News (Libraries)

geek the library: geek of the day

March 29, 2016


geek of the day geek photos geek stories

geek the library

See the Flickr slideshow.
Slideshow searchable by name.

The Westport Library's public awareness campaign aims to connect people by highlighting their passions as well as communicate the vital role the Library plays in the community. Everyone has something they are passionate about—something they “geek.” Enjoy this page of photographs by professional photographer Pam Einarsen showing people with what they geek. What do you geek?

The campaign wraps up at the end of August--join us for a culminating party Tuesday, August 30, 5-6:30 pm in the Great Hall. Games, refreshments and a chance to pick up your print (if you haven't already).

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geek of the day


Marilyn Smith


Felix Echavarria


Karen Kleine


Colleen Palmer


Iain Bruce


Paul Epstein


Nancy Firriello



Marianne Seggerman


Stella Sun


Leslie Andrews


Jodi Wallace


Jennifer Mera


Fred Cantor


Demas Bello


Andre Sun


Ivy Sun


Luisa Francoeur


Karen Como


Amie Greenspan


Gina Ryan


Anna Buckner


Beatrix De Freese


Alberta Cifolelli


Lauren Silverstein


Christine Shaffer


Christine Carey


Darlene Banks


Suzanne Sheridan


Robert Satter


Bruce Kasanoff


R. Christoperson


Doris Jacoby


Soccer Moms


Eden Rossman


Doris Ghitelman


Oskar Ghitelman


Dharti Patel


Susan Farewell


Kate Watkins


Emerson Watkins


Ayla Nahmias


Orlando Fonseca


Zoe Nunez


Kevin Green


Oswaldo Campana


James Mapes


Michael Miller


Susan Granger


Phyllis Groner


Sharmila Green


S. Chowdhury


Jacob Trock


Cole Prowitt-Smith


Dennis Wong


Nathan Allen


Chris Crowe


Robert Fatherley


Demetri Dassouras


Jennifer Tooker


Caroline McCall


Iris Frey


Sage Franklin


Harris Falk


Kami Evans



geek the library: geek photos

March 29, 2016


geek of the day geek photos geek stories

geek the library

See the Flickr slideshow.
Slideshow searchable by name.

The Westport Library's public awareness campaign aims to connect people by highlighting their passions as well as communicate the vital role the Library plays in the community. Everyone has something they are passionate about—something they “geek.” Enjoy this page of photographs by professional photographer Pam Einarsen showing people with what they geek. What do you geek?



geek photos


More geek photos on:

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Mimi Greenlee Larry Weisman
Bill Harmer
Alex Gianini Mike Guthman

Cynthia Gibb

Jim Marpe

Joe Pucci

Hannah DeBalsi

Stacy Bass

bentleyRichard Bentley Jeanine Esposito Will Shortz Maya Kelle Ruden
Ken Bernhard Marianna McCall Robin Powell David Pogue Lucy Johnson


geek the library: geek stories

March 29, 2016


geek of the day geek photos geek stories

geek the library

See the Flickr slideshow.
Slideshow searchable by name.

The Westport Library's public awareness campaign aims to connect people by highlighting their passions as well as communicate the vital role the Library plays in the community. Everyone has something they are passionate about—something they “geek.” Enjoy this page of photographs by professional photographer Pam Einarsen showing people with what they geek. What do you geek?


See more geek photos on:

facebook facebook, twitter twitter and instagram instagram.

geek of the day

Scroll down for more stories.
Click on a hyperlinked name to see their geek photo.

Eden Rossman: I geek singing
Eden has many passions, but she loves singing and dancing. Her first days of experiencing this was with Miss Mary at Rhythm and Rhymes on Mondays when she was very little. She loved it! And still does!

Eden looks at the library as a familiar, safe place where she can learn, look around, discover. She's been going since she was 1 or 2 years old (and now she is 5, soon to be 6 and a kindergartner!)-and I see how the library has helped her confidence and curiosity for many different things because of all of the programs you have from the music, arts& crafts, story time, friday fun films, and of course, the GEEK campaign (which she actually told me about! so that's how I ended up taking her)

Eden says she likes to go to the library to find "peace and quiet". She loves the children's section where she read all of the Spot books when she was little, and now she takes out books on the seasons, animals, and chapter books that we read together at night now. But most of all, Eden feels like the library is a place where she gets to be a part of the community because she meets children her age and sees them regularly, and she also meets and sees older people in the cafe when she and her caretaker, Peggy, have a snack or their lunch. She loves striking up conversations with anyone! She also loves walking along the river, seeing the geese and ducks. The library is such a special place for her.

Brandon Malin: I geek drones
I enjoy drones because they combine my love of technology with my love for photography and videography. Drones also give you a perspective you wouldn't normally be able to have. It's also unique.

I value the Westport Library because it has a lot of unique resources. The people there find new and interesting ways to use technology, and connect people with similar interests, whether it's technology, garden seed exchange or language conversation groups.

Deanna Forman: We geek reading
My husband and I are Westport natives and grew up frequenting the library! I am a former Westport public school second grade teacher and am pursuing my reading specialist certification at Sacred Heart University. Our family consists of avid readers. We cherish the library for its summer reading program, mother goose activities and Ms. Lynn's yoga... just to name a few! We are grateful to you and the entire staff at the library and for the stacks of books just waiting for us to devour. You enrich our lives and contribute to us being a lifelong reading community. My oldest (Haley age 8) attended your Harry Potter event and absolutely loved it! 

Amie Appleton Greenspan: I geek amazing art
The Westport Library has been such a special part of my family’s lives over the years. My children’s first reading books were found at the library, and when they were young, we would spend an entire afternoon discovering books, having a snack at the café, and choosing dvd’s to enjoy at home.

We have also benefitted from the convenience of the library. It is a perfect place to relax while children are at their activities. The wide variety of board games offer a great way to keep siblings engaged and occupied, and the magazine room is such a peaceful place if you are solo.

I have especially enjoyed the art exhibits, author talks, and borrowing dvd’s of my favorite television series. We are all very lucky to have such a treasure in our town.

Dennis Wong: I geek non-violence
Wow.  What a novel and fresh idea to share one's passion with friends, neighbors and the public. The program offers new opportunities to start conversations with all who geeked.  "I did not know that ...."

The Library is becoming known as "Westport Central" as the place to meet.

Isabel Joffe: I geek accordian
I geek Accordion as it brings much joy to me and to everyone around me. I have returned to playing after 50 years away from it, and that was due to the insistent encouragement of my dear husband, Elisio. I was trained in classical accordion since I was 5, when my father gave me a child-sized accordion, as a gift, to solo accordionist pursuing it as a hobby. It is so honorable and gratifying to voluntarily play in my local community in Brazil and also to low income families and see the happiness on their faces! It is always soothing, healing, inspiring, and energizing.

I love to explore the versatility of the accordion by travelling through different musical styles and genres that represent the Brazilian History and Culture through Music, such as: Maxixe, Samba, Bossa Nova, Choro, Lambada, Forró,Baião, Sertanejo and Frevo. Playing the accordion takes me out of myself. It has exposed me to so much delight. Therefore, I am devoted to it and we are very happy together.

I love the American libraries because they provide countless services and bring community members together through different programs and events.

I love the Westport Library because of the wonderful and helpful people who work there, its sense of community and access to endless information. I always feel very welcome!

Isabelle Amlicke: I geek service
My passion was for service. I love that seeing your community and other communities gives you a chance to not only help them but also to get to know them in a way that you might not be able to under normal circumstances. Through service, you meet people of all walks of life and learn to find the commonalities between those served and yourself. Plus, it's fun!

As for the Library, I've always been quite the bookworm, so it's not just a place where I can go to try new books without having to buy them; it's a place that holds a certain nostalgia for me. I also appreciate the Library atmosphere. It's perfect for meeting up with friends and makes it easy to focus on work, which is invaluable to any high school student.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of your campaign.

Mark Mathias: I geek photography
For five years, we have partnered with the Library to create the Westport Mini Maker Faire and turned it into Connecticut’s largest event focused on creativity and innovation. The Library has turned a one day event into a year round activity that engages people of all ages, abilities and interests and has helped redefine what people think of a library

Jill Kalman: I geek color, shape & texture
I have been admiring the "geek" program for months now. The Westport library was a haven when my children where small with all the wonderful programs and just coming to browse the books and check one out. We always looked forward to those special one hour sessions. The "Reading to Rover" program was so special to my oldest daughter who was always crazy about animals. 

Then when I attended design school- the library provided me with a quiet, bright and beautiful setting to do my research and to study.

Exhibits, talks and community events- and even featuring my father-in-law's photography on a few occasions. For my kids who are now older- a place to meet a tutor and study for mid terms and finals- it's a bit of a sanctuary.

Now I am an interior designer with my own business and I "geek" color, shape and texture! Thank you!

Alli DiVincenzo: I geek inventing
Being in the “flow state” has been declared as the most productive and creative state of mind in which to work. Finding that flow or mental space to generate ideas, as well as time to research them is a challenge in this busy time. Born with the passion to create and invent new products I find the Westport Library to be one of the only places I can reach that state of peaceful work flow. As my latest invention FlairFriends is about to take center stage I thank the Library for: quiet spaces, invaluable resources and supportive cheerleaders!

Kevin Green: I geek astronomy
Kevin teaches Physics and Astronomy at UCONN-Stamford. He was the Maker-in-Residence for June and July 2016 where he coordinated the building of two automated telescopes. "Astronomy has always been a passion. I was a professional astrophysicist for many years before moving to a career in finance. I'm finding the move back into Astronomy more enjoyable the second time around!"

"I love how the library has become more than just a place for books and is a community learning center."


Lisa Price: I geek coffee
One of the best things about the Westport Library is how it strengthens our local community. Everyone is welcome, you often run into someone you know, and the numerous educational and social events span (and spark) all types of interests. For my family, replenishing our stash of books and DVDs is a frequent activity that we all look forward to. Over the years, I have enjoyed watching my kids’ connection to the Westport Library grow from attending toddler story time, to reading books on their own, to building memories at the Maker Faire and other library events.  


