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Rutland Free Library

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10 Court St
Rutland, VT 05701 United States

March 2016

America’s Challenges in a New World Order

March 2, 2016
7:00 pm
Image of American flag in China

America is no longer the unchallenged superpower of the post-Cold War years. Distinguished veteran diplomat George Jaeger considers our need to rethink our world role and national priorities. Read More »


May 2016

Joseph Pulitzer and the American Republic

May 4, 2016
7:00 pm

Boston College professor Heather Cox Richardson explores Pulitzer’s remarkable life—his work in newspapers pushing clean government and middle-class values, his invention of a new kind of journalism, and his major role in creating the world we live in today. Read More »

June 2016

The Shawshank Experience

June 1, 2016
7:00 pm
Drawing of characters from Shawshank Redemption

UVM professor Tony Magistrale discusses how literature is adapted to film and explores how The Shawshank Redemption (1994), adapted from a Stephen King novella, became, according to IMDb rankings, the most popular motion picture ever. (Rescheduled from February.) Read More »


October 2016

The Beatles: Band of the Sixties

October 5, 2016
7:00 pm

In this multimedia presentation, Beatles music scholar Aaron Kreurowicz explores the band’s music beginning with the band's seminal visits to Hamburg and continuing through Beatlemania to Abbey Road. Read More »


November 2016

American Democracy and the Woman Question

November 2, 2016
7:00 pm

Dartmouth history professor Leslie Butler considers how, long before women had the right to vote, scrutiny of newly democratic America in the nineteenth century provoked debates over the place of women in the polity and in American political thought. Read More »


December 2016

If You Don’t Want Your Slave to Speak Freely, You Should Also Forbid Him to Sing!

December 7, 2016
7:00 pm
Image of Francois Clemmons

In this performance lecture, Middlebury College Artist-in-Residence Dr. Francois Clemmons illustrates how the Negro Spiritual grew out of slaves’ experiences. Read More »


January 2017

Grandma Moses: American Modern

January 4, 2017
7:00 pm

In this illustrated lecture, Shelburne Museum director Thomas Denenberg explores the work of beloved painter Anna Mary Robertson “Grandma” Moses (1860-1961) and counters her marginalization as a pop culture phenomenon by placing her career within the context of mid-century American culture and modernist art. Read More »


March 2017

What We Learn When We Learn about History

March 1, 2017
7:00 pm
Image of Abraham Lincoln

Henry Ford famously said, “History is more or less bunk.” Author, historian, and professor Woden Teachout discusses why history does matter, exploring the intellectual skills and larger cultural understandings that come from studying the past. Read More »


April 2017

Life in the Studio

April 5, 2017
7:00 pm
Image of cartoon drawing of an artist

David Macaulay, award-winning author and illustrator of Castle, Cathedral, and The Way We Work, discusses current projects and challenges. Read More »


May 2017

What the Buddhists Teach: Finding Clarity in Everyday Life

May 3, 2017
7:00 pm
Image of Buddha and hills

How do we develop mindfulness and a compassionate optimism about a highly imperfect world? Author Dr. Polly Young-Eisendrath discusses the Buddhist model for remaining fully engaged in the ups and downs of everyday life. Read More »


April 2018

Reinventing the Family Home

April 4, 2018
7:00 pm
Image of small home

Middlebury College professor Erin Sassin examines how American reformers and homeowners have, in pursuit of “the simple life,” attempted to reinvent the form and idea of the single-family home, from farmhouses and communal experiments to the current tiny house phenomenon. Read More »


Science and Democracy

April 16, 2018
7:00 pm

The scientific method has been heralded as inherently democratic, but with scientists carrying a kind of authority based on their specialized knowledge, the relationship between science and democracy is more complex. Middlebury professor Heidi Grasswick examines the challenges of integrating the goals of democracy with the practices of science. Read More »


May 2018

“A Republic, If You Can Keep It…”

May 2, 2018
7:00 pm
Image of preamble to the Constitution

After the Constitutional Convention Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government we had. His famous reply speaks to the fragility of our constitutional form of government. Middlebury Professor Emeritus of Political Science Eric Davis explores how the brilliant foundational concepts established in 1787 remain just as essential—and fragile—today. Read More »


