News

Broken Catalog LInks

June 7, 2019

Because of upgrades we’ve made to our online catalog system, Polaris, you may come across some broken links for items that link to this catalog. We are working to update these links as quickly as possible. Thank you for your patience. 


The Westport Library Announces Launch of a Digital “River of Names”

May 17, 2019

Digital mural brings the “River of Names” tile donor wall
to the 21st-century

 

Westport, CT –The Westport Library announces the unveiling of the digital “River of Names,” an innovative feature of the transformed Library. The interactive “River of Names” will feature the storied tile donor wall that was originally located on the Library’s lower level prior to the renovation project. This innovative digital presentation and website will showcase Westport’s history, as well as past, current and future generations of Library supporters. The transformed “River of Names” will now provide viewers with a multifaceted content experience enabled by an interactive website linking the historic depictions in the mural to additional information about Westport’s rich history. The 43” touch-screen digital mural will be on view and accessible to all on the upper level of the Library.

“We are at an exciting time in our history,” said Iain Bruce, President of the Westport Library Board of Trustees. “While we are physically updating and improving our physical space, we are also reassessing ways in which we can make our collections and materials more accessible and engaging for all of our patrons. Taking this opportunity to present the “River of Names” in this way addresses the challenge we faced with finding an appropriate location for the wall itself in the renovated Library. This new digital mural also offers maximum accessibility, interactivity and continuity for our community today, and for generations to come.” 

When construction began on the Library’s Transformation Project in September 2017, the Library embarked on a comprehensive plan for the numerous installations, original artwork and other objects in the Library collection during the nearly two-year renovation project. One of the first phases of the plan was the removal and storage of the more than 150 works of art that had been on display throughout the Library’s public spaces, reading and program rooms and staff offices. The objects werereappraised, cleaned, photographed, packed and then transported by art handlers to a professional fine art storage location. Other pieces like the famed 1935 W.P.A. mural “Pageant of Juvenile Literature” by Westport artist Robert Lambdin, found homes at other public spaces in town like Staples High School and Town Hall.

To ensure the proper protection of all the pieces in the Library’s art collection, and to manage the considerable costs, volunteers from the Westport Arts Advisory Committee, the Westport Public Art Collection Committee, the Artists Collective of Westport, and interns from Staples High School and Norwalk High School worked together under the leadership of consultant Kathleen Motes Bennewitz, who also serves as the art curator for the town of Westport.

Among the items moved was the “River of Names” tile donor wall on the Riverwalk Level. The Westport Library originally commissioned the creation of the tile wall to acknowledge donors to a capital campaign in 1997-98. The tile wall included the names and messages of past library donors and historic pictorial scenes from more than 350 years of Westport’s history. The plan for the transformed Library presented logistical challenges with keeping the 26’ long x 6’ high “River of Names” in its original location. The Westport Library Board of Trustees made the decision that the physical tile wall would not be reinstalled in the building at this time and would remain in storage. The Library worked with Westport artist Miggs Burroughs to professionally photograph and document each tile of the wall before the installation was professionally taken down and placed in storage under the care of a company specializing in such work.

“When we commissioned the tile wall for the Library, the goal, conceived by Betty Lou Cummings, with Dorothy Curran joining her as co-chair of the campaign, and designed and executed by ceramicist Marion Grebow, was to tell the story of Westport’s history through images of significant events and the names of all the contributors,” said Ann Sheffer, a donor as well as chair of the River of Names Task Force Committee. “Now, in 2019, I am thrilled that all this will be available to many more generations of Westporters through digitization, which will have the ability to link to other artistic and historic perspectives on our Town’s history, in a truly 21st-century demonstration of the role of libraries in preserving our heritage while charting our future.”

“Having this virtual exhibition available will now allow more people, teachers and students, not only in our community but also across the state, nation and even the globe, to have access to the ‘River of Names’ mural and gain an understanding of Westport’s and The Library’s rich history,” said Kathleen Bennewitz. “I can see students leveraging this as a resource in their own research. They will be able to explore, with just a few clicks of the mouse or a simple keyword search, a wide array of information — descriptions, narratives, maps, photos, and ultimately, audio and videos clips. I can see many more people, and younger generations, having access to the ‘River of Names’.“

 

The digital “River of Names” was developed by Square Squared, a Westport company, under the direction of Michael Bud. Square Squared’s services range from print and digital design to audio and video production; the firm is known for dynamic and individualized creative solutions.

For more on the specific elements of the Transformation Project, please visit wltransformationproject.org


It Takes A Vision

May 14, 2019

It Takes A Vision

Bill Harmer, Library Executive Director spoke to Y's Men about the transformed Library
By Roy Fuchs, Patch Contributor | May 13, 2019 6:08 pm ET

And a vision is just what the Westport Library's Executive Director Bill Harmer brought to his new assignment.

Mr. Harmer came to Westport four years ago, from Chelsea, Michigan, where he was Director of what The Library Journal had named the "Best Small Library in America."

He inherited a newly minted plan to renovate the then almost 30 year old Westport Library — a high tech, state-of-the-art facility on a larger footprint with a cost approximating $40 million, and complicated by non-trivial service interruptions.

Harmer gathered community input then gave the architectural firm that conceived that design, Henry Myerberg's HMA2, a new directive — more modest in some regards, bolder in others.

He sought to "help assure that libraries are at the forefront of a revolutionary movement in community education, experience and expression."

Achieving a more manageable cost was essential, as was flexibility. This Library is a community center, an anchor of our downtown, and so requires a major space for public cultural and entertainment programs, more meeting spaces, more space for housing growing collections of printed and digital media, a contemporary children's library, an enhanced Maker Space, updated technology throughout, and perhaps a larger café, more of a store, and expanded amenities.

All in the existing footprint, and with no service interruptions.