I geek coffee because at times it can help get me energized for my day, while at other times it can be a time out for a relaxing moment.  The Westport Library café definitely supports my passion for a good cup of coffee!

Liz Rueven: I geek cookbooks
I geek cookbooks in a big way. My collection is my inspiration and research material as I write my food blog each week. The selection is focused on just a few areas: vegetarian, Middle Eastern, Jewish cooking, and food encyclopedias.

AND The library has meant the world to me. We moved to Westport when my son was three and I was pregnant with my daughter. We used the library regularly, for book rentals, toy rentals, reading groups, teen summer reading ... we participated fully. When I needed a place to wait for my kids as they were involved in after school activities downtown, I always had a comfortable place to retreat to. And the view is great.

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading what Westporters are passionate about. What a great idea! All best and read on.

Lynn GoldbergI geek aqua exercise
I’ve always loved reading and the library. For years, the Library has been a place to find interesting books without risk—check out an armful and read what you want without cost—and to enjoy the intellectual stimulation of lectures. Many times I will invite a friend to a Library program so that we can experience the music program or book talk or financial outlook together. We are very lucky to have such an array of talented people come to do programs from all over our community.


My passion is aqua exercise. I started doing the program at the Westport Y to get in shape for my son’s wedding. It was so much fun. Under the supervision our instructor Patty who picked great musical sound tracks as well as varied routines, the classes were challenging while the people taking the class formed social bonds together. I highly recommend it for anyone who loves to read and wants some exercise so she can justify sitting with a book!

Mary Lea Brown: I geek art history
I’m studying art history at Pratt Institute (master’s degree). I geek art history because it is a way to connect people, places and cultures from all times and all over the world. You can learn so much. 

Mary-Lou Weisman: I geek writing
My library habit started slowly — a book here, a book there; nothing serious. Then I moved onto the cafe: half a sandwich, then a whole sandwich, then a whole sandwich and an almond croissant. Pretty soon I was into the hard stuff — The Maker Place, the French Language group. I was totally addicted, totally geeked I couldn’t stay away from the place, so now I’m permanently high on teaching beginners’ and advanced memoir and personal essay writing in the Seminar Room.

Michael Moore: I geek zeppelins
Zeppelins have fascinated me since I was ten years old. This fascination was sparked (with no pun intended) by hearing a snippet of radio announcer Herb Morrison’s legendary eye-witness description of the explosion of the Hindenburg at Lakehurst, NJ, on May 6, 1937. It was part of a compilation of radio news broadcasts from the 1930s and 40s, “I Can Hear It Now”, narrated by Edward R. Murrow, released by Columbia Records in the 1950’s on 78 rpm discs—and which today is still available as a digital download. Besides hearing Morrison’s dramatic reaction to the explosion—“It’s bursting into flames …. Oh the humanity, and all of the passengers….”,  I focused on a small image on the album cover, showing the Hindenburg in mid-crash, with fire spouting from its nose. This chance soundbite and tiny photo impelled me to start searching out books and articles about the Hindenburg, and about the history of zeppelins—or dirigibles and airships, as they were known in the US and Great Britain. The prize in my collection is the actual original photograph of the first image of the Hindenburg exploding, taken by a news photographer on the scene.

Because this interest in zeppelins is admittedly arcane, the Westport Library (or most libraries, I would guess) would not have much to offer me on my information quest.  I have managed, however, to build my own library on the subject. I believe I have a copy of every significant book on the subject that has been published (at least in English).

That said, however, the Westport Library has provided me with hours of enjoyment, entertainment, and information through its art exhibits and speaker series.  There may not be much left for me to discover about zeppelins, but in the six years that I’ve lived in Westport, the library has filled-in many, many gaps in my knowledge and enjoyment of areas beyond my special geek interest.

Peter Nathan: I geek travel
My passion for travel has been well supported by the library, as many of the locations to which we travel can be found in its reference books.

I have formed friendships with many people I’ve met during my visits to the library, and the special events such as “Booked for the Evening”, the many lectures and the book sales have all contributed to my enjoyment of living in Westport.

Roz Siegel: I geek theatre
Theater is something I have loved since I was a teen; living in this area enables me to indulge my passion. I am also a committed reader and enjoy the author lectures at the Library. I also look forward to the BOOKED for the evening events, further evidence of our wonderful cultural community.

Sybil Steinberg: I geek books!
Book geeks are born with a craving for words, a helpless fascination as necessary as food. To a book geek, being devoid of words is the ultimate torture. As a young reader I was reduced to reading the label on the dreaded cod-liver oil bottle on the breakfast table.

Next in my fledgling book lover’s life came the library, of course. Every Saturday morning at the excellent library in once-prosperous Bridgeport, CT., I checked out five books feverishly selected from the shelves.  Some of them are indelible memories even seven decades later. The magic never died.  When I researched term papers during vacations from college, the library was where I made exciting discoveries.

The Westport library was one of my first destinations when my husband and I moved here in 1960. Of course each of my sons achieved his own library card as a toddler.

The library was a different place, then. Silence was the required norm. The librarians never smiled. Even so, the books were the magnetic draw, as they continue to be.

The current Westport library could not be more welcoming. The librarians do smile, and chat, and offer help. The atmosphere is warm and engaging on the several levels of library interaction: the books, of course, and friendly people at the reference desk and the children’s room. Newer introductions:  the art exhibits and the maker’s faire, the movie CDs and the tables for coffee or tea, add to the feeling of community engagement.


I must confess that physical books, the volumes with pages I can luxuriously turn, and the heft of accustomed weight in my hands, are my preferred mode of reading. While I applaud the technology that has made books universally accessible, I cast a fervent vote that the stacks in the renovated library will continue to hold magical discoveries for the many book geek Westport readers.   

Tor Sporre: I geek life, food & friends
My story with WL begins in 1958 when my family joined my grandparents, Frank and Lula Flagg at Compo Beach.  I found myself in another planet of worldly, artistic, known, progressive, circumspect creative types who embraced and nurtured my creative soul. My neighbors were prominent Westporters and summering Manhattanites who availed themselves and resources to launch me into a career of performer, actor/model, chef, and motivational speaker.  Don't know what I would have achieved without Westport and the WL.

In 1997 I was in the Bay Area and was asked to change something on a computer. To my profound embarrassment, I couldn't.  I returned to Westport around Thanksgiving and was graciously coached by Candice in the childrens library section when school was in session—that's how I learned computer. I brought them flowers, and our lovely new director, honeybee Maxine, for whom we are eternally grateful, came by and asked about the flowers. They pointed to me, and the rest is history.

In conclusion, I miss Maxine (wrote a letter "..never forgive you for leaving us orphans", didn't have the courage to mail it) and am overjoyed with her successor, Bill Harmer, also a gem and very special man!  And the goodbye gala for Maxine is forever etched in my consciousness.

In closing, whoever finds staff like these dedicate, tireless souls working at the WL, makes it impossible to relocate for good, anywhere else, and I thank you.

Tracy Yost: I geek beach bikes
The library has always been one of my favorite places, no matter where I live. But, The Westport Library is where I went to do my research in order to start my business, Westport Bike Rentals. 

My first stop was the Fairfield County’s SCORE office where I met my mentor, Bob Hogan. He suggested I write a business plan. In order to dig deep into my target market and the market trends I headed to the reference desk at The Westport Library. 

The librarians were helpful, knowledgeable and tremendously supportive! I had 2 librarians pulling articles and reference books for me. I was off in the right direction. The hours I spent there that day provided me with photocopies of the data I needed for my market research & competitive research and it empowered me because I had the information I needed as proof that my business was viable. 

I am no longer writing my business plan, but I still regularly visit the library. I attend library programs, I borrow book and books on CD (yep, still listen to books on CD), and I use the library as a meeting place for business as well as a meetup place for friends.

But the most exciting library event is happening this weekend: the 24th Annual GIGANTIC Summer Book Sale under the tents on Jessup Green. 

You can also stop and play a game of ping pong with the view of the Saugatuck River! In fact, it’s #6 on the The Bike Lady’s Top 10 Ways to Chillax in Westport:

PING-PONG AT WESTPORT LIBRARY: I have never seen a ping pong table at a library, but Westport Library has one. It’s outside the lower level with a view of the Saugatuck River. No red cups, but just as much fun! Lots of reasons to love the game: no gym skills needed, no time to think about anything but the bouncy ball, and finding a partner is easy.

Susan Luchars: I geek 700+ page novels
The Westport Library supports my passion for trying out print books, audiobooks and DVDs that I wouldn't have access to otherwise.  Whenever I hear about a new title—new or old—I check the catalog to see if it's in, and if it is, I borrow it to see if I like it.  I often have a few print books I'm reading, at least one e-audiobook, and often a DVD series too.   I realize you might think it gluttonous, and it probably is, but it keeps my mind engaged and makes me happy!

Susan Granger: I geek movies
Since I grew up in Hollywood’s motion picture industry, movies have always been my passion. When I transitioned from WNTH anchorwoman to film critic in the 1970s, I discovered that the library was the ideal place to research cinema history.

Over the years, Margie Freilich-Den and her cohorts have been an invaluable source for me, astutely aiding and amplifying my own on-line research. I also appreciate their recommending books that illuminated historical perspectives that, perhaps, differed from the cinematic depictions.

In many ways, their encouragement led to my current post as ‘feature film critic’ for Video Librarian magazine, published bi-monthly…so my gratitude to the Westport Library is immense.

Shelly Grace
Climbing for me is a fulfillment to accomplish what seems impossible. I was and still am afraid for heights. But the first time climbing made me feel so different, challenged and good that eventually I got addicted and cannot live without constantly pushing my limits on the wall. For me, life is just another big chunk of rock that I need to climb on. I enjoy the journey, the milestones, and the feel of pushing & fulfilment of accomplishing.

