Winter Events & Classes: Kids, Teens, Adults

Our winter calendar is online. Check out all of the great things you can do with the Blackstone Library!

All of our winter classes and events are virtual (using Zoom app/software) unless otherwise noted. Click here for a printable calendar.

Kids Programs

Teen Programs

Adult Programs

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Kids Programs

Monday Stories LIVE (ages 5 and under)

Mondays @ 10:30–11 am, starting December 7
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 (ages 5 and under) 

Wednesdays @ 10:30–11 am, starting December 2
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 (ages 5 and under)

Fridays @ 11–11:30 am, starting December 7
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.

Take & Make: Hands-on Activity to Pick Up (grades K-4)

Wednesdays | December 23, January 13, February 24
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-12 pm, 2 pm-7 pm. No registration is required; don’t forget your mask! Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. 

Snowmen at Night: Drawing Workshop with Library  Arts (grades K-4)

Monday, December 28 @ 2–3 pm
Join us online for a story and drawing lesson. Doris Benter of Library Arts will start by reading Mark Buthner’s classic book, Snowmen at Night. Then she’ll take you through a step-by-step lesson to recreate some of the illustrations.We’ll provide all of the necessary drawing materials through contactless pickup. Additional instructions will be included in the registration confirmation. Registration is required to receive the confirmation and meeting link. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

Gingerbread Building Workshop with Cooking Social Kids (grades K-4)

Tuesday, December 29 @ 3:30–4:30 pm
Our annual gingerbread decorating program is getting an upgrade with the help of Cooking Social Kids! During this virtual workshop, families will work together to create beautiful edible homes. We’ll supply all the necessary materials through contactless pick up. Families will be encouraged to take photos of their creations once they are complete so that we can compile a virtual gingerbread art show on our social media pages. Registration is required to receive meeting link. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

Rick Riordan Presents: Book Club (grades 3-6

Thursdays @ 4–5 pm | December 31, January 28, February 25
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.

Take Your Child to the Library Day with the Riverside Reptiles Education Center (families)

Saturday, February 6 @ 11 am–12 pm
This year things are looking a little different for Take Your Child to the Library Day – as a matter of fact the James Blackstone Memorial Library is planning to come to you with a presentation about all things reptile with the Riverside Reptiles Education Center. This virtual session will introduce a variety of cold-blooded friends and have a contactless pick up portion that includes a free gift from Read to Grow. Registration is required. Sponsored by the Allan Louis Loeb Foundation. Click here to register.

Life Under the Ice with the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center (grades K-4)

Tuesday, February 16 @ 2:30–3:30 pm
Despite freezing temperatures, it is very busy under the ice of a frozen pond. Discover how animals like fish, frogs, turtles and beavers survive life under the ice in their frozen habitat! Meet reptiles and amphibians who stay warm in the Nature Center all winter long. Registration is required to receive meeting link. Sponsored by the Allan Louis Loeb Foundation. Click here to register.

 

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Teen Programs

TAG: Teen Advisory Group (grades 6-12)

1st Thursdays @ 3:30–4:30 pm | December 3, January 7, February 4
Are you looking for a virtual way to make a difference in your community? Whether you’ve volunteered for our in-person teen group in the past or you’re brand new to our library community, join us for a monthly club where we review new books for the library to purchase & choose upcoming events! Open to mature teens in grades 6 through 12. Space is limited for this club & registration is required to receive a meeting link. Click here to register.

Bring a Pet to Discord Day (grades 5-12)

Wednesday, December 9 @ 3:30–4:30 pm
It’s like show-and-tell, but with pets. Whether your animal companion is a grumpy cat, a fluffy boi, a pupperino, or even a snek, we can’t wait to meet them! Join us on discord for an hour-long hang out where we’ll talk in doggo lingo, share memes, visit with pets & enjoy some positive vibes. Don’t have a pet of your own? That’s okay, come visit! All animal lovers in grades 5-12 are welcome. Click here to register.

Among Us: Teen Game Night (grades 7-12)

2nd Mondays @ 5–7 pm | December 14, January 11, February 8

Something is sus(picious) in the library. Is it you? Join us once a month for a teen game night where we’ll explore the super popular, viral game sensation, Among Us, an online social deduction game (like werewolf), where some players are secretly working against the others. To survive, you’ll need to identify the imposters. Each round, new imposters will be chosen & they’ll work against the other players, killing crewmates & sabotaging the ship. You’ll need to complete tasks and identify the suspicious parties before it’s too late! Space is limited for this event. Click here to register.

Mystery Teen Take & Make (grades 5-12)

Wednesdays | December 23, January 13, February 24 (while supplies last!)
Once a month, we’re putting together mystery bags with a craft, just for you. Just drop by the library, pick one up, take it & make it! Each month is a different craft. What will you get? Who knows! It could be a craft to keep…or an edible activity you eat! Kits are available while supplies last during no-contact pickup hours, 10am-12 pm, 2pm-7 pm. No registration is required; don’t forget your mask! Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library.

