UPDATE: With Foul Weather Coming, Library’s Speakeasy Rescheduled for March 25

UPDATE 10:30 a.m. Wednesday: New Canaan Library has rescheduled Thursday’s planned speakeasy due to the snow and sleet that’s expected to hit the town and region overnight. The new date is Wednesday, March 25, 6 to 8:30 p.m.

Original Article

New Canaan businesses are gearing up for the kickoff event for this year’s One Book New Canaan initiative: the speakeasy at New Canaan Library, set for 6 to 8:30 p.m. Thursday (register here). Conceived in the spirit of the library’s chosen book for this year—Bill Bryson’s nonfiction “One Summer: America 1927,” which spotlights Prohibition, as well as Charles Lindbergh’s virgin flight across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth’s 60-home run season and other cultural milestones—the speakeasy features all local businesses, library officials say. That’s an important part of this event and the larger initiative, since One Book New Canaan “is a community read,” said Community Engagement Library Jocelyn Glatthorn. “I wanted to showcase our New Canaan businesses and all the participants in this event are local businesses and institutions,” she said.

New Canaan’s First Selectman, Library Director Give Away Donated Copies of ‘One Summer: America 1927’ for ‘One Book New Canaan’

First Selectman Rob Mallozzi has plenty of personal reasons to embrace this year’s “One Book New Canaan” selection. He’s already started Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America 1927,” a work of nonfiction chosen by New Canaan Library for the community-wide reading program, and plans to finish it while on vacation during Feb break next week. “So far, it’s a fascinating look at the hoopla and significance surrounding Lindbergh’s flight to Paris,” Mallozzi said. “As a history major, I love the book so far. Can’t wait to read more.”

And there’s this: Mallozzi’s own father attender Baker School in Darien with one of Lindbergh’s sons in the 1930s and early-‘40s.

Coming Soon to New Canaan: Lindy Hop, Speakeasy and Rhinebeck Aerodrome

New Canaan Library has made its “One Book New Canaan” selection for this year—a work of nonfiction that “brings splendidly to life,” one prominent reviewer said, the people and events of the summer of 1927. In creating a series of community events designed to help New Canaanites connect with Bill Bryson’s “One Summer: America 1927,” and each other, the library will convert its Adrian Lamb Room for one night into a speakeasy—accessible by password and complete with black wallpaper, sawdust and bunting. Said Programming Librarian Erinn Paige: “1920s dress is optional, but I think a lot of fringe is in our future.”

“One Book New Canaan” will launch and run through the month of March, and dozens of copies of Bryson’s book are available now (see here). The idea behind “One Book” is to create a platform, through programming, where people of all ages and interests can engage with a single story, Paige said. “We at the library are a community hub that provide that space for that conversation that then goes back home to the dinner table, back out into the community, so different people who might not always run into each other have that kernel of something they shared, something interesting that they learned at the library, or learned in that book.”

Bryson’s book was chosen in part, Paige said, because it looks at “so many different aspects of American history at a time when we were poised to be the world power that, in many ways, used to be Europe.”

“You used to look to Europe for technological innovation at that time, for the benchmark for good financial practice or financial practice that would really impact the world.

Talking to New Canaan Library About ‘One Book New Canaan’


Starting in early February, New Canaan Library coordinated and led a town-wide reading project and no one really knew how it’d go. Designed to get New Canaanites all reading the same book for a concentrated period of time, “One Book New Canaan” saw town residents of all ages pick up a copy of Nathaniel Philbrick’s award-winning “In the Heart of the Sea: the Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex.” (It’s a nonfiction account of the 1821 whaling tragedy that helped inspire Herman Melville’s “Moby Dick.”)

In the past six weeks, the library has hosted events connected to One Book New Canaan, including two book talks on “In the Heart of the Sea.” And at 7 p.m. Friday at New Canaan High School auditorium (register here), Philbrick himself will come and speak to our town. We caught up with New Canaan Library Programming Director Susan LaPerla to talk about the townwide reading initiative, and she told us some interesting things that the library discovered through the process of running One Book New Canaan—including a great suggestion from our town’s youth about a topic we could take up for a future project. Here’s our conversation, and we include some information about Philbrick himself at the end:


New Canaanite: We’re approaching the end of One Book New Canaan here in its inaugural year. How did it go?