Westport Library is a getaway for me and my husband to be. Both of us are into tech startups and we definitely enjoyed participating in all kinds activities ranging from 3-D printing sessions to town fair etc. We really appreciated the wide range of physical & audio resources (even games!) provided and the beautiful views and settings in the library. All these made westport library part of our weekend life. I just finished reading one of the newest book " when breath becomes air" and now I'm out searching for the next one!

Sandy Nathan: I geek cooking
The library is a passion because it is obviously of great importance to the community. During my time on the board I reveled in  being a part of the planning of improvements, special events and innovations which would appeal to the thousands who come through the library doors on a daily basis.

Having attended dozens of the lectures by authors and other personalities I was always intrigued by those touching on cooking, eating and discovering new restaurants.  I was always able to find a variety of books on food and recipes  easily accessible to either read in depth or glance through while waiting for an event to begin.

And I enjoyed, on occasion, contributing some dessert or breakfast delicacy to the staff and board events.

The library is the heart of our community, and my life has been enhanced by having had the opportunity to make a real contribution to it.

Isn’t it wonderful how many different activities those in our community “geek”

Roy Fuchs: I geek the book sale
My passion is the Book Sale.

My wife and I have been volunteers at it for quite a few years, and now I am one of the people who rounds up others in Westport Sunrise Rotary to volunteer.

You certainly support that passion, and many others.

Libraries always make a difference. In the old days you had the research materials we needed, now it’s the Maker Space and the Maker Faire (both of which Sunrise Rotary is actively involved with), it’s the WiFi and the cafe, it’s programs in the McManus Room. It’s all the things a community center should be.

It sure is a place to meet people, to discover new books — and old ones too, to learn about some of the not print on paper things the Library offers.

Phyllis and Stan Groner: We geek photography
The Westport Library has made a difference in my life and many many Seniors in Westport.  I have always said: “If someone in Westport is bored….it is their fault because there is so very much available to keep the mind and body active!!!”  The Library alone can keep each of us busy, from the young to the older.  I use my “GEEK” for photography to help to pay back, by taking photos of various lectures, etc. for publication and for the archives if wanted.

I have found the staff very warm and very friendly and very helpful!!  I guess Bottom Line:  I GEEK THE WESTPORT LIBRARY!!!  THANK YOU!!!  THANK YOU!!

Keep up the great work!  

Marianne Seggerman: I geek android studio
I took a class programming Android phones and tablets.  I installed the development software - Android Studio - on a Maker Space machine.  It was so much faster than my home computer.  I was able to get my homework done.  Last term I did my final project on a different computer, where I had installed Microsoft Visual Stusio, another program development environment.

I also am an avid puzzler - jigsaw puzzles.  I am a member ot Usual Suspects and read further from authors I am introduced to.

Lori Gazzero: I geek romance novels
Believe it or not, the Westport Library has been a part of my entire life! I am born and raised in Westport, and have been visiting the library since I was a small child. I still remember when I was issued my very own library card....back then, you had to be able to write your name in order to obtain a card! My mom took my brother and I faithfully every week to check out books. As a teen, I spent many, many hours up in the resource room area where you could look up information on microfiche.  Once I had children of my own, we were at story time and play time on a regular basis, and took books out weekly.  As my children grew and I had more time to read for myself, I indulged in my love of books.  I have also volunteered for many years at the annual July Book Sale. 

My Geek picture is taken with my good friend Ellie Herman, who I met 10 years ago, and bonded with over our love of romance novels!  We have had many library dates to check out all the latest releases and chat over coffee.  She has recently moved to Virginia to be near her son, after living here for 45 years.  We always laughed and said our love of "bodice ripping" romance novels was our little secret because we didn't want to be teased over our choice of reading material.  When I saw the Geek ads, I told her we needed to have our photo taken as a wonderful memory of our friendship before she moved away, and to show we are proud of our book choices.

So there is my long winded Geek story!  I have been utilizing our awesome library for 50 years, and have loved every minute!

Larry Weisman: I geek swimming
For me the library is the equivalent of the agora in ancient Athens. It is the place - perhaps the only place - where Westporters can gather on a daily basis to exchange ideas and exercise their passions for games, knowledge, creativity and intellectual stimulation, not to mention books. It is one of the things -along with Compo beach, Longshore and the Arts Center - which fosters a feeling of community which makes Westport such an attractive place to live.

Ken Bernhard: I geek my pal Jazz
The answer to the question of whether the Westport Library motivates, encourages, and sustains a passion for learning is an unqualified “YES”. Time and time again, I am astounded at how frequently my family and I can find new subjects and ideas to pursue. Books, lectures, and training are available in abundance. I am confident the very creative and fun Geek campaign successfully reminded our community of what an asset the Westport Library is. 

Jim Keenan: I geek chowda
I participated not just to share my passion but to instill town pride in an event where we call Westport home.  There's much to celebrate in Westport where libraries and events can bring the community together.  Your "Geek" campaign found yet another way to demonstrate that a diverse group can come together to share their differences in a fun and educational way.  Kudos to you and all involved especially those who volunteered and "geeked" to make it happen.

Chowda On!

Gordon Joseloff: I geek Westport history
Having grown up in Westport in the 1950s, and having spent hours in the old library on Post Road East as an elementary school student, the Westport Library has long been a special place for me.

My love of Westport early on turned me into a Westport history buff. Over the years, I have enjoyed searching through the microfiche recordings of old Westport newspapers and sifting through the history-rich picture files. 

In my ever growing collection of Westport memorabilia, one of the most prized items is the bound edition of The Westporter (seen in my Geek photo) from 1883. It's fascinating to read what occupied Westporters 123 years ago.

As editor and publisher of, I am creating a digital history of Westport in the early 21st century. I hope it will become a valuable resource—and source of fascination—for many Westporters of the future. (And hopefully archived at the Westport Library!)

Debbie Solomon: I geek puppies
I am always singing the praises of the Westport library to my family and friends who are big readers and not fortunate to live here! Here are some of the things I love about our library-

I am a preschool teacher and the children's department librarians are so great to recommend the newest age appropriate books and they are all so kind in addition to being helpful.  We love when they come to read at our school!

When my own children were young we took advantage of all the free classes, movies and special Saturday events.

I get great book picks from Sybil!

I love the author talks and special films shown in the Macmanus room and I look forward to a new and better space for these events.

We rent some many DVDs.

When you do not have a book or CD we can request that it be purchased and then we are notified when it is in.

For me the library is like a second home and I feel so fortunate to have it right down the road.  Before we purchased a generator, it really became like a second home when we camped out there with so many other residents we lost power.  There is a wonderful feeling of community in our library!


Curtis Sullivan: I geek trains
I like trains because they are fun to ride. They are comfortable to ride offering various classes. Short distance offers Coach class (and sometimes business/first class), Moderate/Medium distance offers coach and business/first class, and long distance offers coach, sleeper, and most of the time first/business class service. I also like them because of the scenery. I recently took a train through the Rocky Mountains and the scenery was wonderful. I also like the food on the train. My lunch on the Amtrak through the Rockys was delicious. Next time you travel, please consider taking a train as or part of your trip.

I like the library because it has a whole bunch of books. Since they have 3 week periods and 2 renewals, I can borrow a book for up to 9 weeks. I can check one out at the beginning of the summer, and return it at the end. The library isn't just books, it has movies, computers, and I can meet with other people there. It is a wonderful place to go, and Westport wouldn't be the same without it.

Alberta Cifolelli: I geek making art
Making art is my work. The Westport Library mounted one of my friendliest exhibitions, of over 60! Showing in my hometown at the library was extremely rewarding.  The show reached many friends, neighbors, and fellow artists. The committee that installed and manage my show was a rare gift. Chris Timmons is a professional. 

Nina Lesiga: I geek PechaKucha
PechaKucha is a new social media bringing people together through the sharing of 400 second uniquely crafted stories about passions. This storytelling twist uses 20 pictures, shown 20 seconds each to guarantee conciseness. The casualness of the gatherings sparks effortless conversation between listeners and the presenters as if they were at home with friends.

The word PechaKucha is Japanese and means chitchat. The event is held in 900 cities worldwide. I first heard about it in August 2014 and attended PechaKucha New Haven. I was stunned at the breadth of topics, the diversity of the audience and I was drawn in to what each teller shared. During breaks and afterwards, conversation about the passions and building upon ideas flowed.

PechaKucha’s magnetism is simply connecting, learning and having fun face to face. I have been a Pechakucha presenter four times, Serendipity and my love for PechaKucha led me to be a member of the team introducing PechaKucha to Westport. I am excited to take part in planning the next one at the Westport Library! The link to Westport PechaKucha is

Sheryl Kayne: I geek writing
I'm in the library at least four days a week. I Geek Writing (There!) IN the library. I spend many evenings in the conference rooms I value so much, writing. Last week I interviewed and videotaped a certified support group leader with the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance to celebrate Mental Health in Room 3. I've been a guest speaker in the library and four of my books are part of the library's collection. I love being there surrounded by people who always know how to help me find what I need. I actually thanked the library staff in one of my books! The Westport Library is MY Library. Did I mention I also use the digital/computer helpers? There isn't anything I don't love about being in and writing like a GEEK in MY library. 

Penny Pearlman: I geek dancing flamenco
Flamenco dance is infused with passion and fire and speaks to the same in me. I've only taken it up in the past year and it just proves you're never too old to try something new that feeds your spirit. The library is the same, allowing me to pursue other passions through exposure to new ideas, people and experiences, deepening my knowledge about many topics and providing me with space and inspiration for my own writing. The library is almost a second home for me!

Linda Hall: I geek folk music and research
I've been wearing my "Geek button" and telling people what fun it was. Now I can forward the picture to my friends and family overseas. Having grown up in Australia, Westport with all its history is a wonderful place to live.