October 2018

The British Monarchy: Politics, Money, and Public Image

October 3, 2018
7:00 pm
Image of Megan Markle and the prince

Americans were fascinated by the British royal family long before Meghan Markle, but few have understood its history. What role has the monarchy played in the British constitution? How is it financed, and how important is its public image? Middlebury professor Paul Monod addresses these questions. Read More »


November 2018

Bread and Roses, Too

November 7, 2018
7:00 pm
Image of children walking in parade

Acclaimed children’s book author Katherine Paterson discusses her novel of historical fiction that tells the story of the 1912 “Bread and Roses” strike in the Lawrence, Massachusetts textile mills through the eyes of an Italian-American girl and a runaway boy. Read More »

December 2018

Objectivity in the Fake News Era

December 5, 2018
7:00 pm
Image of protester with fake news banner

VPR host Jane Lindholm offers ways for listeners to ensure that the news they are getting is accurate, and for news organizations to safeguard their reporting as fair and correct. Read More »


January 2019

Hamilton: The Man and the Musical

January 2, 2019
7:00 pm
Image of Alexander Hamilton

From his birth in the Caribbean to death in a duel, Alexander Hamilton's life was part romance, part tragedy—and the inspiration for the blockbuster Broadway musical. Hamilton biographer Willard Sterne Randall discusses the man and the musical, with excerpts from its score. Read More »


February 2019

The Invention of History

February 6, 2019
7:00 pm
Image of the Parthenon

There was a time when the idea of writing history didn’t exist. Middlebury professor Jane Chaplin describes the inception of history, which we owe to two extraordinary Greeks, Herodotus and Thucydides, a fascinating story whether one is interested in history or not. Read More »


March 2019

Outlaw Women

March 6, 2019
7:00 pm
Image of female symbol on wall

Feminist writers around the world have constructed characters that resist dominant power structures. Middlebury assistant professor Catharine Wright discusses several such figures in fiction and memoir and considers the politics of our own reading practices. Read More »


April 2019

Einstein in a Nutshell

April 3, 2019
7:00 pm
Image of Albert Einstein

Einstein’s most famous contribution to science—his theory of relativity—is based on an idea so simple it can be stated in one sentence. Yet from that simple idea, explains Middlebury professor Richard Wolfson, follow conclusions that have revolutionized our notions of space, time, and causality. Read More »


May 2019

Civility and Its Discontents

May 1, 2019
7:00 pm
Image of President Obama and John Boehner

While many pundits lament the death of civility in American politics, others argue that a commitment to civility minimizes our differences in the name of public nicety. Middlebury religion professor James Davis explains why civility is essential for a well-ordered democracy. Read More »


October 2019

So This Happened: A Comic Confronts Cancer

October 2, 2019
7:00 pm
Comedian Josie Leavitt

In early 2018, award-winning comic and storyteller Josie Leavitt was diagnosed with breast cancer. In her solo show "So This Happened," she takes the audience on her almost year-long cancer journey, pulling no punches in an intimate performance about her treatment. Read More »


November 2019

Photography as Social Justice

November 6, 2019
7:00 pm

In conjunction with her 45-year career retrospective exhibition at Castleton University, Dona Ann McAdams sits down with curator John Killacky to discuss her work, and shows her empathetic black-and-white portraits of performing artists, AIDS activists, political protests, people living with schizophrenia, Appalachian farmers, cloistered nuns, and others. Read More »


December 2019

The Other America II

December 4, 2019
7:00 pm

Using as inspiration Martin Luther King, Jr.’s 1967 speech “The Other America,” author Mitchell S. Jackson reflects on his childhood in a poor, black community in Portland, Oregon—where he witnessed drug use, gang violence, and sexual exploitation—and reveals how he transformed despair into hope. Read More »


January 2020

How to Read a Renaissance Portrait

January 8, 2020
7:00 pm

Renaissance portraits were serious undertakings, carefully crafted to indicate wealth, status, interests, trade, and family ties of the subject. Dartmouth professor Jane Carroll leads a visual exploration of the messages encoded in these portraits. Read More »


February 2020

Daybreak Express: Duke Ellington’s Train-Inspired Compositions

February 5, 2020
7:00 pm
Duke Ellington at the piano

Reuben Jackson, jazz scholar and former host of VPR’s Friday Night Jazz, shares some evocative Ellington recordings and discusses Ellington's love for trains and the role they played in his orchestra's work in the then-segregated United States. Read More »


