After a nearly two-year, sweeping renovation project, the entirely reimagined Westport Library completed its long-awaited Transformation Project with a grand reopening on June 23, 2019.
Hear from Library Executive Director Bill Harmer, Board Members and members of the community about the future vision for the Westport Library.
During a day jam-packed with events for all ages throughout the Library, the organization welcomed Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont, Westport First Selectman Jim Marpe and the entire Westport delegation to Hartford, along with more than 3,000 community members, to experience the new spaces and offerings.
The redesigned Westport Library is filled with thoughtful upgrades, new features and amenities and the exceptional materials, collections, services and staff for which the Library is known.
Since the ribbon-cutting, the Library has seen record numbers of program attendance, daily usage, circulation of materials and requests for meeting and event space.
The Library's facility, built in 1986, had not been updated significantly in nearly two decades. It was no longer state-of-the-art, nor flexible enough to accommodate modern library usage. Simply put, the building no longer supported the Library’s mission.
After years of planning and a number of iterations, a plan was finalized to move forward with the renovation project which was designed to take the organization into the 21st century and beyond. The vision and forward-thinking designs focused on flexibility, adaptability and accessibility.
At a groundbreaking ceremony in September 2017 joined by hundreds of donors, volunteers, staff and community members, the Library officially began its historic Transformation Project.
Funding the Transformation Project
Completed on time and on budget, the $20.8 million Transformation Project was made possible thanks to a robust show of support in the form of public and private funding. Public dollars from the Town of Westport were allocated in 2017 when the Town’s RTM unanimously approved the disbursement of $5 million for the initiative. The town’s funding covered the cost to replace the dated and inefficient mechanical systems - the HVAC, plumbing and elevator - which were original to the 1986 facility. The Library also applied for and received a $1 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library. The bulk of the funding for the project was contributed from private donors. Click here to see a full list of the donors
There's so much more...
- Flexible 400+ seat Forum for performances, programs and events
- Significant increase in open space
- More outdoor program space
- 7 small meeting rooms
- 9 conference rooms
- 3 program rooms
- Family lounge
- Enhanced collections, including a new Library of Things
- Capacity for multiple simultaneous programs and events
- Expanded Café & outdoor deck
- Museum-quality store
- 2 professional multimedia studios
- 18’ video wall
- Professional lighting & sound system
- A/V equipment in conference rooms
- Enhanced MakerSpace
- Double the number of entrances
- Expanded upper level balcony
- Assisted listening system
- 2 family restrooms
- New elevator
- More powerful WiFi
- Abundant power outlets
- Enhanced programming
- Outdoor events & activities
- Increased opportunities for
- More workspaces
- Support for small businesses, entrepreneurs and jobseekers
More Café Enjoyment...
- More seating with beautiful views
- Expanded menu
- Outdoor deck
- Extended hours
- Enhanced databases
- Expanded digital offerings
- Library of Things
- Books on all 3 levels
More Performance Space...
- Large stage with professional sound and lighting systems
- High-tech Yamaha Disklavier piano
- Grandstand seating
- Water-saving sinks
- Air-powered hand dryers
- All new HVAC system
- New energy efficient windows
- Solar panels
- Water bottle refilling stations
Contribute to the Next Chapter
We need your support to continue to offer the nearly 2,000 free programs and events each year. To learn more about how you can play a role in the Library’s future, click here
The Library was fortunate to have Westport photographer Richard Frank step forward to volunteer to document the entire two-year renovation of the Library. Frank captured not only the day-to-day construction but he also focused on the workers who helped bring the project to life.
His images were on display at a special exhibit at the opening of the Library called Transformation: The Workers in the Library’s South Gallery and many are visible here in this gallery.