Research has been the main reason I’ve spent many hours at the Westport Library. Fourteen years working on trade show marketing assignments, prior to access on the internet. Historical research for educational programs when volunteering at the Historical Society. Finding out who owned the house I once lived in on Narrow Rocks Road back to the late 1700’s. Freelance writing assignments on numerous topics. The Library was such an invaluable resource. Now, the gigantic book sales, book discussions, concerts, audio/visual rentals make my visits even more frequent.

Annie Fasanella: I geek hats 
I have a love of Hats - and create new ones when I can.

I consider The Westport Library - my personal heaven on earth - I am a Christian, look forward to the Kingdom come, when The Lord decides my time is over here - on this most amazing planet....? What changes, I have seen with the transformation of the Westport Library, since the first day I walked through the doors, and what I have seen through the years in all you do for thousands of people, who have been given a GOLD MINE of resources, programs. These have included a treasure trove of precious opportunities thanks to your staff, patrons donations, and your visions to advance their learning and grow richer with innovative ways to open their minds to their passions., always creating such  wonderful extraordinary memories for your patrons, their families  and 'out of towners',  from all around the world with lifetime experiences. 

Lauren DiBartolomeo: I geek my cat Sophie
I geeked Sophie, my two year old Savannah cat, because of all the wonderful resources that the library has on exotic cats! For anyone looking to adopt an animal, it’s extremely important to do your research first, and with the wide variety of books and information that the library has to offer, it’s easy to become the best cat mom in town!

Jay Grayson: I geek singing & dancing
With Westport’s great schools, creative people, beaches on the sound, our greatest asset is our very special unique library....And, it puts a smile on your face, and gets better every day! With heartwarming thanks, Jay Grayson 

Ilene Strizver: I geek typography
I’ve loved letterforms, even before I knew what typography was. I remember being fascinated by the colors, shapes and letterforms in many of Stuart Davis’ paintings that I saw in a book I had as a child. I went it on to study music and then painting, but found my way to graphic design and typography in my search for a way to apply my creativity and powers of acute observation into a career. I’ve been lucky enough to do that, and even have a book on typography in this very library!

The geek initiative is fantastic! It is a very creative way to get the community into the library and actively involved. I’ve lived in Westport for 30 years, and the library has always been a big part of my life. It’s almost my home away from home, because I’m there two to three times a week taking out books, movies, music, or just to absorb wonderful environment with its friendly, helpful staff. I’m grateful I live in this unique, eclectic town, one that has such an outstanding library that seeks stimulate and involve everyone in our community.

Amy Bansak: I geek children's books
My quote "I geek children's books" is personal and professional. I have been an elementary school library media specialist for the past 15 years. But my connection to the library goes way beyond that. I recall my weekly visit to the children's room as I accompanied my father on his quest to fill his voracious reading habit. At 7 or 8 years old he allowed me to roam the old building as he made his selections. I was curious then about libraries and continued to seek them out. In college, working part-time at the local public library, and after as an inter-library loan coordinator for a regional consortium. As I grew my family I returned to the library as a patron, taking part in countless story hours and borrowing mountains of books for pleasure and information. Finally, I made the decision to return to school and work towards my MLS and certification. I now am passionate about my work with children and our school community. I truly geek the library!

Iain Bruce: I geek genealogy
In 1988, we cleaned out my grandfather’s room after he died. In the closet was an old ledger, beaten and barely held together by its tattered binding. Inside was page after page of details of life on a farm on the Ontario-Quebec border from 1869 through 1887. In 300 pages of close-packed handwriting, my grandfather’s grandfather had recorded the events of almost every day for nearly 20 years. It was all there: the price of a cow, the value of hay sold and pounds of butter churned and peas shelled.

Flipping through I landed on page 292, and saw:
• Thurs 30 [August 1883]: Killed Hog got from Kenny Hope weighed 220 lbs Kenny Johnnie & Jim helping
• Sat 1 September. Beana not well sick at 11 P.M. went for Mrs Sandy & Doctor
• Sun 2 3 A.M. Baby girl born. In the evening Mrs Sarah Hope came to attend on Beana
• Mon 3 Jobbing about cutting grain

There it was: the birth of my great great grandmother, Edith May Browning, the oldest relation I had ever known. It was just one more little event on the farm. That’s the day I became a genealogist.

There are lots of interesting little vignettes in the diary. In May 1874, Thomas Browning records in detail the costs associated with burying his first wife (who was not my ancestor: I'm descended from the second wife). He logged everything: the price and location of the lot (in Mount Royal Cemetery in Montreal), the cost of digging the grave ($3.00), or renting a cab, of renting a vault for the winter. Hannah had died in November, but this being Canada, and before the age of backhoes, they couldn't bury her till May, so she lay in her casket in the cold winter till they ground softened up in May.

If you can read this kind of stuff written by your ancestors, you will be compelled to start digging deeper. This is history at its most human. Individuals, related to you, going about their lives in times different from your own, participating in the little rituals of life and the great events of history. It's irresistible.

Janis Collins: I geek startups
I co-run an Accelerator program for early stage, growth startups called The Refinery. We are passionate about helping these early stage companies realize their potential, building the core that needs to be in place so that they can scale and raise funding. We advocate for women in leadership roles, and require that the companies have at least one woman in a leadership position, CEO, COO, CMO, CTO, Investor. ... We have had 31 companies graduate our 4 programs. They have raised over $7million in funds, and created over 35 jobs. On Wednesday, April 27th, we are celebrating our two year anniversary. I really am passionate about helping new disruptive, innovative ideas commercialize into businesses. Jen and I started The Refinery as Makers-in-Residence at The Westport Library - we were “making companies”

Dolores Noble-Steadly: I geek my journal
My journal prompts me to talk to myself. I peruse them and exclaim, "Oh, yes, that's the cafe where we had the wonderful croissant and cafe au lait. So I love the written words and drawings(which I learned to do by borrowing books from the children's section of the library.)

Luisa Francoeur: I geek reading
Reading has always been my first love. My mother used to complain that if I was reading I would not hear her talking to me; I used to read under my nightlight after I had been put to bed; when I was 10 my family went to Europe for the summer and they packed an entire box of books for me; I cannot imagine going to sleep at night without reading; and now, with my phone, I always have reading material at hand.

Bruce Kasanoff: I geek skiing
One of the things I most love about skiing is that it brings me together with interesting and active people. Standing on a 10,000' mountain peak, you often have no choice but to open yourself to new ideas and new relationships.

The library performs a similar function. I'm a fan of noisy, social, and stimulating library events where you discover new ideas and fascinating people... who you had no idea lived nearby.

Diane Lowman:  I geek yoga and Shakespeare
I'm in the library so often and have been going since I moved here 19 years ago. First with my boys for kids' activities, then to study and work on my dissertation. Now to complete my Shakespeare project, and to tutor SHS students in Spanish. And always for the great author talks and the crossword puzzle contest! I often check out audio books for my car. My favorite spot is by the window in the cafe. 

Helen Klisser During: I geek adventure, exploration of the mind, body, and spirit. This includes: Looking and learning. Hearing stories and sharing stories. Exploring new territory, from documenting the aftermath of an devastating earthquake in Haiti to photo assignments with the United Nations in Rwanda and Malawi, meeting Hutu and Tutsi women who suffered the travesty of genocide, now working together creating beautiful objects.

Ski racing on the New Zealand ski team, hell-skiing or climbing remote mountain ridges on skis with a former prime minister of New Zealand, trekking in the Rwanda /Congo forest for gorillas.
Presenting art exhibitions and programs at the Westport Arts Center for six years, bringing insight, sharing experiences, helping nurture inquisitive and enquiring audience to also adventure by looking.

Meeting Westporters, snapping pictures of Westport daily life for WestportNow; opening a small window on the lives of Westporters, hopefully opening the door for a connection.

Where does the Westport Library fit with all this? It was my first port of entry as a new immigrant from New Zealand, recently divorced, single working mother in Westport 25 years ago with a young children Max (now 27) and Zach (now 25) and meeting other young Westport families at story time, making friends and holding me here. 

Patty DiBartolomeo: I geek the Green Bay Packers
I Geek the Green Bay Packers because this is the only team in the NFL owned by its fans and I am lucky enough to be a Shareholder! The fans love the team and the team loves the fans. There is a unique bond that no other team has. Wherever I go, I always spot someone wearing a Packer “G.” Great way to start up a conversation. One of their most beloved traditions is that on training camp days, the Packers players get to the field in a very different way than other teams. Kids line up with their bikes at Lambeau Field hoping that one of the players will ride their bike across the lot to the field. The kids get the biggest kick out of having their bike picked and they walk along-side the big, burly football player riding their bike to the field.  What better way to connect with the fans. Each year, the team hosts a family night in the stadium before the start of the season, which includes food, socializing with the players and an on-field practice with the team which benefits local charities. This gives the fans a unique sense of pride knowing that their team cares about them as much as they care about the team. And, on game day, the fans are the ones at Lambeau Field shoveling the snow off the bleacher seats to clear the stadium to get ready for a game. When you are gathered with other fans, you can feel the energy. And it’s not only during football season, it’s a year-long passion.  A Packer fan is dedicated for life. The fans bond together over their passion for the team and the Westport Library has several books on the team as well as the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi. And don’t forget the best Quarterbacks in the league – Bart Starr, Brett Favre and Aaron Rogers! Plenty of books to read!