DIY Cocoa Bomb Class (grades 5-12)

Monday, January 25 @ 4:30–6 pm
We’re making our own version of this viral TikTok craze: a giant chocolate truffle that, when added to hot milk, will melt into the perfect cup of cocoa! Get a kit while they last & join Miss Sarah on discord to learn how to make your own cocoa bomb. The mold will be yours to keep, so you can make more for family & friends! Sign up is required & seats are limited, join us before it’s too late! A waiting list will open when full. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

Dungeons & Dragons & Dice Boxes: Make Your Own Dice Box (grades 5-12)

Monday, February 22 @ 4:30–6:30 pm
Calling all clerics, paladins, druids & monks! If you’re a D&D player (or you’d like to be) this program is for you! We’re gathering on discord to decorate our own wooden chests, which you can use to store your dice, magic items, or playing pieces. Sign up is required & seats are limited, join us before it’s too late! A waiting list will open when full. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

 

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Adult Programs

Book Clubs

Tech Classes

Ongoing Weekly Programs

Programs

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Book Clubs
Books & Brews

Last Wednesday of each month @ 6–8 pm  |  December 30, January 27, February 24
Find us and register at meetup.com. Titles TBD.

2nd Tuesday

Second Tuesday of each month @ 6:15–7:30 pm  |  January 15, February 9
Note: no meeting in December. Titles TBD. New members welcomed; books available for loan in advance of the discussion. For more information email ckondziela@blackstonelibrary.org or call 203 488-1441, ext. 318.

First Friday Book Discussion

First Friday of each month @ 12–1 pm
Click the individual month to register.
December 4: Under the Tulip Tree by Michelle Shocklee
January 8: Title TBD
February 5: Title TBD

Best Seller Book Club

Last Saturday of each month @ 3:30–4:30 pm
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 programs@blackstonelibrary.org. Copies are first come, first served.
December 26: No Meeting
January 30: Anxious People by Fredrik Backman
February 27: The Searcher by Tana French

 

Tech Classes
Staying Safe Online

Tuesday, December 8 @ 1 pm–2:15 pm
Are you concerned about staying safe online? How can you avoid digital scams? Is it safe to shop online? Come to this class to learn more about what online risks you face and how you can protect yourself and your loved ones.

One-on-One Virtual Tech Help

Tuesday January 5 @ 2–4 pm
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 ckondziela@blackstonelibrary.org for more information and to schedule a time.

Navigating the Library Catalog

Thursday, January 14 @ 2–3:30 pm
Do you have questions about how to navigate our online catalog and how to place holds? Would you like to learn the best way to browse the catalog from your home? Come to this class to learn the ins and outs of the library catalog.

One-on-One Virtual Tech Help

Tuesday February 2 @ 2–4 pm
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 ckondziela@blackstonelibrary.org for more information and to schedule a time.

Adjusting to Digital Life

Thursday, February 11 @ 2–3:30 pm
COVID-19 has made digital life more significant than ever, but many people feel left behind. This class will help you learn to navigate our new normal. Topics include emailing, video chatting, web browsing, device maintenance, and whatever else you need help with. Submit your question when you register online. We’ll do our best to go over everything. Space is limited.

 

Ongoing Weekly Programs
Virtual Introduction to Classical Latin (grade 7 through Adult)

Mondays @ 5–6 pm
The study of classical Latin exercises memory, increases English vocabulary, and broadens general knowledge. Using the textbook Ecce Romani I, students will learn Latin vocabulary, English vocabulary derived from Latin root words, Latin and English grammar, and translation skills. A textbook will be provided for each student. Taught by Susan Craig. 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 programs@blackstonelibrary.org

Virtual Knitting Group

Wednesdays @ 6–7 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 programs@blackstonelibrary.org

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 programs@blackstonelibrary.org

 

Programs
Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care Information Session

Thursday, December 3 @ 6:30–7:30 pm

Do you know how to protect your assets should you need long-term care? It’s a fact: Just one year in a Connecticut nursing home can cost more than $162,100. Medicare and health insurance may only cover a fraction of these costs. Even if you’ve put aside money for your retirement such as through a 401(k), these assets are vulnerable should you need long-term care. Now there’s a way to protect your life’s savings. If you’re 40 or older, long-term care insurance approved by the State’s Connecticut Partnership for Long-Term Care should be part of your retirement plan. These policies assure you of the highest quality standards.  They’re affordable and provide asset protection, protect against inflation, and – most important – give you peace of mind through your retirement years. Aldo Pantano from the CT Partnership for Long-Term Care with the State Office of Policy and Management will be discussing how the State’s Partnership for Long-Term Care can help you plan ahead for your future long term care needs. No company specific products will be discussed, and there will be no sales or solicitations allowed – just information that you should know. Click here to register.

High School Diploma Information Sessions: Presented by Shoreline Adult Education

Thursdays @ 11 am or 6 pm | December 10, January 14, or February 11
Attend one of these information sessions to learn more! Shoreline Adult Education is a regional program for adults wishing to continue their education. They offer different options to earn a high school diploma. These programs are free and designed with flexibility to meet the needs of individuals in varying stages of life. Click here to register.