Harmer recently talked to Y's Men, emphasizing that he and his team are about to "deliver a state-of-the-art library, on time and in budget."

The budget was halved, to $19.5 million. The state provided a $1 million grant. Once the town added $5 million the Community Campaign for the Transformation Project was brought to life, and opened the door for private donations of $15 million.

Come to the June 23 Ribbon Cutting. You'll start your walk through by coming in through the new main entry on Jesup Green. Change is all around you. What was the Great Hall is now a larger and largely open space with a raised ceiling and floor to ceiling windows that bathe this vast room in sunlight.

Walk past the new service desk and into the Hub. There you'll see best sellers, new books, DVDs and curated collections showcased for those looking for what's new.

On your left is a unique eight feet high stepped structure containing book shelves whose carpeted steps meant for casual reading.

Walk away from the Hub, around the stepped structure, and your'e in the Christian J. Trefz Forum, built with a $1 million cornerstone donation by Christian and Eva Trefz.

The Trefz Forum may be the Library's most dramatic and flexible space, with over 6,000 sq ft of workspace. Then when the occasion arises it becomes an event space seating over 600 people — no more standing in the hall outside the outgrown and outdated McManus Room.

A stage at the far end features one of the largest video walls in the state, and theater quality sound and lighting systems for live streaming, broadcasting and filming of major events.

First up on the Forum stage, on June 4, will be BOOKED for the evening, honoring award-winning virtuoso pianist and Westporter Fredric Chiu.

Spotted around this main level are 16 meeting and conference rooms, some with state-of-the-art video and conferencing equipment — even one with a wet bar — and three large rooms for gatherings of 40 to 120 people. Gone are the difficulties of scheduling meetings.

There's also the Library of Things — the Maker Space and the Hacker Space, with hands on items including 3D printers, CNC machines, laser cutters, sewing machines. And board games, musical instruments, VR consoles, a fold up kayak and a mobile podcasting studio. All in a space available 24 hours a day.

One of the real gems are state-of-the-art audio and video studios, designed with the guidance of Grammy award winning sound engineer, and Westporter, Rob Fraboni. They provide audio production and audio and video post production for recording and producing podcasts or songs, and for completing videos, all with support to help you learn.

There's a new and larger café that opens at 8:00 am — before the Library. It offers outdoor seating, and opens into the Sheffer Room, making it an even more inviting reading room.

The café also has a public kitchen and a Baker Space, to do for foodies what the Maker Space does for techies.

Another jewel is the children's library. A substantial gift from Roz and Bud Siegel brought it to life. Go up the broad staircase, into the "best real estate in the building." There's a fully renovated program room — also with new windows and a higher ceiling. There's new furniture, and books and toys, all to encourage our youngest to start enjoying their Library.

Also on the second floor is a five feet wider hall, providing working space for up to 40 people, and doubling as a balcony for Forum events.

Much of the book collection now resides on the river level, though you'll see shelving on all three levels. Likewise digital. The digital book collection has grown ten fold in the last couple of years, there's a streaming music service, and digital magazines that enable visually impaired users to manipulate font sizes.

There are more ADA compliant spaces and amenities, and assisted listening devices. There is also the "best and most powerful WiFi in the community, and an abundance of power outlets."

The Ribbon Cutting will offer a cornucopia of events — music, dance, film, family activities, a live podcast by Miggs Burroughs and brother Trace, a writer's workshop, story time in children's library, art, filming live stories, and more.

You can view a photo exhibit tracking the project's progress shot and curated by renowned photographer Dick Frank. Get a preview at https://www.wltransformationproject.org.

One Y's Man was so taken by Harmer's presentation that he commented "You've put five pounds of potatoes in a three pound bag, and have room left over."

Photos by Ted Horowitz


The Westport Library To Operate on Reduced Schedule: Temporary Closing in Anticipation of Grand Re-Opening

May 1, 2019

The Westport Library To Operate on Reduced Schedule,

Temporary Closing in Anticipation of Grand Re-Opening

Library to Close 6/3-6/22 to Complete the Library Transformation

Book Donation Trailer will remain open and continue to accept donations. 

Westport, CT– The Westport Library is thrilled to announce the Grand Reopening of its newly transformed Library on Sunday, June 23. In preparation for the reopening, the Library will be operating on a modified schedule beginning Tuesday, May 28 through Friday, May 31. During this time, the Riverwalk Level of the Library will be open Tuesday through Thursday from 1 -9 pm, and on Friday from 1 -6 pm. The Library will be open regular hours on Saturday, June 1 from 9 am - 5 pmand Sunday, June 2 from 1 - 5 pm.

To complete the final elements of the transformation, starting Monday, June 3, through Saturday, June 22, the entire Library will be closed to efficiently and safely integrate new collections and resources on all three floors, install and test new state-of-the-art technology throughout the Library, as well as finalize all the details necessary to prepare for the Grand Reopening on June 23. The Library’s digital collection will continue to be available; however, there may be brief interruptions due to system upgrades. No fines will be levied while the Library is closed.

The new Westport Library will reopen at 11 am on Sunday, June 23, with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and a full day of events created to showcase the new 21st-century Westport Library and all it has to offer.  “After a decade in the making, the Westport Library is a shining example of what today’s library can and should be,”said Bill Harmer, Executive Director of the Westport Library.

“This transformation took years of dedication and support from countless people,” said Library Board of Trustees President Iain Bruce. “We are grateful to the State of Connecticut, the town, our donors, our Board, our patrons, our volunteers and our staff for their faith in the project and unwavering support for the vision of this 21st-century Library.”

Please keep checking the website for the latest details.

For questions regarding the closing or for additional information please contact Robin Powell, at rpowell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or call 203.291.4820


Westport Library Announces BOOKED for the evening Honoree Frederic Chiu

April 25, 2019

Library’s signature fundraiser set for Tuesday, June 4, 2019 in the newly transformed Library.

