First Wednesdays Lecture Series

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

Rutland First Wednesdays

Venue: Rutland Free Library

10 Court Street Library, Rutland
Library phone: (802) 773-1860
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.

Program Underwriters: Jim Alic, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Pulitzer Prizes, Peter Gilbert Endowment Fund, The Marble Valley Regional Correctional Facility, Middlebury College and The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Nancy Linkroum Pennell, Phyllis Wells

Library Underwriters: Friends of Rutland Free Library

Wed 03

The Refugee Journey

November 3
7:00 pm
Putney’s Sandglass Theatre helped create the board game “Refugee Journey,” which illustrates the challenges of refugees attempting to find safety. In the game, trained facilitators personify border guards, smugglers, and immigration officers as players draw cards describing actual refugee experiences. Sandglass members talk about the impact of the game as audience members are invited to play. Read More »
Wed 01

Responsible Investing: One Tool in the Toolbox to Fight Climate Change

December 1
7:00 pm
We need to use every means at our disposal to alter the current trajectory of climate change and stave off the most devastating effects of a warming planet. Financial services professional Joy Facos explains that responsible investing—along with innovation, creativity, compassion, and hope—can serve as an effective instrument of change. Read More »
Wed 05

Slow Democracy and the Power of Community

January 5, 2022
7:00 pm
Author and advocate Susan Clark explains the Slow Democracy movement in which ordinary people mobilize to find local solutions to local problems. In the process some find they can bridge the “us/them” divide so prevalent in our national politics today. Read More »
Wed 02

John Lewis and RUN!

February 2, 2022
7:00 pm
Andrew Aydin, co-author of The March Trilogy with civil rights icon John Lewis, describes the creation of the next book in the series, RUN! Aydin also relates becoming an author, how he became involved in politics, and his experiences working with Congressman Lewis. Read More »
Wed 02

*DIGITAL* The Glass Ballot Box and Political Transparency, 1856-2021

March 2, 2022
7:00 pm
In response to concerns about election tampering in the 1850s, New Yorker Samuel Jollie proposed a novel solution: a ballot box made of glass. Emphasizing glass’s transparency and purity, Jollie suggested that his box would ensure fair and just elections. Middlebury professor Ellery Foutch illuminates the contemporary resonance of Jollie’s invention. (Registration required.) Read More »
Wed 06

What is Ethnographic Poetry?

April 6, 2022
7:00 pm
Cultural anthropologist Adrie Kusserow illuminates her research by sharing poems from her latest manuscript, Ethnography of a Feverish World. Kusserow focuses on refugees and the globalizing spread of Western ideals and considers how the environments we evolved to inhabit can be a mismatch for new technologies. Read More »
Wed 04

The Ethics of Vermont Eugenics: Past and Present

May 4, 2022
7:00 pm
In the name of “human betterment” a century ago, public institutions and private organizations in Vermont chose some of the state’s most marginalized persons for institutionalization, sterilization, and family separation. Harvard Medical School lecturer Charlene Galarneau explores the factors that led to Vermont’s distinct expression of eugenics, and its continuing legacies today. Read More »