March 2020

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

March 4, 2020
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 »


May 2020

**POSTPONED** Edward Gorey’s Morbid Nonsense

May 7, 2020
7:00 pm
Illustration of family at dinner table with vulture

Critics never knew quite what to make of Edward Gorey (1925-2000), the author and illustrator whose picture books full of murder, mayhem, and discreet depravity influenced Tim Burton, Lemony Snicket, and Guillermo Del Toro. In this illustrated lecture, cultural critic Mark Dery reveals the surprisingly serious themes woven through Gorey’s whimsically sinister work. Read More »


October 2020

*DIGITAL* Night Moves: Discovering the Wonders of Bird Migration

October 7, 2020
7:00 pm
Outlines of birds in darkening sky

Many of us are dazzled by autumn colors during the daytime. But we can be just as dazzled by the night moves of thousands of birds passing quietly overhead during their fall migration. Join “bird diva” Bridget Butler to discover this almost-silent world. (Pre-registration required.) Read More »


November 2020

*DIGITAL* Emma Willard: Early Female Education and the Campaign for Women’s Suffrage

November 4, 2020
7:00 pm
Emma Willard stone carving

Emma Willard founded the first school for women’s higher education in the United States. Saint Michael’s professor Susan Ouellette describes how the opportunities provided by Willard’s schools laid the groundwork for the early suffrage movement. (Pre-registration required.) Read More »


December 2020

*DIGITAL* Celebrating E. B. White

December 2, 2020
7:00 pm
Young girl reading EB White's Charlotte's Web

From Charlotte’s Web to his exquisite essays in The New Yorker, E.B. White remains the master’s master of elegant prose, sophisticated wit, and graceful irreverence. (Pre-registration required.) Read More »


January 2021

*DIGITAL* China’s Belt and Road Initiative

January 13
7:00 pm
Large shipping containers on barges

In making infrastructure developments and investments in nearly 70 countries, China is seeking to restructure the world economy and energetically expand its global influence. Derek Boothby, explores the breadth and depth of this massive global initiative, and considers what it might mean for America’s future. (Pre-registration required.) Read More »


February 2021

*DIGITAL* Shakespeare and the History of Fish

February 3
7:00 pm
Painting of Miranda looking out at shipwreck

The works of Shakespeare are full of salty metaphors that reveal a profound familiarity with the ocean and its creatures. Middlebury professor Daniel Brayton discusses the role of the sea in Renaissance literary culture in general and in Shakespeare’s plays in particular. (Registration required.) Read More »


March 2021

*DIGITAL* A History of the Concept of Race

March 3
7:00 pm
Four different faces forming a single image

The first European to divide the people of the world into distinct races did so in the 17th century. This bizarre categorization developed into one of the most historically significant ideas of the modern world. Marlboro professor William Edelglass traces the intellectual history of the concept of race in the West, from its prehistory to today. (Registration required.) Read More »


April 2021

*DIGITAL* Nerds and Geeks: A New Update on an Old Idea

April 7
7:00 pm
Nerdy woman looking up at blackboard

American anti-intellectualism has a long and colorful history, but the triumph of Silicon Valley laid these prejudices to rest...or did it? Professor of psychology David Anderegg explores whether we really love nerds and geeks now. (Registration required.) Read More »


May 2021

*DIGITAL* Compassion and Its Aftermaths

May 5
7:00 pm
Man on subway platform holding "seeking human kindness" sign

How does one develop compassion, and what should one do when feeling it? Dartmouth professor Irene Kacandes explores these questions and examines how we can take action even when our movements are severely limited, such as during the Covid-19 pandemic. Registration required. Read More »


October 2021

*DIGITAL* Global Food Sovereignty, from Resilience to Reclamation

October 6
7:00 pm
Native American woman with two sheep in a pasture

The global food system is marked by Black land loss, the dispossession of Indigenous territory, and violence against land defenders. But grassroots movements around the world are building communities of care against these harmful systems. Foodways researcher Veronica Limeberry describes how these communities honor the sovereignty of their peoples and ecologies. Read More »

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