 

Westport, CT – The Westport Library is pleased to announce world-renowned and award-winning virtuoso pianist, Frederic Chiu, as the 2019 BOOKED for the evening honoree. The Library's signature fundraising event will be held in the Library on June 4, giving guests a glimpse of the newly transformed space ahead of the June 23 official opening.

Chiu has performed in major venues on five continents including Lincoln Center in New York, the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., The Chatelet in Paris, and the Mozarteum in Buenos Aires.

As an esteemed educator, Chiu has presented master classes at prestigious institutions around the globe, including Juilliard School, The Manhattan School of Music, The New England Conservatory, the Banff Center and many of China’s National Conservatories. His efforts to promote music coincide with his desire to foster peace and understanding, recently recognized by a Senatorial Commendation from the United States Congress.

Chiu is the co-founder and director of Beechwood Arts and Innovation, a non-profit arts center that brings gallery-quality exhibits across genres and disciplines through Art Immersion Salons to the Westport community. The center’s mission is to foster artistic collaboration across genres and generations through intimate, immersive and innovative events.

“Our annual signature gala reflects the Library's mission to enrich the intellectual and creative lives of the community as we honor an outstanding individual each year,” said Executive Director Bill Harmer. ”We’re excited to host Frederic Chiu as the first honoree in the new Forum.”

Each year the Library honors an individual whose work reflects the purpose of the Library—to nurture the love of learning and to enhance our understanding of the world. Previous award winners are Tom Brokaw, E.L. Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Arthur Mitchell, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Halberstam, Oscar Hijuelos, Adam Gopnik, Will Shortz, Patti Smith, Barry Levinson, Jon Meacham, Nile Rodgers, Lynsey Addario, Ron Chernow, Alan Alda and Justin Paul.

Tickets for the event go on sale May 10, 2019. To learn more about tickets or sponsorship opportunities,
visit the Library’s website at westportlibrary.org

For questions regarding sponsorships please contact Preeti Davidson, Chief Development Officer, at pdavidson [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or 347.416.0234 or Barbara Durham at bdurham [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.

 


The Westport Library Seeking Candidates for Board of Trustees

March 22, 2019

The Westport Library is seeking candidates to serve on the Library Board of Trustees ("the Board"), starting FY 2020, which begins July 1, 2019. The Westport Library is particularly interested in meeting candidates with the desire and the ability to actively commit to advocacy work that supports the implementation of the strategic plan, widens the Library's array of productive community relationships, increases sources of funding and otherwise ensures the long-term vitality of the Library.

Trustee appointments are for a term of four years. The Representative Town Meeting and the Library Board each appoint half of the Trustees. Currently, 20 Trustees serve on the Board. Candidates must be residents of the Town of Westport for 12 months preceding their appointment. More information about the role of the Library Board and its strategic plan is available on the Westport LIbrary's website, westportlibrary.org.

Those interested in applying must complete a 3-step process.

  1. Applicants must email a resume and a brief letter of interest including the relevance of their past work and experience for consideration to Robin Powell at rpowell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.
  2. Applicants are expected to attend one of the informational meetings about the Westport Library and the role of a Trustee, which are scheduled at 10 am and 7 pm on April 29, 2019
  3. Applicants must attend an interview with representatives of both the RTM and the Library Board. Applicants will be notified of the decision regarding their application shortly following the completion of this process.

Westport Library Trustees 2018-2019

Iain Bruce, President
Jocelyn Barandiaran, Senior VP
Russell Baris, VP Finance
Maggie Mudd, VP Governance/Nominations
Emily DiMiceli, VP Development
Adrian Hinojos, Secretary
 

Westport

The Westport Library Announces Naming of Children’s Library as “Roz and Bud Siegel Family Children’s Library”

July 13, 2018

Naming in Recognition of Family’s Generous Gift to the
Library’s Transformation Project

 

Westport, CT– The Westport Library is pleased to announce that the fully renovated Children’s Library will be named the Roz and Bud Siegel Family Children’s Library in honor of the Siegel’s generous gift toward the Library’s Transformation Project.

“The extraordinary generosity demonstrated by Roz and Bud’s leadership gift is a testament to their long-standing commitment to the Library, and vision for the future of Westport.  We are deeply grateful for their support,” said Executive Director of the Westport Library Bill Harmer. “Their gift will allow us to build a completely reimagined children’s space -  flexible and fun – filled with new books, toys, and furniture that will provide our youngest patrons with a space ideally suited to reading, studying, learning, playing and growing.”

When complete in 2019, the Roz and Bud Siegel Family Children’s Library will boast many improvements including: an enhanced program room, visible activity areas that enjoy views of the Saugatuck River and the Jesup Green, a raised ceiling, improved acoustics, new lighting systems, and enhancements of some of the windows- making them floor-to-ceiling – to provide even greater views of the Library’s beautiful natural surroundings.

“We are pleased that the Transformation Project has reached a place where our donation can provide a foundation for the Children’s Library for many years to come, as children become young adults and, eventually, adults with their own children,” said Bud Siegel. “In so many ways, the Children’s Library builds a solid foundation for the future. We view our support of the project as an investment in the present that will pay dividends for years to come.”  

For Roz, an avid reader and lifelong library user, investing in the Transformation Project called to mind her growing up and visiting her hometown library in Massachusetts.

“I have such fond memories of visiting my hometown library and bringing my children and grandchildren here to the Westport Library,” said Roz Siegel. “The Westport Library is so much more than a library; it is a community center where kids feel welcome and supported and can develop healthy habits around reading and learning in a warm, friendly environment. We are so excited to see how the community will take advantage of the new space!”

Construction began on the $20.8 million-dollar Transformation Project in September 2017 when work commenced on the Riverwalk Level. The Interim Library/Riverwalk Level officially opened to the public at a special ceremony in June of 2018. Work is now underway on the Main and Upper Levels and is expected to be complete in approximately 12 months.

