Adults’ Featured Events

Social Security 101 Workshop with SSA Public Affairs Specialist Benjamin Rhodes

Thursday, May 6th at 1 p.m. via Zoom. Registration required.
Want to find out how to get the most from your social security benefits? Do you qualify for disability, survivors and spouse benefits? How does early retirement affect your benefits? Answers to these questions and more will be provided by Benjamin Rhodes III, Metropolitan Public Affairs Specialist with the Social Security Administration.

Come learn about taking your benefits at age 62 vs. your full retirement age as well as when and how to enroll in Medicare, working in retirement and more. You will also learn about all the services that can be completed at Social Security’s website,

Rhodes will show attendees how to use My Social Security online account and other online services. Before attending the workshop, please go to and print out your Social Security Statement.

Zoom registration link:

Centerbrook LogoCenterbrook Architects Lecture Series Presents Dr. Chuck Benson with “Great Iconic Residential Architecture of The 20th Century”

Friday, May 14th at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration required.
Architectural historian Dr. Chuck Benson returns to present a virtual illustrated talk focusing on such architectural masters as Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra, E. Stewart Williams, & Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Some of their most unforgettable designs include the Kaufmann Desert House, the Edris House, the Farnsworth House, and “Wingspread”, all undeniable masterpieces. Benson will further discuss why these were selected – rather than other choices for this century of great modern residential design.

Dr. Benson has been teaching Art and Architectural History for more than twenty-five years at various universities and has led groups to explore iconic places and buildings in America, Europe, and elsewhere. His lecture credits include MOMA, Getty Museum in Los Angeles, and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston. He studied the history of art and architecture at Yale, and holds advanced degrees from Columbia University.

Zoom registration link:

Jazz And The Civil Rights Movement with Galen Abdur-Razzaq

Thursday, May 20th at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration required.
Professional flautist and music educator Galen Abdur-Razzaq highlights prominent artists, their music, and their influence on the evolution of jazz on May 20 at 7 p.m. The program begins with a flute prelude performed by Galen and continues with pre-recorded musical examples that illustrate how the genre became an advocate for the Civil Rights Movement. Music lovers and history buffs alike will enjoy the entertaining and enlightening program sponsored by Essex Library Association, Granby Public Library, Edith Wheeler Memorial Library, Goshen Public Library, and Mansfield Public Library.

Galen is an extraordinary flautist with an extensive performance career. He is also a riveting speaker on the topic of jazz and its historical significance. Galen has performed at colleges and universities for over thirty years and more recently, has offered his performances and lectures via virtual programming. His goal is to offer an understanding and appreciation of jazz and its historical importance – a true American heritage.

He holds a Master’s Degree from Rutgers University in Education and Performing Arts, and studied music at Berklee School of Music in Boston. A recording artist, composer, arranger, and educator, his performance portfolio includes such greats as Billy Taylor, Sonny Phillips, Gwen Guthrie, Jimmy Heath, Melba Moore, and Sun Ra.

To register, please email Ann Thompson at

Centerbrook LogoCenterbrook Architects Lecture Series with Architectural Historian Dr. Theodore Sawruk: “The Italianate Villa: Reconsidering the American Family”

Image: Philip Chapin House (1867) New Hartford, CT

Friday, June 4th at 7 p.m. on Zoom. Registration required.
As early as 1700, the Connecticut River supported a thriving maritime and shipbuilding trade and served to maintain commercial connections between Boston, Providence, and New York City. The later addition of a rail system only served to ease and encourage travel between these industrial centers. By the 1840s, numerous wealthy families, seeking refuge from urban crowds, pollution, and summer heat, built private retreats in towns along the river. From Old Saybrook to Hartford, the area soon supported numerous examples of the fashionable Italianate style.

