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Westport Library: A Gem on CT’s Gold Coast
By Linda Matchett
Posted on 7/16/2019 9:46 AM

Located on the Long Island Sound, Westport, Connecticut is a bustling town of more than 28,000. They are fortunate to have had their gem of a library since 1886. Overlooking the scenic Saugatuck River, the Library is a vibrant community hub where people of all ages come to seek information, gain knowledge, exchange ideas and share experiences.

Since leasing a second floor room on the Hurlburtt block, the library has moved and expanded numerous times, with the most recent building that just opened on June 23, 2019. More people visit the Westport Library than ever before, coming to use technology such as computers, scanners, printers, and the wireless network as well as to search for employment, conduct business and group meetings, attend workshops and performances, and experience art.

The Library is a warm and welcoming destination where individuals read and research, shop the store, meet friends at the Library Café, or simply enjoy the camaraderie of being in a shared space. Only 1% percent of public libraries nationally earn 5 stars from Library Journal, the nation’s premier publication for libraries, and the Westport Library earned “Five-Star Library” status in 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.

Many changes have occurred over the past ten years in library service.  The growth of e-materials, online research, and extensive programming for all ages. The new library has been transformed into a community hub of meeting and conference rooms, including a large forum area that features a stage, a Yamaha Disklavier Piano, and an 18’ video.  In addition, a professional recording studio staffed by an expert in the field is now available. The Library’s MakerSpace has been expanded to encompass new features for users to ideate and innovate.

The library staff responsible for adult acquisitions use a variety of review media for consideration of titles purchased for the collection, such as Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Publishers Weekly and NYT Book Review.  When selecting for children and teen materials, staff also use School Library Journal, Horn Book and other appropriate media. These is always a demand for mysteries and thrillers at the Westport Library. Westport Library has a small collection of independently published books by local authors, indicated by a stickers on the spine.

A varied slate of author programs are offered throughout the year. Decisions on who to invite are handled by the Programming Team. Pageturners, a regular book discussion group, meets at the library. Group members make book suggestions which are compiled into a list with a synopsis. Titles are then voted on by the members. 

As it has done since its humble beginnings, Westport Public Library will continue to serve the needs of their patrons through the materials collections, services, and programs, changing and evolving to mirror the growth of the community. 

To learn more about this gem on Connecticut’s Gold Coast,

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