During this current phase of construction, the Great Hall will be transformed into the Forum – a large, flexible open space on the main floor that can be used for daily meeting and study and can be reconfigured to accommodate up to 650 people for large events. The renovated Main Level will also feature more study space, highly visible customer service points, an exceptional collection of digital and physical materials (including audio/visual materials, new releases, curated collections of popular materials), the Library’s store, an expanded Café- including outdoor seating- plus a new recording studio and expanded MakerSpace as well as the completely renovated Children’s Library on the Upper Level.

The Transformation Project is made possibleby a robust show of support through public and private funding. Public dollars from the Town of Westport were allocated in 2017, when the Town’s RTM unanimously approved the disbursement of $5 million for the initiative. The town’s funding will cover the cost to replace the dated and inefficient mechanical systems - the HVAC, plumbing and elevator - which are original to the 1986 facility. The Library also applied for and received a $1 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library. The bulk of the funding for the project has come from private donors.  

For more on the specific elements of the project and how to be involved, and how to donate visit wltransformationproject.org. To learn more about Library programs and services available during this Interim Phase, visit westportlibrary.org.

 

####


Transformation Project Updates

July 5, 2018

 

MAPS:

Library Parking During Transformation Project, Phase 2
Interim Phase, Satellite Locations and Parking 
Riverwalk Level/Interim Library 

Photos from December 2018:

     
grandstand being framed      

 


The Westport Library Opens New Riverwalk Level and Interim Library

June 4, 2018

Organization Thanks Community for its Robust, Continued
Support of Transformation Project 

 

Westport, CT– At a special ribbon cutting and reception today, the Westport Library officially opened the new Riverwalk Level and Interim Library. Today’s ceremonies marked the completion of the first major phase of construction in the organization’s long-awaited Transformation Project. The new Interim Library provides an exciting preview of what is to come when the entire Library is transformed in 2019, with features including: spectacular panoramic views of the Saugatuck River, a spacious program room, the latest technology, various quiet areas, materials representing all elements of the Library’s collection, a MakerSpace, expanded and enhanced outdoor spaces and more.

“Today is a momentous day in our history,” said Executive Director of the Westport Library Bill Harmer. “For more than a decade, this community has been working towards building a modern Library in sync with its needs and better able to support outstanding programs and events. Today, that vision is becoming a reality. The new design and myriad improvements will give our community a flexible, innovative space able to inspire curiosity, fuel creativity and build community for generations to come.”

The $20.8 million Transformation Project is made possible thanks to a robust show of support in the form of public and private funding. Public dollars from the Town of Westport were allocated in 2017 when the Town’s RTM unanimously approved the disbursement of $5 million for the initiative. The town’s funding will cover the cost to replace the dated and inefficient mechanical systems - the HVAC, plumbing and elevator - which are original to the 1986 facility. The Library also applied for and received a $1 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library. The bulk of the funding for the project has come from private donors.  

“We are grateful for the extraordinary generosity we have received from the community for this ambitious project,” said Harmer. “The commitment, vision and unwavering support demonstrated by our donors have given us the ability to dream big and give Westport the leading-edge Library it deserves.”

The Library recognizes the leadership of its Cornerstone Society, in particular. The Society was established in 2014 to recognize those generous, committed individuals and organizations who have made leadership gifts of $250,000 and above to the Transformation Project.

Cornerstone Society members include: Howard J. Aibel, the Nancy Jones Beard Foundation, Kathryn Frazer Brooks, the Estate of Patricia Lauber Frost, the Komansky Foundation, Inc., John Kossak and Evelyn Kranes Kossak, Paula and Tom McInerney, Frances and Alan Offenberg, Irma and Joseph Schachter, the Sheffer Family, Roz and Bud Siegel, the Estate of Jerry A. Tishman, Christian J. Trefz and Eva W. Trefz, and the Michael M. Wiseman and Helen A. Garten Charitable Foundation, as well as several anonymous donors.

“Thanks to such strong community support, we now have a unique opportunity to bring the Library to life in new ways through continued fundraising efforts that will provide the organization with outstanding materials, tools, programs and features,” said Harmer.

During the next phase of construction, work will begin on the Main and Upper Levels of the Library. The Great Hall will be transformed into the Forum – a large, flexible open space on the main floor that can be used for daily meeting and study and reconfigured to accommodate up to 650 people for large events. The renovated Main Level will also feature more study space, highly visible customer service points, an exceptional collection of digital and physical materials (including audio/visual materials, new releases, curated collections of popular materials), the Library’s store, an expanded Café, including outdoor seating, plus a new recording studio and expanded MakerSpace and a completely renovated Children’s Library.

Construction on the next phase of the Transformation Project is expected to last approximately 10 -12 months. For more on the specific elements of the project and how to be involved, visit wltransformationproject.org. To learn more about Library programs and services available during this Interim Phase, visit westportlibrary.org.


Westport Library Announces Opening of New Riverwalk Level

April 30, 2018

 

 

Image credits: HMA2

The Westport Library is thrilled to announce the opening of the new Riverwalk Level and Interim Library scheduled for Monday, June 4. The completion of this first phase of construction on the long-awaited Library Transformation Project will culminate in a special opening reception Monday, June 4 at the Library.

“After nearly a decade in the making, we could not be prouder to finally bring the dream of a new Westport Library to life for the community,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “This Interim Library space will give us all an exciting preview of what’s to come when the entire building is completed in 2019, including stunning panoramic views of the Saugatuck River, the latest technology, a new program room, various quiet spaces, materials representing all elements of the Library’s collection, a MakerSpace and so much more!”   

