First Wednesdays Lecture Series

Free talks on the first Wednesday of the month, October through May.

Middlebury First Wednesdays

Venue: Ilsley Public Library

75 Main Street, Middlebury
Library phone: (802) 388-4095
Library website
Directions to the library


Statewide Underwriters: The Institute of Museum & Library Services through the Vermont Department of Libraries; The Alma Gibbs Donchian Foundation.

Series Underwriter: The Residence at Otter Creek

Program Underwriters: A Friend of the Series; The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Pulitzer Prizes; Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Nancy Linkroum Pennell; Tapia & Huckabay, P.C.

Library Sponsors: Friends of the Ilsley Public Library

Pre-Register for Talks

Please note: due to the Covid-19 crisis, the October, November, and December 2020 First Wednesdays talks will only be offered online, via Zoom. Advance registration is required for these events.

Wed 02

*DIGITAL* Friends with Academic Benefits: How College Friendship Networks Matter

December 2
7:00 pm
For her book "Connecting in College," Dartmouth professor Janice McCabe examined 82 students’ friendships over five years. Challenging views of friendships as either helping or harming, McCabe will show how and for whom friends help and hinder. (Pre-registration required.) Read More »
Wed 06

How to Read Chinese Poetry (If You Can’t Read Chinese): The Case of Ezra Pound

January 6, 2021
7:00 pm
In 1915, Ezra Pound published a collection of early “translations” of Chinese poetry that took the poetic world by storm. However, Pound didn’t know a word of Chinese. Middlebury professor Timothy Billings deciphered the manuscripts that Pound used as “cheat sheets,” and shares his discoveries. Read More »
Tue 02

Andy Warhol’s Animal Advocacy

February 2, 2021
7:00 pm
Contrary to his reputation as a mechanical figure, Andy Warhol was a biocentric artist with a deep interest in non-human life. Author Anthony Grudin examines this contradiction, which has been overlooked by most of the artist’s commentators. Read More »
Wed 03

US Immigration Policy in Historical Perspective

March 3, 2021
7:00 pm
It may seem that the current anxieties about immigration in the US have never been more intense, but history suggests otherwise. Dartmouth professor Richard Wright examines the present-day contradictions of US immigration policy and places them in historical perspective. Read More »
Wed 07

On Athletes and Activists

April 7, 2021
7:00 pm
Sports have a clear relationship to American culture. And social science gravitates toward an analysis of cultural issues like race, class, gender, and politics. Jack and Jamie McCallum address both perspectives in an unusual collaboration. Read More »
Wed 05

From Politics to Poetry

May 5, 2021
7:00 pm
As the first woman governor for the State of Vermont and the holder of other prestigious positions, Madeleine Kunin has inspired women and girls to discover their own voices as leaders. Governor Kunin will speak about her life in politics and read from her newest book of poetry. Read More »

Printed Middlebury First Wednesdays brochure

Download the 2020-2021 Middlebury Schedule (PDF)