WE GEEK THE FRENCH CLUB!!! The Westport Library French Club is 4 years old this April 2016. Joyeux Anniversaire! Here’s what it means to us:

Anna Buckner
A brilliant idea by the library became one of the highlights of my life here. Witnessing the progress, the friendships and good will developing in the group has been a privilege. J’adore le French Club.
Joanie McAteer
Finding others who are also francophiles and love to speak French has been a pleasure for me. I always look forward to Friday mornings.
Melinda Caldwell
I love spending an hour each week celebrating all things French. But what I love most are the new friends I’ve made, from all across the community. Westport is full of fascinating people, with stories to share, and that’s what happens each week at the library – en francais!”
Chris Carey
Kindred spirits practicing a beautiful language, sharing cultural anecdotes, led by our gregarious Anna, keep me coming back for more!
Christine LeBloas-Guillou-Shaffer
Speaking and hearing French, my native language, gives me great joy. The library's Friday French Club has become my second French family. Merci.
Darlene Banks
Being a new member of the library’s French Club, I have finally found a group where I can expand my knowledge of French and geek food at the same time. I love this group!
Anne Lyons
Friday mornings, sitting around a table with fellow Francophile friends who have become dear to me over the past four years, sharing our lives and our stories, all in French, is even better than a glass of the finest Veuve Cliquot.
Doris Storm Jacoby
Learning has never been so much fun. All of us in the French Group tell stories and laugh and find new friends - and at the same time, we learn to communicate in a foreign language. It's a win-win-win situation! (Doris also geeks film making and performing.)

Jessica Bram: I geek creative writing
In 2003 I founded Westport's first independent creative writing organization. ... I myself wrote many chapters of my published memoir Happily Ever After Divorce: Notes of a Joyful Journey (Health Communications, Inc. 2009) in the periodical room of the Westport Public Library, where my view of the flowing Saugatuck River seemed to help the words flow as well.

Nancy Ferriello: I geek healthy eating and lifestyle
As a master level registered/certified dietitian nutritionist and wellness consultant, I geek healthy eating and lifestyle and chose a basil plant for the photo to represent all herbs. Studies show that herbs offer many different health benefits. ... I enjoy introducing my clients to creative ways to make meals that are simple, healthy and delicious.

I love our library. As an avid, lifelong learner, it is a special place that I commune with others who are also seeking information and knowledge on a variety of topics. Every visit always proves to be a life enriching experience! I especially enjoyed conducting a family nutrition program there for the community. Thank you for being so innovative! 

Jodi Wallace: I geek Reiki
Getting to know the Westport Library was like going to an amusement park/museum/free bookstore/art gallery/music hall/movie theater - all rolled into one. Around every corner was another great exhibit or offering. ... Coincidentally, minutes before our first business meetings, I found out I had breast cancer. It wasn’t long after that, I sought out all the library books I could on my diagnosis. I was happy to “check out” the medical books that I knew I never wanted to “own”! During a year long course of chemotherapy, the library kept me sane, both through my continued work on the Capital Campaign - and through the book collection that provided the non-fiction resources I needed and the fictional distraction I craved. Toward the end of my treatment, I used the library to discover my passion for the healing arts; reiki, meditation, hypnotherapy. It was all at the Library. Now, I’m back to health, back to work, and starting out on own “next chapter” as a Reiki practitioner.  Namaste, WL!!!

Doris Ghitelman: I geek dance
I never had the opportunity to take any kind of dance lessons as a kid growing up in NYC. In fact, my family use to joke that I had no rhythm. ... I finally thought I’d give it a try as an adult. ... When I finished my first class I was hooked and Enrique said, “Doris, you have rhythm, you just have to let go”! I’ve been letting go ever since. I take a variety of dance classes for about 8-10 hours a week. ... The music is great, it keeps my mind and body in shape, but most of all, it makes me happy!  

As a realtor, I love sharing everything great about our community and one of the greatest assets we have is the Westport Library. I’m in my car quite a bit so audiobooks are a must for me. ... I also enjoy telling everyone about all the great speakers you have, the art exhibits, the maker space…the list goes on. I even tell some of my clients that have grandkids that they can have a grandparents kit made up in the kids department! 

Doris Ghitelman's dog Oskar, the Spinone Italiano: I geek my mom
She takes care of me, takes me to the park, beach (when we’re allowed), on playdates, on walks and rides in the car.  She taught me how to speak English since she picked me up in Italy. She also taught me really good manners so I can go to all the cool places she goes and everyone wants to be my friend. She loves to read and goes to the Westport Library a lot. It was fun for me to visit today and have my picture taken. I really love kids so I hope that the next thing she teaches me is how to read so that maybe I can be one of those Reading to Rover dogs at the library. 

Dee Andrian: I geek the bliss of being
On April 26th I will be 'celebrating' my 85th birthday........and I have never been more aware of the bliss of being.  It is an exciting daily journey. The Westport Library has been a treasure to me since 1976. I thank you.

Susan Farewell: I geek travel
The only way I can remember when I visited some place is to look in my passport. ... Writing brief descriptions about destinations was a skill that served me very well, as I became a travel editor/writer. ... I always shared my travel finds with family and friends, and when many of my traditional print outlets folded, I decided to use my expertise another way—to design trips for clients. Hence, my travel design firm ... was born. ...It also keeps me coming back to the Westport Library where I am forever scouring the recommendations of other writers who have dedicated their lives to exploring the world.

Sharon Cooper: I geek beading
I ‘geek’ beading thanks to my job at the library. One day while organizing the magazines, I flipped through Beads and Buttons and was intrigued by the idea of creating my own designs. I later ventured to the stacks, where I found an armload of beading how-to books that offered instruction and inspiration. After reading the books I was hooked, and signed up for a local introductory beading class. That was the beginning of NOVEL NECKLACES, which I named to pay homage to the library. Most days you’ll see me or some of our staff and patrons wearing one of my creations.

Rajesh Jaged: I geek finance
I've been coming to the Westport library for the past few months and love it here. The staff is always very helpful and the resources are just perfect for my job search for a position in finance/accounting.

Nathan Allen: I geek gaming
The library is a place I can be open and share my ideas and talents and through the library the wonderful world of virtual reality. I helped out building a gaming computer for them to do so. In the two years that I've been helping out at the library, I got to do many wonderful events with them.

Frederic Chiu: I geek pianos
The world of classical might seem like a niche to some, but it is actually one of the richest bodies of human creativity. The piano is an invention that had an impact on humanity almost to the degree of the printing press, the radio, the computer and the internet. It made complex music possible, and it opened the door to music to the masses. There is still nothing like a house concert with a pianist to open up one’s love for music. Within the limited scope of 88 keys, there is an incredible microcosm of emotions, thoughts and gestures. There is too much for any one person to even begin to explore in a lifetime. After the virtuoso Vladimir Horowitz heard the classicist Artur Schnabel perform Beethoven, he asked him why he only played the old German masters. Schnabel replied “I only play what I love.” Horowitz responded “Well, so do I!” And I can say that is true for me, and there is more than enough for my lifetime to explore and share with others.

I was never an old house kind of guy, but when Jeanine and I bought Beechwood, I started to catch the bug at the library. I realized that there were years and years of old phonebooks in the reference section. They used to be much more than just listings of phone numbers and addresses – they actually included lots of other data and even comments! I spent many hours perusing these old Westport directories, finding out the names of the previous owners of this amazing 1806 house. Eventually, I was able to stitch together a timeline going back over a century. I also could look up some of the old property tax records. The search eventually led me to the discover the archives at Town Hall and at the Historical Society, and to meet so many interesting people in town who know about old houses. I’m constantly going back to check out new facts and leads that I find on the web, through encounters with people, or discover in the house itself.

Kerstin Rao: I geek the princess bride
... Rob Reiner's film, which became a cult classic, lifts my spirits with every viewing. So, of course, Vijay and I, along with our dear and funny friends, re-enacted several scenes for our wedding guests. ... Most importantly, this story will connect, sustain, and entertain us for all of our days together.

Fred Cantor
Libraries have always been part of my life going back to my early childhood ... when I lived just down the block from the local library branch. At a time when travel was far more of a luxury than it is today, the books ... helped transport me to far away destinations. ... I would also use the local library in Fresh Meadows--and then in Westport after my family moved here--for doing research in connection with various school projects. And, libraries still played an important role in my adult life as I continued to do research related to a variety of creative projects I worked on including two books, a stage musical, and a rock documentary.

To help repay in a small way what libraries have done for me, my co-author and I have donated 100% of our royalties from the photo history book we did, "Fresh Meadows," (Arcadia Publishing 2011) to the Queens Library Foundation for the benefit of the Fresh Meadows library branch.

Cole Prowitt-Smith: I geek basketball
Basketball is a huge part of my life. I have a ton of fun playing hoops with my friends. I aspire to play in college one day.

Robert Fatherley: I geek chainsaws
Geeking a chainsaw is a metaphor for my passion about maintaining, preserving and installing hiking trails in several of the nature preserves in southern Fairfield County...

The Westport Library has become a destination, not just a place to drop by. I have been greatly helped by the Reference Librarians many times as well as the Interlibrary Loan staff.  

Joan Miller: I geek working with cut paper
I am intensely interested in optical art and I am driven to express it through my use of collage and color ... I create highly dimensional optical illusions using only paper.

My favorite things at the Library are the new book table and the Lambdin WPA mural. I am part of the art hanging committee ... and the committee has great camaraderie and the artists get the best exposure in town. (Also,) many years ago, when we were house hunting in Westport, I told my husband that one of the things I wanted was to live within walking distance of the Library. As a child, we lived 2 blocks from the library and I went all the time. I wanted my child (eventually children) to have that experience. You can see our house from the Library.

Virginia Irwin: I geek nature
My dad took me out on his hip as a tiny child to look at the sky in the evening. My first word was "blue." Looking at the stars and the blue sky. I also geek music of all kinds.

I love the library. It's a haven in this nutso world.

MarySue Waterman: I geek my old dog
Lydia is now 15 years old. She is a yellow labrador retriever and has had two litters with 17 puppies total. I have borrowed many, many books from the Library on breeding dogs and also on training puppies. One of my favorites is No Bad Dogs by Barbara Woodhouse. One of my puppies from the last litter is a specially-trained dog who participates in the "Reading to Rover" program here at the Library where kids of all ages practice reading aloud to a dog. I love my old dog.

geek the library: what do you geek?

March 29, 2016

geek of the day geek photos geek stories


geek the library


See the Flickr slideshow.
Slideshow searchable by name.