During this next Phase II of the Transformation Project, the Library collection, which will be temporarily limited due to the reduction in footprint in the Interim space, will be available exclusively out of the Riverwalk Level while construction begins on the Main and Upper Levels. During Phase II, which is expected to last approximately 10 months, the Library will provide the same services currently available on-site including reference, circulation, account support and interlibrary loans. Westport Library cardholders will also continue to have access to the Library’s comprehensive suite of digital materials including electronic books, music, magazines and research databases.  

The Library will provide the same exceptional programming for the community, offering programs during the Interim phase on-site and at satellite locations throughout the community including: the YMCA, the Suzuki Music School, Christ and Holy Trinity Church, Saugatuck Congregational Church, the Westport Woman’s Club, The Conservative Synagogue, Beit Chaverim, Earthplace, the Westport Police Department, the Westport Historical Society, Westport Center for Senior Activities, Town Hall and other locations. In addition, staff will be available in the community at various venues offering select Library services on a fixed schedule.

To complete the move to the Interim space, starting Monday, May 14 the teen and adult book collections will be removed from the shelves, so that those shelves can be moved to the Riverwalk level where they will be reassembled.  Once this process begins, the adult book collection will be temporarily unavailable while it is being installed in the Interim Library. The audio/visual collection, the Children’s collection, new releases and display items will continue to be available.

From Wednesday, May 23 through Sunday, June 3, the Library will be closed to efficiently and safely transfer and shelve materials, disconnect and reconnect technology, and move and install other items in the new space. The Library’s digital collection will continue to be available; however, no other Library services or materials will be available until June 4. No fines will be levied during this period.

“As soon as we open the Interim Library, work will begin on the Main and Upper Levels,” said Harmer. “During this phase, the Great Hall will be transformed into the Forum – a large, flexible open space on the main floor that can be used for daily meeting and study and reconfigured to accommodate up to 650 people for large events. The Main Level will also feature more study space, highly visible customer service points, an exceptional collection of digital and physical materials (including audio/visual materials, new releases, curated collections of popular materials), the Library’s store, an expanded Café, including outdoor seating, plus a new recording studio and expanded MakerSpace.”  

Work will also begin on renovations to the Children’s Library during Phase II. This will include creating spaces that are more functional, flexible and fun, with visible activity areas that enjoy views of the River and Jesup Green. The renovation will create more opportunities for young people to dig into books, socialize, study, collaborate on group projects or attend classes or programs. New mechanical systems, including modernized restrooms, a new elevator and a more energy efficient HVAC system will also be installed.

To date, with the help of the Town of Westport, the State of Connecticut and the generosity of the Library’s friends and supporters, the Library has raised 88% of the funds required to complete the project. For more information about how to contribute and to learn about schedules and events, please visit the Library websiteas well as the Transformation Project website.

Please note: given the complexity of the project, these dates are subject to change. The Library encourages patrons to check the website and other library communications often for the latest updates. 


The Westport Library Seeking Candidates for Board of Trustees

April 2, 2018

The Westport Library is seeking candidates to apply for vacancies on the Library Board of Trustees. The Library is particularly interested in meeting with candidates with experience in the fields of development, strategic planning, and commercial construction.

Trustee appointments will be a four-year term beginning July 1, 2018. There are 20 members on the Library Board, half of whom are appointed by the Representative Town Meeting and half of whom are appointed by the Library board itself. More information about the role of the Library Board is available on the Library’s website at westportlibrary.org. There is also a link to the Library’s Strategic Plan, which guides the Library in decision-making and budgeting.

Those interested in applying should email a resume and letter of interest indicating how their past work and prior experience qualify them as a Trustee for the Library, to Robin Powell at rpowell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org. Following receipt of this material we will arrange a meeting to share information about the Library and Trustee Role.

Library Board Members 2017-2018

Joe Pucci ▪ President
Jocelyn Barandiaran ▪ Senior V.P.
Russell Baris ▪ V.P. Finance
Susan Ross ▪ V.P. Governance/Nominations
Emily DiMiceli ▪ V.P. Development
Adrian Hinojos ▪ Secretary
Jonathan Cunitz ▪ Treasurer
Andrea Berkley
Ken Bernhard
Iain Bruce
Emily DiMiceli
Holland Dunn
Dan Gross
Rob Haroun
Randy Herbertson
Lucy Johnson
Celeste LaCroix
Maggie Mudd
Carole Orland
Andrew Wilk
Cindy Zuckerbrod
Joel Davis, Chair ▪ Advisory Council

Westport

Pictures from FLEX: experiences

April 2, 2018

Enjoy these photos from this extraordinary series that showcased the future of the Westport Library in March 2018. Our inaugural FLEX: experiences brought together nearly 3,000 people of all ages from more than 15 cities and towns to experience the future of the Library. These events blended art, cinema, authors, music, dance, food and more in a transformed Great Hall that gave the community a sneak peek at what will be possible in the new Library.


"I am..." Photos

February 28, 2018

The "I am..." social media campaign tells the stories of the countless outstanding and unique individuals who make up the Westport Library community through simple portrait photography and brief captions. Enjoy this Flickr album of photos captured by photographer Pamela Einarsen.

"I am..." photos will be added to the album as they are shared on social media. Keep an eye on the Library's website and social media pages for upcoming photography sessions!

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram


Maker Faire Westport: Call for Makers Open

January 22, 2018

The “Call for Makers” is now open for the seventh annual Maker Faire Westport that will be on Saturday, April 21, 2018 throughout downtown Westport. 12,000 attendees are expected. This year’s theme for the event is #WeAreConnecticut and will highlight the people, places and organizations that make Connecticut a great place to live and work.

“We are looking for creative people who want to share their energy and talents with others,” says Mark Mathias, Founder and Co-Chair of Maker Faire Westport. “We are inviting artists, musicians, engineers, craftsmen, entrepreneurs, students, teachers, businesspeople, comedians and creative people of all ages and backgrounds to inspire attendees with what we as humans can do.”