Little Sister: A Virtual Local Author Event

Saturday, December 12 @ 2:30–3:30 pm
A local author sheds light on her childhood experience growing up in a religious cult in the 1950s and 60s. Patricia Walsh Chadwick shares her memoir of a childhood with no access to the outside world or its influences. No contact with anyone, including family, that lived outside the community of 100 people, including 39 children. She also discusses how it felt to be evicted from the community at the age of 17 and face a world she had never been taught to believe was full of sin and danger. A tale of resilience and grace, Little Sister chronicles, in riveting prose, a surreal childhood and does so without rancor or self-pity. Click here to register.

Virtual Branford Forum: Creativity in Art and Science

Sunday, December 13, 2–3 pm
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. All presentations are 2:00 to 3:30 Sundays. For December’s meeting Corina Alvarezdelugo, the gallery director of the Ethel Walker School, and Leonard Kaczmarek, a research professor of Pharmacology and of Cellular and Molecular Physiology at Yale, will speak on Creativity in Art and Science – What Lights the Spark and Leads to Innovation? Click here to register.

Know Your Roots: Genealogy Basics with the US Census

Saturday, January 9 @ 1–2 pm
Getting started with your family history can feel overwhelming. Do you join a website? Listen to your relatives? Something else? This one hour virtual program will introduce participants to the workings of the US census. A foundational source for the research of US based ancestors, the census can allow a researcher to follow a family over time. It can also provide hints for other useful sources. Participants will access the census on the website FamilySearch.org, so that they can do further research from home. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

No Rules: A Virtual Local Author Event

Saturday, January 16 @ 1–2 pm
The Blackstone Library is pleased to host Connecticut author Sharon Dukett for a discussion of her memoir No Rules. It’s an illuminating coming-of-age story of how Sharon left home at sixteen to escape the limited life her parents have planned for her—and finds herself thrown into the 1970s counterculture, an adult world for which she is unprepared. Click here to register.

Making a Successful Career Pivot in Post Pandemic Times

Saturday, January 23 @ 1–2 pm
Do you find yourself thinking: am I in the right job or career? Should I pivot internally or externally to find something better? Is there more opportunity waiting for me? Is my career safe? Learn 8 strategies to build your resilience to adjust to a career change and to evolving market demands. By the end of the presentation, you will learn ways to grow as a professional and be ready for change and opportunity. Presented by Mark Danaher. Click here to register.

Nourishing the Nervous System: Herbs for Stress and Anxiety 

Thursday, January 28 @ 6–7 pm
We could all use a little stress relief these days. Luckily, the plants are here to help! Join Nora Toomey, Clinical Herbalist of True Bloom, for a dive deep into a handful of plants that nourish and support the nervous system. In this one-hour program, you will learn plant actions and energetics, as well as practical applications and preparations of various plants that prevent and relieve anxiety. Twenty participants will receive a relaxing tea blend, so you can begin your relationship to these plants and jump-start your home apothecary! Tea blends must be picked up at the Blackstone Library in Branford and are first come first serve. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

The Beatles: From Liverpool to Abbey Road

Saturday, February 6 @ 2–3 pm
Rock historian Vincent Bruno will give this talk that follows in the footsteps of The Beatles as they embark on their historic journey starting from their early days as a cover band in Liverpool and Hamburg, into the excitement of Beatlemania, including concert performances, and films, through their creative ground breaking studio albums (Rubber Soul, Revolver, Sgt. Peppers) to the formation of Apple Corps and finally to their remarkable final recordings at Abbey Road Studios. Coming full circle, we will explore the highlights of each individual’s post Beatles work.  Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

Beyond the Amistad: Black History in Connecticut

Saturday, February 13 @ 2–3 pm
The Connecticut Historical Society will take you on a tour of items from their collection representing a spectrum of the Black experience in CT. You’ll learn about a Harlem Renaissance writer, Ann Petry, who carefully preserved artifacts chronicling the black community of Saybrook. Examine daguerreotypes by Augustus Washington, who abandoned a successful Hartford photography business to build a new nation in Africa. Browse through the photo album of a Hollywood actress who became a champion of labor rights for black entertainers. Marvel at the gorgeous costumes created by CT’s West Indian community for their annual MAS celebration, and see artifacts documenting the Civil Rights movement in our state. Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

What Should I Grow in My Medicinal Herb Garden?

Saturday, February 20 @ 2–3 pm
Get a head start on your spring gardening with the mother daughter duo from Grounded Goodwife! The right herbal “superstars” can treat common ailments like colds and flu, inflammation, minor cuts, infections, pain, muscle spasms, anxiety, poor digestion, and insomnia. But where should you begin? How do you even start a medicinal herb garden? It’s a question many people ask, normally out of fear of getting it wrong, or growing something that could poison their family. Starting your herb garden isn’t as overwhelming as you may thing—and spending time in a medicinal herb garden is healing by its very existence! Sponsored by the Friends of the Blackstone Library. Click here to register.

 

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