Wilton Library and Wilton Public Schools collaborate on community read this spring

Wilton Library announces The Tattooist of Auschwitz as the book selection for Wilton Reads 2019, the library’s town-wide reading program. The #1 New York Times Bestseller by author Heather Morris is historical fiction based on the life of Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov. It is a tale of hope, courage and survival in the face of horrors of the Holocaust. The book will provide a central theme for discussions on the Holocaust and the lessons to be learned by the events of WWII.

Elaine Tai-Lauria, Executive Director of Wilton Library remarked, “With each passing day, we are losing the oral histories of Holocaust survivors and that cumulative voice of the generation that lived through World War II. Indeed, with the appearance of anti-Semitic symbols over the past few years, it seems that intolerance is seeping from the shadows. As they say: ‘Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’  It is therefore essential that we keep history alive and to pass on the learning to future generations.”

Guided by the library's mission to "inform, connect, enrich and inspire our community,” Tai-Lauria formed a committee within the library to bring a slate of programs together. She also reached out to Dr. Kevin Smith, Superintendent of Wilton Public Schools, to collaborate on bringing awareness of the Holocaust to the community. 

Dr. Smith noted, “Elaine approached me some time ago about collaborating on the library’s Wilton Reads program, so when she and Fran Kompar, Director of Digital Learning for the school district, started working on this initiative, I was on board immediately. Tolerance and acceptance are such mainstays of our teaching that the lessons about the Holocaust help remind us what can happen when communities forget these important tenets.”

The library’s programming plans are being finalized and will include book discussions, a Holocaust survivor talk, an art presentation, a Wilton Clergy Association program, a concert featuring music written by Holocaust victims, a poetry seminar, documentary films, artifacts from World War II including a viewing of a surviving Torah and more.  Tai-Lauria has also reached out to several other local organizations that welcomed the opportunity to be community partners on this initiative.

The school district plans are coming together with the district’s teachers being invited to participate in this undertaking. With many grades teaching the Holocaust as a regular part of the curriculum, there will be complementing programs, classes and book recommendations coordinated with Wilton Library staff and WPS faculty. The high school’s upper grades will be reading the “Wilton Reads” selection.    

The library’s efforts will kick off with free copies of The Tattooist of Auschwitz being given away courtesy of Fairfield County Bank.  Books will be given out on Wednesday, February 27, from 10 to 11 a.m.; books will be held in reserve for an evening giveaway on the same date, from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. all while supplies last.  

The author will be visiting Wilton Library for the culmination of the library’s and schools’ programming on Thursday, April 11, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. As is the custom with Wilton Reads authors, Heather Morris will be recognized by the library with the Grodin Family Fine Writers Award during her appearance.

Details on all of Wilton Library’s programming will be on the library’s website at www.wiltonlibrary.org by the end of January. The school district’s programming details may be found by visiting http://wiltonps.org.

This is the library’s thirteenth Wilton Reads community reading selection. The program originated in 2001 with the reading of To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee.  The media sponsor for Wilton Reads is GOOD Morning Wilton.

Wilton Library is located at 137 Old Ridgefield Road in the heart of Wilton Center. Library hours are Mondays through Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. For information and directions, visit www.wiltonlibrary.org or call 203-762-6334.


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