
First Friday Book Discussion
1st Friday of the month @ 12–1 pm | March 5, April 2, May 7
- March 5: The Queen’s Gambit by Walter Tevis
- April 9: The Huntress by Kate Quinn
- May 7: Title TBD
Second Tuesday Book Club
2nd Tuesday of the month @ 6:15–7:30 pm | March 13, April 13, May 11
New members welcomed; books available for loan in advance of the discussion. For more information email email@example.com or call 203 488-1441, ext. 318. Titles TBD.
Best Seller Book Club
Last Saturday of each month @ 3:30–4:30 pm | March 27, April 24, May 29
Click the individual month to register. The Blackstone Library has a limited number of copies available for book club participants. If you are interested in obtaining a library copy, please call us at (203) 488-1441 ext. 318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Copies are first come, first served.
- March 27: The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab
- April 24: Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell
- May 29: The Midnight Library by Matt Haig
Books & Brews
Last Wednesday of the month @ 6–8 pm | March 31, April 28, May 26
Titles TBD. Find us and register at meetup.com.
One-on-One Virtual Tech Help
Tuesday @ 2–4 pm | March 2 & 16
Is a problem on your iPhone driving you crazy? Are you stuck trying to get emails on your iPad, or download an app, but it’s not working? Sign up for one-on-one tech help with Christina via Zoom or telephone call — your choice! Email Christina for more information and to schedule a 25-minute time slot.
Intro to JobNow
Thursday, April 15 @ 2–3 pm
Applying for a job but confused about where to start? Come to this class, where we’ll learn about a great resource the library has to offer — JobNow — where you can get free resume assistance, interview tips, live coaching and more. All you need is your library card. Click here to register.
Cutting the Cord: Saying Goodbye to Cable
Thursday, May 13 @ 2–3 pm
Dealing with cable can be a pain, but trying to find an alternative can be equally frustrating. If you’ve had enough of cable and need some guidance for making your next move, come to our class on cutting the cord! We’ll discuss all the most popular streaming services and devices so you can decide which one is right for you! Click here to register.
Virtual Knitting Group
Wednesdays @ 7–8 pm
Join us for a weekly knitting group! Group meets every Wednesday. Beginners and experienced knitters are welcome. Registration is required to receive a link to this online event. To register call the Reference Desk at (203) 488-1441 ext. 318 or email email@example.com
How to Eat a Poem: A Weekly Poetry Discussion Group
Saturdays @ 11 am–12 pm
Learn to better understand and appreciate the wide world of poetry! Each week we’ll read poems presented by group members. With an emphasis on teaching students to read, understand, and evaluate poetry, this group will be your guide to discovering how and what a poem means, and hopefully gain a new appreciation for the art form. Registration is required to receive a link to this online event. To register call the Reference Desk at (203) 488-1441 ext. 318 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Virtual Branford Forum
Sundays @ 2–3:30 pm | March 14, April 11, May 16
The Branford Forum, a community organization that brings nationally renowned figures to the Shoreline, is returning to the Blackstone Library for a series of virtual conversations. Click the link to register:
- March 14: The Covid-19 Vaccination
- April 11: Recent Developments in Race Relations
- May 16: The President and Immigration Law
High School Diploma Information Sessions: Presented by Shoreline Adult Education
2nd Thursday of the month @ 11 am or 6 pm | March 11, April 8, May 13
The James Blackstone Memorial Library is pleased to offer information sessions on alternative paths to earning a high school diploma, sponsored by Shoreline Adult Education (formerly ERACE). This regional program serves the Connecticut towns of Branford, Clinton, Guilford and North Branford and welcomes all adult students who want to earn a high school diploma. These information sessions discuss the three free options offered by Shoreline Adult Education. The programs are flexible to fit your schedule and aim to accommodate all students, no matter of how long it has been since they were last in a classroom. All participation is confidential. Click here to register.
Introduction to Genetic Genealogy
Saturday, March 13 @ 1–2 pm
The availability of DNA testing for use in genealogy has opened up a whole new frontier of family history research. But where should you begin? Professional genealogist Eric Migal will discuss DNA testing with AncestryDNA, 23andMe, Y-DNA testing, and Mitochondrial DNA testing. He’ll go over the differences, pros and cons of each type of testing, analysis of data, pricing, and subscription costs. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.
Stony Creek Quarry: Working with History for the Future
Wednesday, March 17 @ 6:30–7:30 pm
The Stony Creek Museum and the Stony Creek Quarry will present a talk on The Stony Creek Quarry, with an emphasis on sustainability and recent projects. Darrell Petit and Tom Cleveland of the Stony Creek Quarry Corporation will provide an overview of their contributions to the new Statue of Liberty Museum, and their new sustainability initiatives. The Statue of Liberty stands on a pedestal of Stony Creek Granite, and the new Statue of Liberty Museum has been built with it as well. This project was a joint venture between the National Parks Service, The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation, and other private donors. The Stony Creek Quarry is a leader of sustainability in the international stone world and the only ANSI/NSC 373 certified quarry in Connecticut and the Northeast. Click here to register.
