First Wednesdays

Free Public Talks at Libraries around Vermont

Upcoming First Wednesdays Talks

View a list of next month’s First Wednesdays talks below. See a full list of First Wednesdays talks by date.

Wed 04

Rural America is a Big Deal

March 4
7:00 pm
Whitney Kimball Coe, coordinator of the National Rural Assembly, shows that although rural communities are hurting, they also hold a wealth of solutions for a nation struggling to fuel its economy, feed a hungry planet, and take on global issues like climate change. Read More »
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Wed 04

The Poetics of Protest in Nina Simone’s “Mississippi Goddam!”

March 4
7:00 pm
Brownell Library, Essex Junction
In 1964, Nina Simone performed the protest song "Mississippi Goddam!" at Carnegie Hall in front of mostly white audiences. When the live recording was released, many radio stations destroyed the albums. Middlebury professor Matthew Evan Taylor discusses how Simone's protest is found not only in her words, but also in the musical structure. Read More »
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Wed 04

I Am a Man: Martin Freeman, Colonization, and Identity

March 4
7:00 pm
Martin Freeman was the second black graduate of Middlebury College (1849) and the first black president of an American college. But he left to teach at Liberia College in Monrovia, Liberia. Middlebury professor Bill Hart discusses what eventually convinced Freeman that he could only experience freedom, full citizenship, and self-determination in exile in a black republic. Read More »
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Wed 04

Central Park, the Civil War, and the Creation of the National Parks

March 4
7:00 pm
The national park idea has been credited to “a wonderful and interesting group of rugged western pioneers.” But as UVM historian Rolf Diamant explains, the inspiration of Central Park, the ending of slavery, and the remaking of government during the Civil War were all critical to the establishment of our first national parks. Read More »
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Wed 04

Read to Live

March 4
7:00 pm
National Book Award winner Katherine Paterson speaks on the importance of literacy and developing a love for reading, which was the inspiration for her latest novel My Brigadista Year, the story of a Cuban teenager who volunteers for a national literacy campaign to teach others how to read. Read More »
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Wed 04

Vermont’s 183 Libraries

March 4
7:00 pm
Sharing history, trivia, and photographs, librarian Jessamyn West reflects on her quest to visit Vermont's 183 public libraries. Come learn about Vermont's live-in libraries, the history of Vermont's bookmobiles, and why there are old shoes in one library's display case. Read More »
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Wed 04

The Legacy of Nicholas Black Elk

March 4
7:00 pm
Author and ethnographer Damian Costello discusses the life of Lakota holy man Nicholas Black Elk and his famous book Black Elk Speaks. He explores how Black Elk’s understanding of Lakota philosophy can help us see the natural world as a unified whole, and how Black Elk’s hope amidst great tragedy can inform how we approach the crises of our age. Read More »
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Wed 04

Adventures in Looking at Art

March 4
7:00 pm
Artists invest considerable energy to give outward form to their inner voice. Mara Williams, curator of the Brattleboro Museum, leads an interactive exploration into how texture, palette, patina, and other elements bring to life several works of contemporary art. Read More »
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Wed 04

Come and Listen

March 4
7:00 pm
In this interactive “listening party,” archivist Andy Kolovos and producer Mary Wesley share audio clips from the Vermont Folklife Center’s archives that showcase Vermont’s past and present diversity. Read More »
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