“Our expanded venues and multiple stages will give makers the opportunity to not only have space to engage our attendees, but be on stages to speak about, demonstrate and interact with interested, curious people,” says Alex Giannini, Manager of Experiential Learning at the Westport Library and Co-Chair of Maker Faire Westport.

Apply online at westport.makerfaire.com/call-for-makers. The deadline to apply is March 15, 2018.

Companies that wish to benefit from sponsorship should contact Mark Mathias at Remarkable STEAM or 203-226-1791.

About Maker Faire Westport

Maker Faire Westport began in 2011 as the first official Maker Faire event in Connecticut. It has grown to become Connecticut’s largest event focused on creativity and innovation. Over the past six years, Maker Faire Westport has become a catalyst for tinkerers, artisans, engineers, schools, libraries, companies and communities. More than 50,000 people have attended Maker Faire Westport and many thousands more have benefitted through educational programs, maker spaces, employment opportunities and business growth. This year, organizers expect to welcome a record 12,000 people to the Faire.

Maker Faire Westport is produced by Remarkable STEAM, Inc. in partnership with the Westport Library. The Maker Faire Westport name is licensed from Maker Media, Inc. For more information, go to westport.makerfaire.com.

About Remarkable STEAM

Remarkable STEAM is the leading Connecticut organization that promotes innovation and creativity in the areas of STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math). It focuses on support for education and job creation. Remarkable STEAM is a 501(c)(3) organization. Its leadership team founded and through generous community support, finances Maker Faire Westport and supports similar initiatives. It is creating “maker” events and facilities where people can improve their lives and communities.

About the Westport Library

Since 1886, the Westport Library has been devoted to enriching the intellectual and creative lives of the residents of Westport. Overlooking the scenic Saugatuck River, the Westport Library is a vibrant community hub where people of all ages come to seek information, gain knowledge, exchange ideas and share experiences.

Construction is currently underway on a major renovation project at the Library. Among other exciting features, the renovated space will feature an increased number of conference rooms and quiet areas, an enlarged Library Café, a professional, state-of-the-art recording studio, a larger dedicated MakerSpace and a HackerSpace workshop with prototyping equipment and co-working space. To learn more about the project visit: www.wltransformationproject.org.

The Westport Library earned the prestigious “Five-Star Library” status in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017 from Library Journal, the nation’s premier publication for libraries. Only 1% percent of public libraries nationally earned 5 stars.

About Maker Faire

Maker Faire is the Greatest Show (and Tell) on Earth—a family-friendly showcase of invention, creativity and resourcefulness, and a celebration of the Maker Movement. It’s a place where people show what they are making, and share what they are learning.

Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers. They are of all ages and backgrounds. The aim of Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community.

The original Maker Faire event was held in San Mateo, CA and in 2017 celebrated its twelfth annual show with some 1200 makers and 125,000 people in attendance. World Maker Faire New York, the other flagship event, has grown in six years to 900+ makers and 95,000 attendees. Forty larger scale Maker Faires occur in cities around the world—Berlin, Paris, Rome, Tokyo, and Shenzhen to name a few—and over 220 community-driven, independently organized Mini Maker Faires are now being produced in the United States and in 43 other countries around the world.
 

Maker

The Westport Library Earns Prestigious Five-Star Status from LIBRARY JOURNAL

December 6, 2017

The Westport Library is pleased to announce that for the third straight year it has earned Five-Star Library status from Library Journal, the nation’s premier publication for libraries. This annual ranking is a reflection of how a public library is used by its community. Less than 1 percent of the nation’s 9100 public libraries received Five- Star status.

The star rating is determined by ranking libraries on a per capita basis on how many times they are visited each year, how many people attend programs, the number of sessions logged on library computers and how many items are borrowed. The data area collected from local libraries annually by state library agencies and compiled nationally by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS).

“Each day more than 1,000 people walk through our doors. Each year we host nearly 2,000 programs for the community, most free of charge. And every year thousands and thousands of items circulate through our Library and out to the community,” said Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “Beyond these numbers is the story of the community we strive to build and support here in Westport every day - from the child getting their first Library card, to people enjoying our author talks or music series, to the small business owners meeting in the Library Café or the makers learning to 3-D print. This award is a welcome recognition of the Library team’s work and it is a great honor to be designated again this year.”


2017 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, "Falsettos: In Conversation," Scheduled for September 11

July 7, 2017

Event to Bring Tony Award Winners & Broadway Stars to Westport Through Unique Collaboration Among Westport Library, Live From Lincoln Center and Westport Country Playhouse

 

William Finn


James Lapine

Stephanie J. Block
Andrew C. Wilk

The Westport Library today announced its 2017 Malloy Lecture in the Arts, Falsettos: In Conversation. The event will be a panel discussion on the Broadway hit Falsettos featuring the men behind the show—Tony Award-winning composer and lyricist William Finn and Tony Award-winning playwright and director James Lapine—and the revival’s Tony-nominated star Stephanie J. Block. The evening will be moderated by five-time Emmy Award winner, Executive Producer of "Live From Lincoln Center" and Westport resident Andrew C. Wilk on Monday, September 11, 2017 at 7 pm at the Westport Country Playhouse.

The event is free; however, tickets are required. Tickets will be available in August. For updates please check the Westport Library website: westportlibrary.org.

“Bringing the celebrated, visionary artists behind this poignant, thought-provoking piece of theater to our community is incredibly exciting to all of us at the Library,” said Library Executive Director Bill Harmer. “We are thrilled to be able to do so in partnership with "Live From Lincoln Center" and the Westport Country Playhouse and look forward to seeing the community enjoy this exceptional evening along with us.”