This innovative design was derived from the melding of traditional European aesthetics with a technical understanding of passive solar design. Drawing on lessons learned from African slaves in the southern states, the Italianate villa with its wrap-around-porch, open plan, and roof-top cupola realized a layering of activity spaces, transitioning from public exterior to private interior, all while providing naturally ventilated accommodations.

Ted Sawruk will discuss how, with this new residential prototype, 19th-century social life evolved, and with these changes, the American nuclear family came into existence. A new interpretation of family, the conception of our leisurely bucolic, suburban lifestyle owes much of its conception to the Italianate Villa.

Zoom registration link:

On-Going Programs

bereavement groupBereavement Support Group

1st and 3rd Tuesdays at 5 p.m. on Zoom
Grieving is tough – but you don’t have to go it alone. The Essex Library is now hosting a Bereavement Support Group, with leadership provided by Reverend Ken Peterkin, Pastor at the First Congregational Church in Essex. The group is free and open to all. If you’re struggling with loss – of a spouse, a parent or other family member, or a close friend – please consider coming to a meeting; sometimes just having a place to share our feelings makes them easier to bear. No advance registration is necessary, and drop-ins are welcome.

Zoom meeting link:

Meeting ID: 895 4211 1953
Passcode: 626715

Additional bereavement resources may be found at the Center for Hospice Care Southeast Connecticut:

Alzheimer Caregiver’s Support Group

The Alzheimer Caregiver’s Support Group has been placed on temporary hold until further notice. We look forward to resuming at a later date.

Caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging. To help people who care for those with Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association Connecticut Chapter facilitates about 90 support groups around the state. The Essex Library is honored to collaborate with AACC in hosting a monthly caregivers support group which offers caregivers a place to share, learn and feel welcomed. People talk about their experiences and offer suggestions to deal with topics including medical, legal, behavioral and financial problems. The trained group facilitator is there to listen, help guide the conversation and to provide information about resources in the community. This support group is FREE and open to the public.

24/7 Helpline: (800) 272-3900

Score LogoSCORE At The Library

The Southeastern Connecticut chapter of SCORE provides free and confidential advice on starting and growing small businesses. Appointments must be scheduled in advance, either by calling 860-388-9508 or downloading a request form. SCORE is also offering information and assistance with the Paycheck Protection Program and SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loan program.


Instructions for Using Zoom

You do not need to have a Zoom account to join the Library’s Zoom meetings. To connect with video, you will need to be connected to the Internet, either from a computer, iPad or cell phone. A link for each meeting will be provided in the monthly newsletters and on the Library’s website. All library programs and meetings offered on Zoom are moderated by library staff and are recorded; the library does not offer Zoom recordings to the public.The Library records all programs and reports all Zoombombing, attempted Zoombombing, and/or misuse of our public programming platform to federal and local law enforcement.

For more detailed instructions see: Instructions on Using Zoom, a free video-conferencing software.

To Connect with a Computer:

To Join a Zoom Meeting from your computer, click the links provided for each meeting, OR

  1. Go to
  2. Click on ‘Join A Meeting’ located in the upper right area of the screen
  3. Type the meeting number in the window then click ‘JOIN’
  4. A ‘Launch Application’ window will appear
  5. Click ‘Open link’

If you have trouble getting the Zoom meeting to open, please be sure to use the Chrome, Safari, or Internet Explorer browser. To download Google Chrome to your device, see instructions here:

To Connect with an iPad or iPhone:

  1. Download the Zoom app from the App Store, located here:
  2. Click the link provided for the meeting

To Connect with an Android device:

  1. Download the Zoom app for Android, located here:
  2. Click the link provided for the meeting

To Connect with a land line phone:

If you’re joining the meeting by phone, call this number: 1 (646) 558-8656. Once you’re connected, then dial the meeting ID number to join the meeting.

Curbside Pickup Available

The Essex Library is currently offering Contact free pickup. In-person browsing, borrowing and computer services are also available. To reserve a book for Park and Pickup, call us at (860) 767-1560 or email us at

Thank You for Your Support!