The Westport Library's public awareness campaign aims to connect people by highlighting their passions as well as communicate the vital role the Library plays in the community. Everyone has something they are passionate about—something they “geek.” Enjoy this page of photographs by professional photographer Pam Einarsen showing people with what they geek. What do you geek?

The campaign wraps up at the end of August--join us for a culminating party Tuesday, August 30, 5-6:30 pm in the Great Hall. Remarks by Executive Director Bill Harmer, special entertainment, games and puzzles, refreshments and a chance to pick up your print (if you haven't already).

We’d love to hear your story. Please tell us about what you geek and why. Also, do you have a personal story about what the Library means to you? (please note—by sharing your story you are giving us permission to use your name and story in Library promotions and publications). Email your stories to Barbara Durham, bdurham [at] westportlibrary [dot] org or 203.291.4828.

Get your geek on!

geek banners

See more geek photos on:

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geek the library: geek of the day page 2

March 29, 2016


geek of the day geek photos geek stories


Robert Mitchell


Nathanael Metke


Lynn Hildenbrand


Carl Frey


Jacob Weber


John Suggs


Mike Ogrinz


Robin Myers


Jessica Bram


Kerstin Rao


Joan Miller


Mark Mathias


Melanie Myers


Patty DiBartolomeo


Henry Myerberg


Randy Brody


Chris Timmons


Brandon Malin


Carolyn Zygmont


Paul Mazzaccaro


Sharon Cooper


Karen Bruce


Tom Bruno


Michael Altis


Lynne Perrigo


Melanie Kelly


Kathleen Malloy


Liz King


Dolores Noble-Steadley


Margaret Pastel


Mary Beth Goodwin


Chris Lorusso


Glenn Bardinelli


Dick Lowenstein


Wafaa Naggar


Candi Savin


Jaina Shaw


Melissa Kane


Margie Freilich-Den


Miles Katz


Alex Giannini


Emily DiMiceli


Mary Parmelee


Helen Garten


Kelle Ruden


Russ Baris


Kris Nash


Julie Belaga


Cindy Clark


Barbara Durham


Suzy Hooper


Lucy Johnson


Tracey Narang


Marianna McCall


Susan Ross


Mary-Lou Weisman


Peter Nathan




Mike Guthman


Lori Goertz


Bill Harmer


Jennifer Keller


Will Shortz


Sandy Nathan


Mike Greenberg


Marcia Logan


Richard Bentley


MarySue Waterman


Larry Weisman


Jeanine Esposito


Adrian Hinojos


Mimi Greenlee


David Pogue


Melissa Joan Hart


Miggs Burroughs


Robin Powell


  Frederic Chiu


  Stacy Bass


Ken Bernhard


Nina Bentley


Cynthia Gibb


Jim Marpe


Joe Pucci


Hannah DeBalsi


Back to Page One

The Westport Library Announces New Executive Director

June 2, 2015

William HarmerWestport, CT, June 2, 2015 - The Westport Library Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the selection of William H. Harmer, an experienced and innovative leader in the library field, as the next executive director of the Westport Library. Harmer fills the position vacated by Maxine Bleiweis, who is retiring after 17 years of service. Harmer will assume his duties in Westport on July 27, 2015.

Harmer comes to the Westport Library from the Chelsea District Library in Michigan, where he served for three years as head of adult services before being promoted to its director in 2009. During this time, he brought national recognition to the institution, including its selection as the Best Small Library in America by The Library Journal and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The Library Journal also named Harmer to the Class of 2009 Movers & Shakers, a list of emerging leaders from around the world making a difference in the library field. In 2013, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation chose Harmer as one of 120 world library leaders to attend its global conference on the future of libraries held in Cape Town, South Africa.

Most recently, the Chelsea District Library was awarded the 2015 Chelsea Area Chamber of Commerce Business Leadership Award for being a dynamic part of the City of Chelsea’s learning infrastructure in support of local economic development and for its focus on community-building programs and services. Harmer has also served on the Board of Directors of the Michigan Library Association and as president of the Rotary Club of Chelsea.

Mike Guthman, president of The Westport Library Board of Trustees said, “Bill Harmer possesses the intellectual, creative and entrepreneurial spirit that is at the heart of the Library. He comes to us with the experience, talent and leadership skills to maintain the Westport Library at the forefront of innovation and to propel the Library into its next phase of development and transformation.”  

“I am delighted to be joining the talented team of library professionals at the Westport Library; an organization that exemplifies what a world-class, 21st century library can be,” said Harmer. “I look forward to getting to know the staff and our patrons, developing collaborative relationships with organizations and leaders throughout the community and building on the exceptional work of my predecessor, Maxine Bleiweis.”

Harmer began his library career in 2001 and has held leadership positions at libraries in Farmington and Birmingham, Michigan. He holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in literature and creative writing from Eastern Michigan University, and a Masters degree in Library and Information Science from Wayne State University. He, his wife Jill and their three children will be relocating to Connecticut this summer.

The Westport Library serves an average of 1,200 patrons daily, and another 1,100 daily visitors to its web site. The Library provides more than 1,600 programs for adults, teens and children, annually, attended by over 55,000 patrons. More than 726,000 items were checked out or downloaded last year, and reference librarians responded to nearly 204,000 reference questions. The fourth annual Mini-Maker Faire, co-sponsored by The Westport Library in April 2015, attracted upwards of 6,500 visitors.

For further information, contact Administrative Assistant Robin Powell, 203.291.4820 or rpowell [at] westportlibrary [dot] org.

News release, pdf format.

The Westport Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, CT 06880


Chamber Announces First Citizen Awards: Maxine Bleiweis and Sam Gault to be Honored

April 21, 2015
Chamber Announces First Citizen Awards
Maxine Bleiweis and Sam Gault to be Honored
Westport CT – April 20. The Westport Weston Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce that Maxine Bleiweis, retiring Executive Director of the Westport Library and Sam Gault, President of Gault Energy will be this year’s First Citizen Award recipients. The Keynote speaker will be Ron DeFeo, CEO, Terex Corporation.
They will be honored at a gala dinner on Tuesday June 9. 
For more information and tickets, contact: Matthew Mandell at matthew [at] westportwestonchamber [dot] com or 203-227-9234.

Library Executive Director Maxine Bleiweis Wins National Award

February 24, 2015

Maxine BleiweisMaxine Bleiweis, Executive Director of the Westport Library, will be presented with the Charlie Robinson Award for 2015 by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA).

This prestigious award, established in 1997, honors one public library director each year who has demonstrated a professional record as “a risk taker, an innovator and/or a change agent in a public library,” one who is “known for developing and implementing programs which are responsive to the need of community residents,” according the PLA’s description.

Mike Guthman, president of the Westport Library’s Board of Trustees, described Bleiweis’ contribution to the Library: “By every measure, Maxine was instrumental in ushering our Library into the new millennium and guiding us through a dynamic period of change. Through the gift of her imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our Library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world.”

In the world of libraries, Bleiweis has an international reputation as a maverick, helping to transform the way people view and make use of libraries. Among many innovative changes made during her tenure, the Westport Library installed one of the first Maker Spaces in a library, providing patrons with access to 3D printing and participatory learning. This led to annual Mini Maker Faires, which now attract thousands of visitors. Bleiweis has overseen the Westport Library more than doubling its program offerings for all ages, which now include art exhibits, information technology equipment and support, workshops, collaborative spaces and support and meeting spaces for groups focused on dozens of topics from writing and storytelling to coding and employment search.

Bleiweis' views on innovative library services have a wide audience. She has been a frequent speaker at ALA and PLA meetings and events, exploring topics from economic development to customer service. She was invited by the US Embassy to conduct workshops on maker spaces in Moscow. In the fall of 2014, the Westport Library introduced robots for teaching computer programming, a debut which was covered in a Wall Street Journal article and accompanying video viewed by over 12,000 people.

Bleiweis began her library director career at the public library in Suffield, Connecticut in 1974, followed by an 18-year tenure as director of the award-winning library in Newington, Connecticut. She has served as the President of the Connecticut Library Association (CLA), which awarded her Librarian of the Year in 2011. Bleiweis has authored a book on libraries as economic drivers in communities through service to businesses.

In acknowledging this honor, Bleiweis said, “Charlie Robinson started a revolution. He began the transition that moved libraries from exclusive institutions to community hubs used to benefit everyone. Instead of perpetuating the notion of libraries as judgmental institutions whose purpose was to ‘elevate’ the pace of the people’s reading, Robinson was the first to say, in effect, ‘Give patrons what they want to read.’ He began including popular best-sellers and entertainment fiction which had not previously been reflected in public library collections."

Bleiweis has announced her retirement from full-time work this coming summer and is planning to become a consultant. She described Robinson’s influence on her, saying "As head of Baltimore County public libraries, he validated my own developing thinking and helped shape me as a librarian. To win the award that has his name on it is the ultimate honor.”

Along with the honor of being selected, the Charlie Robinson Award includes a $1,000 prize as a gift to the librarian. The award will be presented at the ALA’s Annual Conference in San Francisco in June of this year.


From Forbes magazine
February 23, 2015 

by Bruce Kasanoff, Forbes Contributor 
Remarkable Lessons In Innovation From A Public Library
There are two ways to run a public library in a small town: the traditional way, or the Maxine Bleiweis way.

For the past 17 years, Maxine has been the director of The Westport Library in our suburban town of 27,000 people. In her hands, the library hasn’t just been a place to get books. It’s been a vibrant tool for bringing out the best in others.

The Library offers over 1,600 programs annually. To my eyes, Maxine has no conception of the word “can’t.” Some think that public libraries can’t be noisy, boisterous, provocative, outrageous or entertaining. They can’t buy – and program – robots, or attract thousands of inventors, scientists and hobbyists for a single event.

As Maxine gets ready to hand over the reins of the library and start a new career as a consultant, the accolades are pouring in. 

Yesterday, The Institute of Museum and Library Services announced 30 finalists for the National Medal for Museum and Library Service. 15 of the finalists are libraries, and one of them is The Westport Library.