Written by both Finn and Lapine on the cusp of the AIDS crisis, Falsettos chronicles the life of a gay man Marvin, his ex-wife, his lover, his son, their psychiatrist and the lesbians next door as they navigate the often-choppy waters of modern, middle class family dynamics. Lapine directed its original run on Broadway in 1992 for which both he and Finn won Tony Awards for Best Book of a Musical. Finn also won a Tony for Best Original Score.

"Live From Lincoln Center," in partnership with Screenvision Media and event cinema creators KAOS Connect, is making the Tony-nominated production of Lincoln Center Theater’s Falsettos available to audiences in movie theaters for a very limited engagement nationwide. Local audiences will have a chance to preview the performance at the Bow Tie Cinema in Norwalk on Westport Avenue and the Fairfield Cinemas at Bullard Square Wednesday, July 12, 2017. To purchase tickets, view trailers and find additional information, visit falsettosincinema.com. The film will be coming to PBS fall 2017.

The film version of Falsettos stars Tony-nominated actor Stephanie J. Block as Marvin’s ex-wife Trina. Block will join Finn and Lapine at the Westport Country Playhouse on the panel and will delight the audience with a live performance of selections from Falsettos as well as some of her other notable Broadway roles. 

“I wasn't sure if a filmed version of Falsettos would translate in a way that would truly capture its emotion, humor and impact. But I am thrilled to say that "Live From Lincoln Center" 'got it!' Seeing it on the big screen for the first time kept me paralyzed in my seat; I hardly took a breath because of the expectation and anticipation,” said Block. “The cast held hands and wept. We were in awe of each other and the beauty, humor and power of this story. I'm honored, grateful and overwhelmed knowing that Falsettos is now forever preserved and will be shared nationwide."

The Malloy Lecture will be a panel discussion centered around selected scenes from the film of Falsettos. The evening will also include an opportunity for audience Q&A—one reason why those interested in attending the September event are being particularly encouraged to see the film on July 12.

“Those who have never experienced Falsettos are in for a treat, and those who have seen it on stage will rediscover it through our camera’s lens, particularly if they are able to see it before the Malloy Lecture,” said Wilk. “Falsettos truly was groundbreaking in its time and just as relevant and resonant today!”

The event is free; however, tickets are required. Tickets will be available in August. For updates please check the Westport Library website: westportlibrary.org.

THE WESTPORT LIBRARY MALLOY LECTURE IN THE ARTS

The Malloy Lecture in the Arts is made possible by a generous contribution from Westport artist Susan Malloy. The Westport Library created the lecture series in 2002 as a free, public annual discussion by an individual who has had a significant cultural influence and whose work has enhanced the understanding and appreciation of the arts.

Past programs have included Philippe de Montebello, Director of the Metropolitan Museum of Art; distinguished playwright Arthur Miller; artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude; musicians Joshua Bell and Frederic Chiu; poet-laureate Billy Collins; Vartan Gregorian, President of the Carnegie Corporation; author Joyce Carol Oates; cartoonist Roz Chast; actor Christopher Plummer; stage, film and theater star John Lithgow; preeminent classical dancer Jacques d'Amboise; music legend Clive Davis, and author Salman Rushdie.

LIVE FROM LINCOLN CENTER

"Live From Lincoln Center" is a cornerstone of performing arts broadcasting, presenting the world’s greatest artists and performances in music, dance, and theater from Lincoln Center’s renowned stages. Now in its 42nd season on PBS, the pioneering series—produced by Lincoln Center—has been seen by hundreds of millions of viewers since its debut and celebrated by 16 Emmy Awards and other honors for its broadcasting excellence. Additional Live From Lincoln Center content is accessible online at PBS.org.

LINCOLN CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS

Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts (LCPA) serves three primary roles: presenter of artistic programming, national leader in arts and education and community engagement, and manager of the Lincoln Center campus. A presenter of more than 3,000 free and ticketed events, performances, tours, and educational activities annually, LCPA offers 16 series, festivals, and programs, including American Songbook, Avery Fisher Career Grants and Artist program, David Rubenstein Atrium programming, Great Performers, Legends at Lincoln Center: The Performing Arts Hall of Fame, Lincoln Center at the Movies, Lincoln Center Emerging Artist Awards, Lincoln Center Festival, Lincoln Center Out of Doors, Lincoln Center Vera List Art
Project, Midsummer Night Swing, Mostly Mozart Festival, White Light Festival, the Emmy Award–winning Live From Lincoln Center, which airs nationally on PBS, and Lincoln Center Education, which is celebrating 40 years enriching the lives of students, educators, and lifelong learners. As manager of the Lincoln Center campus, LCPA provides support and services for the Lincoln Center complex and the 11 resident organizations: The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Juilliard School, Lincoln Center Theater, The Metropolitan Opera, New York City Ballet, New York Philharmonic, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, School of American Ballet, and Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts. For more information, visit LincolnCenter.org.

Photo credits:

William Finn: Harry Roseman
Stephanie J. Block: Bill Westmoreland


Notice Regarding Library Availability June 3-6

May 26, 2017

You have probably noticed some changes around the Library lately—art work being wrapped in bubble wrap, airplanes coming down, the iconic bust of Morris Jesup relocating to Town Hall. All of these changes are in preparation for the groundbreaking on the new library in early August.

You are also probably aware that we have our annual signature fundraiser, BOOKED for the evening, coming up on June 5. Historically, the Library has always closed for that day and this year we are taking the opportunity to use the days around the event to do some preparation for our upcoming Transformation Project.

Phase One of the Transformation Project will begin in early August. In this initial phase, we will be operating on the upper two levels of the Library. The MakerSpace will move to the upper balcony and will reopen in mid-June. The books currently on this upper level will move down to the main level. Audio/Visual materials will be moved out of the Riverwalk and up to the main level. Most adult programs will be conducted in the large reading room and new quiet work spaces will be created along the perimeter of the Great Hall.