Women on Opposite Sides of the Law
Saturday, March 20 @ 2–3 pm
Three smart, independent women: two who were criminal attorneys and one who was a career criminal. They stood on opposite sides of the law, yet they confronted many of the same challenges and discrimination, persevering in a world where men made up the rules.
Sophie Lyons was one of the most notorious female criminals of the nineteenth century. Late in life she “went straight” and became a successful Detroit businesswoman. Jessie Levy and Bess Robbins defended six members of the infamous John Dillinger gang in the early 1930s.
Author Shayne Davidson will discuss these three women who spent their lives on opposite sides of the law; what they had in common, how society viewed their chosen fields and the cultural forces which drove them. Through their own intriguing stories, we’ll answer how they succeeded in places where women normally weren’t welcome. Click here to register.
East Rock, West Rock, and the Triassic-Jurassic Extinction
Saturday, April 10 @ 2–3 pm
Some 200 million years ago, an extremely productive bout of volcanic eruptions spewed tons of carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, along with a lot of lava. The lava cooled to form East Rock, West Rock, and many other rocks, together known as the Central Atlantic Magmatic Province. The greenhouse gases caused tremendous global warming, an example from Earth history that we can learn from today. Join Sophie Westacott of the Yale Peabody Museum Speakers Bureau for a talk that will explore this tale of ancient climate change and mass extinction, told in part through familiar places around New Haven. Click here to register.
After the Hunger: A Virtual Author Event
Saturday, April 17 @ 2–3 pm
The Blackstone Library is pleased to host author MaryEllen Beveridge for a discussion of her short story collection, After the Hunger. Set mostly in New England, her stories explore the complexities of family life and its changing dynamics. Click here to register. You can read the full synopsis below:
The central figure in many of these stories is the psychically wounded World War II veteran who is absent. Here the definition of the family is changed, and its re-imagining remains problematic. Challenges are posed to characters’ ideas about self hood and their role as daughters, mothers, sisters, friends, wives and lovers. A major theme of the collection is the search for place—within the family, and within the larger context of the post-war, post-modern world. The search for place often involves a search for faith as well.
Branford Beginnings: A Follow-up Q&A with the Branford Historical Society
Wednesday, April 21 @ 7 pm
How did our town of Branford come to be? Mr. Joseph Naylor is returning to once again review the settling of Branford in 1644 from the perspective of his ancestor, Mr. William Swaine, and take questions on the early history of Branford. William Swaine led the group of Puritans that came down from Wethersfield to settle what is now our town and was a participant in many major historical events of the era. Learn how extraordinary events of the time, such as migration to New England by Puritans fleeing persecution by the English Monarchy and the Church of England, the English Civil War, the Pequot war of 1637, and a split among the Puritans into conservative and liberal factions all contributed to the founding of Branford. Click here to register.
House History (in Two Parts) 1 & 2
Part 1: Thursday, April 22 @ 6–7 pm | Register for part 1 here
Part 2: Thursday, April 29 @ 6–7 pm | Register for part 2 here
Have you ever wondered about the history of your home? Now’s your chance to learn more! This two-part series, presented by Bryna O’Sullivan of Charter Oak Genealogy, helps attendees trace the history of a historic home. The first session will guide participants through building a timeline of the home’s ownership. The second will help them discover the home’s story through maps, photos, local histories, and more. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library.
The Midnight Call: A Virtual Author Event
Saturday May 1 @ 2–3 pm
The Blackstone Library is pleased to host author Jodé Millman for a discussion of her book The Midnight Call, an exciting legal thriller featuring plenty of twists and turns! Click here to register. You can read the full synopsis below:
Late one August night, Jessie’s lifelong mentor and friend–and presently a popular, charismatic, and handsome high school teacher–Terrence Butterfield calls. He utters a startling admission: he’s killed someone. He pleads for Jessie’s help, so out of loyalty she rushes to his aid completely unaware that she’s risking her relationship, her career, and her life–and that of her unborn child–to help Terrence. Does Jessie’s presence at Terrence’s home implicate her in the gruesome murder of the teenage boy found in the basement? Why does Terrence betray Jessie when he has a chance to exonerate her of any charges? Has he been a monster in disguise for all these years? To reclaim her life and prove her innocence, Jessie must untangle the web of lies and reveal the shocking truths behind the homicide. This quest turns out to be the fight of her life: to preserve everything and everyone she holds dear.
Birdscaping: Home Sweet Habitat
Saturday May 22 @ 2–3 pm
Looking to kickstart your spring gardening? This beautifully illustrated program explores the importance of creating welcoming habitats for birds through thoughtful landscape choices, including native plants vital for food and nesting sites. Learn about the benefits and joys of creating beautiful layered gardens designed to bring avian performers right into your own backyard. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.