In June, Maxine will receive the Charlie Robinson Award from the Public Library Association, which each year “honors a public library director who has been a risk taker, innovator and change agent.” 

I’m telling you this not just to make you feel envious of our library, or because I like to brag about Maxine (okay, that last part is true).

The best talent is bringing out talent in other people, and Maxine embodies that ability. As I’ve watched her over the years, I’ve noticed several traits that we would all do well to emulate:

Boldness: If it will benefit the library, Maxine will ask anyone to do anything. She enlists CTOs of Fortune 50 companies, top journalists, famous authors, and a huge corps of enthusiastic volunteers. Just as importantly, she always has a bold idea and a few “asks” ready; if she spots you in the library, the odds are 100 to 1 that she’ll tell you about her latest projects and how you can help.

Warmth: The Westport Library is partially funded by the town, and also depends on donations from its supporters. There’s never enough money, especially now that the library is embarking on a capital campaign to reshape the building to be much more of a gathering, social and performance space. Leaders in such an environment don’t get to bark orders. Maxine leads with warmth, charm and enthusiasm. She understands that her role is to be uplifting and aspirational.

Imagination: What if we turned the middle of the library into a Makerspace? Could we teach kids to program computers by buying two Aldebaran robots for them to program? Maxine discovered the answers to both these questions was “yes.”

The library’s annual fundraiser, BOOKED for the Evening, honors “an individual whose work has nurtured a love of learning and enhanced our understanding of the world.” In Maxine’s hands, the library has honored Nile Rodgers, Tom Brokaw, E.L. Doctorow, Calvin Trillin, Wendy Wasserstein, Pete Hamill, Martin Scorsese, Doris Kearns Goodwin, David Halberstam, Arthur Mitchell, Oscar Hijuelos, Adam Gopnik, Barry Levinson, Patti Smith, and Jon Meacham.

Maxine taught an entire town not to be limited by outdated conceptions of what you or your organization is supposed to be doing. She showed an entire generation that you are limited only by your own imagination, creativity and willingness to to whatever it takes to bring your dream to life.

Most importantly, she showed us what happens when people with diverse talents, abilities and interests work together to uplift a community. The answer, of course, is that magic happens. 


Westport Library Named As Finalist For 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service

February 23, 2015

The Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal support for the nation’s libraries and museums, announced today that the Westport Library is a finalist for the 2015 National Medal for Museum and Library Service. The award is the nation’s highest honor given to museums and libraries for service to their communities. For 21 years, the award has celebrated institutions that demonstrate extraordinary and innovative approaches to public service.

imls award

The Westport Library is among 30 American libraries and museums named as finalists, chosen because of their significant and exceptional contributions to their communities. The winners will be named this spring, and representatives from winning institutions will travel to Washington, D.C. to be honored at the National Medal award ceremony. Winning institutions also receive a visit from StoryCorps, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs.

“Museums and libraries are the lifeblood of our communities, serving as trusted providers of critical resources, educational training, skills development, and civic and cultural enrichment,” said Maura Marx, acting director of IMLS. “We salute the Westport Library for exemplary leadership in promoting lifelong learning while engaging and inspiring the public.”

Westport Library Executive Director Maxine Bleiweis said, "We are extremely proud to be named a finalist for the National Medal Award. With 123,000 libraries in the U.S., just to be one of the 15 libraries named as a finalist, and to stand with such libraries as the Brooklyn Public Library, Los Angeles Public Library and the Phoenix Public Library is quite an honor."

The Westport Library, founded in 1908, serves a community of 27,000 residents and offers over 1600 programs annually. The Library hosts an annual Maker Faire, attracting 4,000 inventors, hobbyists, scientists, teachers and individuals and has been granted 5-Star Library status by the Library Journal, a recognition earned by less than 1% of American public libraries. The Library's addition of two robots last year as tools to teach coding skills garnered international media attention, including a feature article in the Wall Street Journal. To learn more, visit

IMLS is encouraging community members who have visited the Westport Library to share their story on the IMLS Facebook page, Visit the IMLS Facebook page to learn more about how these institutions make an impact. To see the full list of finalists and learn more about the National Medal, visit

IMLS is the primary source of federal support for the nation’s 123,000 libraries and 35,000 museums. Their mission is to inspire libraries and museums to advance innovation, lifelong learning, and cultural and civic engagement. IMLS grant making, policy development, and research helps libraries and museums deliver valuable services that make it possible for communities and individuals to thrive. To learn more, visit and follow us on Facebook and Twitter


Speakers Announced for TEDxWestportLibrary

April 17, 2014


TEDxWestportLibrary on Re-Tinkering Libraries, Saturday, May 3

Libraries have always adapted to cultural changes. The Westport Library’s TEDx: Retinkering Libraries conference on Saturday, May 3, from 9:30 am to 1 pm in the Library’s McManus Room will focus on changes taking place in a variety of disciplines. Participants can listen to the big ideas and determine how changes in these discplines may impact the evolution of the library. Sign-in will begin at 9 am, and the program will start promptly at 9:30 am. Latecomers will be admitted at the host's discretion. Register online.The $15 fee includes refreshments, and seating is limited. The presenters include:

• Jeanine Esposito, of Spark! Consulting, on innovation
• Joseph Jaffe, author of Z.E.R.O: Zero Paid Media as the New Marketing Model, on branding and marketing
• Michelle Luhtala, head librarian at New Canaan High School, on emerging technologies for social networking and cloud computing
Architect Henry Myerberg, on design
• David Pogue, of Yahoo, on technology

TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. This independent TEDx event is operated under a license from TED, the non-profit organization that stands for Technology, Entertainment and Design.

The TEDx event will be streamed live and uploaded to the TEDx website, which will also showcase previous TEDx talks.

Join us for Snapshot Day!

March 8, 2013

snapshotOrganized by the Connecticut Library Association, Snapshot Day is a day libraries around the state record everything that happens on a typical day—from how many people walk through the doors to how many items are checked out, what programs are offered, how many people use public computers and 3D printers and much, much more. The Westport Library Snapshot Day is Wednesday, April 10.

Please help us show how important your Library is by filling out the (very) short forms at the Circulation Desk, Reference Desk or in the Audio Visual Department, or sending an email to mlogan [at] westportlibrary [dot] org. The results of this exercise will be posted for you to see how much your Library serves the community, and possibly used to support libraries in state legislative sessions.

Let us know what your Library means to you!


David Pogue Loves the Library

January 23, 2013

David PogueThis is an excerpt from an article in the January/February 2013 issue of Westport magazine.

David Pogue: Author, Correspondent, and TV Host

David Pogue is Westport’s very own tech marvel—a New York Times technology columnist and host of NOVA scienceNOW on PBS, a best-selling author, and a correspondent for CBS Sunday Morning since 2002. He lives in Westport with his wife and three kids.

Where can a Westporter turn for help with his or her gadgets and gizmos (especially with no Mac store in sight!), and where can one go for a fun techie experience? Pogue’s eyes light up as he says, “The library, man! The [Westport Public] library. Not only is it good, fast, free WiFi—even when the power’s out everywhere else in town—but the library’s been embracing the tech segment with the Maker Faire, the new Maker Space, and regular tech events. Once the renovation happens, wow, you won’t be able to keep us techies away!”

When he’s looking to take his own kids out for a scientific exploration and some creativity, he finds plenty to do in our area. “We’re family members of the Maritime Museum [10 N. Water St., Norwalk],” he says. “We go maybe three times a year. And when the kids were younger, we got a lot of mileage out of the Stepping Stones Children’s Museum [300 West Ave., Norwalk], too. Every now and then, the Discovery Museum [4450 Park Ave., Bridgeport] comes up with a great exhibit, too, and we’ll spend a free and easy afternoon prowling that weird, wonderful building.”

Although known as a science and tech guru, Pogue is a serious musical theater buff. “We Westporters are lucky enough to call New York City ‘local’! So we do a fair amount of jaunting in for a show. We also go to the Webster Bank Arena [600 Main St., Bridgeport] fairly often: shows, circuses, performances. It’s just crazy how close it is, how easy it is to get in and out—and these are big, national tours,” he says. “Every now and then, the Westport Country Playhouse puts on something that’s family friendly. But, by far, our most joyous theater outings are to the Staples Players high school musicals. We haven’t missed a single show since we moved to Westport in 2004! The talent, direction, and production values of those shows are high. Scary high. We love us those Staples Players!”

From the theater program to the Robotics Club at Staples, Westport’s emphasis on intellectually and artistically stimulating programs for youth comes as no surprise to Pogue. He says, “I’d expect nothing less of a town that’s populated by brainiacs, overachievers, and world-shapers. I kind of love that among all the bankers and CEOs, a subculture of fellow nerds are quietly thriving and having a great time.”

To unplug, Pogue heads out for a sail. He says, “My life changed when I discovered the sailboat rentals at Longshore [Sailing School]…We don’t have to worry about maintenance, setup, cleaning, we just show up and sail.”

His favorite spot is Compo Beach. “There’s nothing like the peace that falls at the end of a day, when the sun sets, the crowds take their little ones home to bed, and it feels like you’re at the edge of the world.”

To read the complete Insider's Guide pick up the January/February 2013 issue of Westport magazine.


Westport Library Makes Cover of Library Journal

October 2, 2012

New York-based Library Journal Art Director Kevin HeneganThe Library is featured on the cover of the October 1 issue of Library Journal, the largest library publication in the country. Two of the three pictures on the cover are of the Westport Library’s Maker Space. The cover article is about public libraries that are leading the trend in creating spaces where people can come together to design and create for either personal fulfillment or entrepreneurship.New York-based Library Journal Art Director Kevin Henegan Maker Spaces in libraries are the latest step in the evolving debate over what libraries are, and what they should be. On October 15, Westport Library Director Maxine Bleiweis and Asst. Director Bill Derry will be featured in an American Library Association free webinar about the creation and development of the Westport Library Maker Space.

