In February and March, The Simsbury Free Library (SFL) will continue its drop in book club, documentary and foreign language film offerings, and Genealogy Road Show program. In addition, the SFL has set the dates for its final two “Connecticut History in Four Episodes” lectures. For all events, RSVPs are requested via email (email@example.com) or phone (860-408-1336).
Genealogy Road Show
Saturday February 8, and Saturday, March 8, 2014, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m.
If you are researching your family tree, but don’t know where else to look to find your missing ancestors, bring in your tree. Genealogy librarian Diane LeMay can help with deciphering handwriting, online research, Massachusetts and French-Canadian research, and much more. Free to members; $5 for non-members.
Drop In Book Club, Tuesday, February 11, 2014, 11:15 a.m.
Tolstoy and the Purple Chair by Nina Sankovitch. The book chronicles the author’s quest to read a book a day for a whole year in an effort to heal from her sister’s death three years earlier. She has rules for the books she reads: 1” spine, no repeat reads or authors, etc. and blogs about her reviews of the books.
Drop In Book Club, Tuesday, March 11, 2014, 11:15 a.m.
The Great Gatsby is F. Scott Fitzgerald’s literary classic set in the fictional town of West Egg in the summer of 1922. The story revolves around mysterious millionaire Jay Gatsby and his passion for beautiful Daisy Buchanan.
There is no need to join the SFL Book Club. Simply “drop in” when there is a title of interest.
Foreign Film, Thursday, February 27, 2014, 1:00 p.m.
Monsieur Lazhar. A 2011 Academy Award nominee for Best Foreign Language Film, the film tells the story of an Algerian immigrant who offers his services as a substitute teacher after the death of a favorite teacher. From the Miami Herald: “Leaves you hopeful and exhilarated.”
Foreign Film, Thursday, March 27, 2014, 1:00 p.m.
War Witch. Nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, the film tells the story of a 12 year old girl who is kidnapped and forced into a life of guerilla warfare by rebel soldiers. She and her older albino friend escape their brutal captors and are able to live a peaceful life for the first time. Sadly their freedom is short-lived and she must confront the ghosts of her past. The New York Times called it “mesmerizing.”
Connecticut History in Four Episodes
Join the SFL for a series of lectures exploring Connecticut’s rich historical past, covering our history from 200 million years ago to modern times, with a focus on the process of change – how we evolved from Native American landscape to Puritan colonies, from Puritan to Yankee, from Yankee to American, from farm community to mill village, and from textiles, clocks, and guns to the “arsenal of democracy.”
The third and fourth lectures in this series are:
• Tuesday, March 18, 2014, 1:00 p.m. “Yankee Ingenuity: Our Industrial Heritage (1767-1980)”
• Tuesday, April 1, 2014, 1:00 p.m. “Not So Steady Habits: Changing Demographics (1820-1950)”
The first two lectures, “The Face of Connecticut: From Proto-North America through the Colonial Era (2 million years ago – 1763)” and “The Provision State: From the Revolution to the New Constitution (1763-1818)” can be viewed at
www.simsburytv.org by searching for History of Connecticut.
About the Speaker
Tom Ratliff is a former English and Social Studies teacher who writes historical fiction for young adults. An expert on Connecticut History and the Civil War, he has a master’s degree in Early American History.
Mr. Ratcliff is the co-author of the six-volume Matty Trescott series (written with Carole Shmurak under the pen name Carroll Thomas), and has written non-fiction books for young readers on the Civil War, the Pony Express, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the American Revolution, as well as graphic novelizations of Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Last of the Mohicans, and Jack London’s White Fang. His serialized stories for young readers have been published through the Newspapers in Education program in several states.
For the past 20 years, Mr. Ratliff has taught at Central Connecticut State University in both the History and Secondary Education Departments. Currently he is teaching online for the community college system and writing a book about Connecticut’s role in the American Revolution.
About the Simsbury Free Library
The Simsbury Free Library (the Simsbury Genealogical and Historical Research Library) opened on the second floor of the Hopmeadow District School in 1874. In 1890, the Library’s collection was moved to its present location at 749 Hopmeadow Street in Simsbury. Today the Simsbury Free Library (SFL) seeks to promote interest in genealogy and history by providing access to research material and expertise, artifacts, and educational and cultural programs. It seeks to help patrons connect with the past and to learn from and be inspired by those who have gone before them. The SFL provides a relaxed setting in which people can pursue family research history at their own pace. For everyone from seasoned genealogy veterans to beginners, the SFL has the staff and resources necessary to help visitors develop the skills required to create family trees, search local histories, look up census records, explore vital records, etc.
The Simsbury Free Library – the Gracious Yellow Lady – is open Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and the second and fourth Saturdays of the month from 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m. as well as by appointment. For more information, visit
www.simsburyfreelibrary.org, call (860) 408-1336.