News

Westport Library Announces Opening of New Riverwalk Level

April 30, 2018

Interim Library Scheduled to Open to Public Monday, June 4

 

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.