Photos: New York-based Library Journal Art Director Kevin Henegan taking pictures of the Maker Space

Library Journal article

CT Libraries as Technology Petting Zoos

October 23, 2011

Libraries Adapt To Demands From Online Users As Well As Visitors Coming Through The Doors

By Bill Leukhardt, wleukhardt [at] courant [dot] com The Hartford Courant

Reference librarians are familiar with queries like "What is Bulgaria's principal export?" More frequently now they're also handling questions like "How do I find the book I just downloaded?"

"We get more and more questions like that daily from patrons," said Pam Kelly, the Wethersfield Public Library supervisor in charge of technology and making sure the library isn't left behind as things change. "People ask us to explain how to use Kindles, Nooks, iPads, tablets — all different devices. The staff has to know a lot. And there's always more to learn." The printed book still rules in libraries, but more and more libraries are acting as a digital gateway, playing roles in two worlds — the tangible and the cyber.

The printed book still rules in libraries, but more and more libraries are acting as a digital gateway, playing roles in two worlds—the tangible and the cyber.

"Clicks and mortar" is what Kelly calls it: "We're kind of running two libraries."

In 2010, Connecticut's municipal libraries loaned 20.9 million printed-on-paper books, so that demand remains strong, said Eric Hansen, electronic resources coordinator with the Connecticut State Library's data service.

He said there is no firm statewide data on e-book use. This year will be the first that the state library will collect those statistics from public libraries, Hansen said. Demand for e-books is growing, but it still represents only a tiny fraction of the total circulation in libraries. Many libraries currently offer free downloads of a limited selection of e-books in a variety of formats. Some don't have any yet.

"The challenge for libraries will be to meet the growing demand for e-books while providing for the continuing demand for physical books," Hansen said.

Internet access is important to library patrons, reflected by the increase of public library Internet stations from 2,598 in 2005 to 3,751 in 2010 statewide.

However, in the same period, public library visits and circulation of physical items each increased about 9 percent each year, an indication that the web-based library is more like a "branch" library than anything else, Hansen said.

Maxine BleiweisMaxine Bleiweis, library director in Westport and a former director of Newington's public library, said libraries are becoming information curators as technology changes the formats of how information is distributed.

"Technology gives us access to so many things we want to learn," she said. "We have to learn the technology."

This year, the Westport library created the job of assistant director of innovation and user experience to help the staff better guide patrons into the changing world of digital information.

Laurel Goodgion, director of the Wethersfield library since 2002 and a librarian for more than 35 years, said one mission of public libraries is "to bridge the digital divide" by providing patrons ways to enjoy the growing wealth of knowledge available through computers and electronic devices.

The Wethersfield library has more than a dozen computer stations patrons can use, offers computer training classes to people, has wireless Internet access, offers more than 500 online classes through two databases and has a website allowing people to sign in and borrow materials without setting foot in the building.

But the vast number of users still prefer to walk in. Last year, the library had 193,637 visitors, up from the traffic of 185,222 the year before.

Like other libraries, the one in Wethersfield library remains a destination — a meeting spot for a knitting group, book clubs, discussion groups, and place where community organizations gather, Goodgion said.

She and other library directors say services based on digital technology are important but only a part of what patrons expect.

In West Hartford, the library circulated 805,609 items last years to patrons at its three branches. At the same time, the library loaned 7,201 electronic items to patrons, West Hartford Library Director Pat Holloway said.

"From time to time we send out surveys and hold focus groups in order to continue to educate people about what is available in libraries – especially if they never cross the threshold – and obviously we are getting a lot more users who do all their library visits from their own homes," Holloway said. "We also use Facebook, Twitter and have our own once-a-week e-newsletter that we send to the 20,000 email addresses that are in our database."

Technology in libraries "is just one piece of a very large puzzle that when assembled provides a snapshot of the communities they serve," Torrington Library Director Karen B. Worrall said. But the library has begun holding what it calls "technology petting zoos" to familiarize patrons with the various devices and how to download an e-book.

"We are definitely adding more online resources and redefining how patrons 'visit' the library;" she said. "Call me naïve, but I think people still enjoy congregating and visiting a place where they run into friends and neighbors or have a shared experience by attending a program. Libraries are, by nature I think, social entities."

Smaller libraries with smaller budgets and resources don't always have the high-tech capabilities of libraries in larger communities. Amy Orlomoski, director of Andover Public Library, said that library " is still pretty small, and we don't offer a whole lot of digital services for patrons." There are public computers but budget constraints here mean no digital downloads, she said.

"As our patrons ask more for digital availability of titles, we'll consider trying to add those options at the library, but for now, we're still pretty much into the printed word here in Andover."

Library to be Pilot Site for New E-book Service

June 27, 2011

Westport Public Library is one of 10 sites selected by Library Ideas, LLC to inaugurate Freading, a system for checking out e-books, to begin later this year. The system is based on its popular and successful system for downloading music through libraries, called Freegal.   The announcement was made June 27 at the American Library Association (ALA) annual meeting  in New Orleans by Library Ideas co-founder, Brian Downing.

When Freading goes online, Downing said, it will offer 20,000 copyrighted titles from 16 publishers. The titles will use Adobe Digital Editions and will work on every major device except the Kindle.

With Freading, library patrons will be able to download books for a two-week loan with a two-week renewal option. The library is charged for each download, with the cost being related to the age of the book.  A library would establish a budget for downloads, just as is currently done for adding books to the shelves.

According to Westport Library Director, Maxine Bleiweis, the plan is to give Westport Library card holders access to a specific number of e-book downloads per week, similar to the way card holders can now download three music tracks a week with Freegal.  

Bleiweis added, “The attraction of Freading is the ability to have multiple users simultaneously check out the same book. That hasn’t been available before. It’s also attractive to have titles available that don’t need to be paid for until they are used, increasing the options for library users.”

Some of the other libraries involved in the pilot are: Orange County Public Library System (FL); the Free Library of Philadelphia (PA); Maricopa County Library District (AZ); and Los Gatos Public Library (CA). Westport is the only site in the tri-state region.

Get a Thank You When You 'Like' the Library on Facebook on April 13

April 5, 2011


On Wednesday, April 13 Westport Public Library will be encouraging patrons to ‘Like’ the Westport Public Library on Facebook, adding to the Library’s “virtual” snapshot. As a thank you, everyone who ‘Likes’ the Library on April 13 and writes on our Facebook wall will get $2 off any purchase in the Library that day by coming in and showing their wall posting, online or in a print-out, compliments of Friends of the Library.

“Snapshot Day is a great chance to invite more friends to become part of our Facebook family,” said Assistant Director, Beth Dominianni.  “‘Liking’ the Library on Facebook is the perfect way to show that it has an impact on your life every day. You can ‘Like’ us from home or stop by the Library and look for the Facebook thumbs-up ‘Like’ symbol,” she added.

To ‘Like’ the Library, while logged onto Facebook, go to the search box at the top of the page and enter Westport Public Library. When it appears in the search box, click on it.  On the Westport Public Library page go to the bottom of the left-hand column, find the ‘Like’ option and click on it.  “Even better,” Dominianni said, “while you’re on Facebook, suggest that your friends ‘Like’ the Library, too.”

On April 13th, all over Connecticut libraries will be taking a “snapshot,” capturing the impact they have on their communities on a typical day. This is the second Snapshot Day sponsored by the Connecticut Library Association, the Connecticut State Library, and the Connecticut Library Consortium. Last year 136 libraries participated with more than 80,600 people visiting Connecticut libraries including 10,000 attending a program or class. In total people borrowed nearly 100,000 books, DVDs and other materials that day.

According to Dominianni, April 13th will be a typical day at the Westport Library, too. There will be four programs for kids:  Baby and Toddler Mother Goose Stories; after-school chess; and an all-age story time; plus a morning workshop for jobseekers, and a teen anime night. That’s in addition to people coming to work, to enjoy themselves, and to connect with their colleagues, acquaintances, and friends.  

Throughout the Library people can be seen doing research on the Library’s databases including LexisNexis and the NYTimes; working on computers including a MacBook laptop or using the Wi-fi connection; checking out Kindles and BluRay DVDs; reading newspapers and magazines; playing chess or working a jigsaw puzzle; meeting a business associate in a small conference room or a friend for coffee in the Café or buying a used book from the Friends of the Library book sale shelves. They also take in the two temporary art exhibits as well as the permanent displays, such as the 90 works of art in the McManus Room.

 “These days, a favorite place to share photos of friends, family, and good times together is on Facebook, and the Westport Library is no exception,” Dominianni said. “On April 13 for Snapshot Day stop by and show us you ‘Like’ us on Facebook along with your wall post and let us say thank you.”

UPDATE: The Community Library in the Emerging Knowledge Economy

March 31, 2011

Recently, Westport Library Director Maxine Bleiweis and Irving Wladawsky-Berger, an emerging technologies expert, spoke to the  Y's Men of Westport-Weston about what libraries will be like in the future.

Wladawsky-Berger recapped their presentation on his blog, detailing the integral role libraries have had in communities since our earliest civilizations.  Their conclusion that the importance and influence of libraries will continue in the online era is supported by a robust body of research from a number of arenas, including research about institutions, knowledge and information flow, and of course, human behavior.

They cite a project being conducted at the Deloitte Center for the Edge, that is measuring the effects of digital technologies on business and society in general in a Shift Index.  The results reveal major trends, including the shift to lifelong learning and the reminder that "social networking " online  is a reflection of the fact that humans like to communicate, share ideas, and learn from each other in the real world as well as in the virtual. They summarize this by saying that the economic value of knowledge has shifted from having stocks of knowledge to having access to a flow of new knowledge. 

Libraries are in the midst  of evolving to meet, and embrace, these shifting needs. Bleiweis and Wladawsky-Berger say the community library is one of the key institutions that can support the expanding need to keep on learning, putting it at the core of healthy, vibrant communities of the future.


On Monday, April 4, 2011 on All Things Considered, NPR added to the discussion.