In preparation for these changes and for BOOKED, on Saturday, June 3 and Sunday, June 4 we will be reconfiguring the stacks, books, and furniture on the main level. The Library will be noisy and the adult book collection will be unavailable on these days. The Children’s Department and Audio/Visual area will be fully accessible. Reading and study rooms will also be easily accessible. If you are looking for reading material, we encourage you to get your books ahead of time (by Friday, June 2).

On Monday, June 5 the Library will be closed. On Tuesday, June 6, the Library will be closed to patrons until 1:00 p.m. while we replace shelves and move books and furniture to their new locations. Staff will be available to provide phone support between 9:00 and 4:00 on Monday, June 5 and 9:00 and 1:00 on Tuesday, June 6. Late fines will not be levied for materials that are due and not returned between Saturday and Wednesday.

We thank you in advance for your patience.
 


One-on-One Career Counseling Sessions for Jobseekers

April 18, 2017

The Westport Library offers free one-on-one career counseling sessions to local jobseekers. The sessions will be by appointment only and will focus on general career counseling as well as resume and LinkedIn profile assistance.

The personalized programs will be run by business librarian Ellen Janpol, MLS, MBA. Janpol is the former manager of two corporate libraries as well as the JETS Program, the largest educational and networking program for people who are in job transition in Connecticut. She is also a recipient of the "Family Champion Award" by the Connecticut Council of Family Service Agencies for work with families on employment issues.

"An excellent resume has the power to open doors and in this competitive job market, job applicants need an edge,” said Janpol. “We are here to help job seekers fine-tune their resumes so they describe what makes them unique and makes them stand out from the other applicants.  Together, we collaborate and develop the resume that gets you a job interview."

Starting on May 1, one-hour sessions are available on Mondays and Saturdays . On Mondays, the two sessions are at 6 or 7 pm.  On Saturdays, the sessions are at 10 am, 11 am or noon. To schedule an appointment contact Ellen Janpol at ejanpol [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or 203.291.4823.

Guide for more jobseeker resources.


The Westport Library Seeking Candidates for Board of Trustees

April 17, 2017

The Westport Library is seeking candidates to apply for vacancies on the Library Board of Trustees.  The Library is particularly interested in meeting with candidates with experience in the fields of development, fundraising for capital and annual campaigns.

Trustee appointments will be for a four-year term beginning July 1, 2017.  There are 20 members on the Library Board, half of whom are appointed by the Representative Town Meeting and half of whom are appointed by the Library board itself.  More information about the role of the Library Board is available on the Library’s website at westportlibrary.org

Those interested in applying should email a resume and letter of interest by May 12, 2017, indicating how their past work and prior experience qualify them as a Trustee for the Library, to Robin Powell at rpowell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.  Following receipt of this material, Library staff will arrange a meeting to share information about the Library and role of the Trustees.

Library Board Members 2016-2017

Joe Pucci ▪ President
Jocelyn Barandiaran ▪ Senior V.P.
Russell Baris ▪ V.P. Finance
Susan Ross ▪ V.P. Governance/Nominations
Lori Goertz ▪ V.P. Development
Adrian Hinojos ▪ Secretary
Jonathan Cunitz ▪ Treasurer
Ken Bernhard 
Emily DiMiceli 
Holland Dunn 
Dan Gross 
Lucy Johnson
Marianna McCall 
Carole Orland
Julie Belaga
Cindy Zuckerbrod
Iain Bruce
Celeste LaCroix
Maggie Mudd
Rob Haroun
Joel Davis, Chair ▪ Advisory Council

Westport

Maker Faire 2017 Behind-the-Scenes with Alex Giannini, Westport Library Manager of Experiential Learning and Co-Chair of Maker Faire Westport

February 27, 2017

Maker Faire 2017 Behind-the-Scenes with
Alex Giannini, Westport Library Manager of Experiential Learning and Co-Chair of Maker Faire Westport

Q. How did the Westport Library and Maker Faire begin this partnership?

A. Mark Mathias, founder of Remarkable STEAM, Inc., approached the Library with an idea. Our then-Director of Innovation, Bill Derry, liked what he heard and set out to figure out how to make it happen. That first year, they expected a few hundred people, since the MakerSpace was new but nearly 2,500 people showed up!

Q. How long have you been involved with the Maker Faire? Why are you passionate about it? 

A. I’ve been involved since 2015, my first year at the Library. Last year, after Bill Derry retired, I became the co-chair of the event along with Mark. When I first arrived here, I had a very hard time visualizing what a Maker Faire at a Library would look like. Even now, after two of them (one that had nearly 8,000 attendees and another that came close to 10,000 people), it’s still hard to put into words what the Faire is like. It’s an explosion of creativity and good vibes, with some of the most interesting people on the planet sharing the things they’re passionate about. Because, at the end of the day, Maker Faire is about PASSION!

Q. What is involved in making the Maker Faire happen?

A. Lots and lots of work behind the scenes. With a Maker Faire the better answer might be something like, “little elves that appear in the middle of the night and put everything together,” but that’s not the case. The “little elves” are actually a small group of incredibly dedicated people—both from the Library and from the Maker Faire Planning Committee.

Q. Why is the Maker Faire important to the community?

A. Maker Faire Westport is a family-friendly explosion of creativity and a love letter to the Maker movement. We are helping to transform people into makers, not just consumers. Since the Faire is an open event where all the participants share their inventions, tools and resources, open collaboration is encouraged. What’s more, the Maker Faire brings thousands of people to the downtown area, many from outside Westport. It’s an opportunity to showcase our town and all of the wonderful people and activities who call Westport home.

Q. How can the community be involved with the Maker Faire?

A. We are always looking for Makers to set up a table and display their ideas and products and for volunteers to help set up and run the event. If you’re an interested Maker, please fill out our Call for Makers form at http://westport.makerfaire.com/call-for-makers/. If you’re looking to volunteer at the Faire, you can email me at agiannini [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.

Maker