Westport Welcomes A New Library

For nearly 100 years, the Westport Library got along without a logo.

But as part of her effort to make the library fresh and modern, director Maxine Bleiweis introduced one.

That was a dozen years ago.  It served its purpose — for a while.  Now it’s time to freshen up and modernize the logo.  But this is not just change for change’s sake.

“Where you put things today is totally different,” Maxine says.  With so many people accessing so many small devices — smartphones, iPads, laptops and the like — a small symbol comes in handy.

Voilà — the new Westport Library logo!

“We wanted to keep some elements, though,” Maxine says.  The old “dots” between the syllables of “library” have been replaced by…one large dot.

The “wave” — a subliminal signal that our library sits on a river — remains.  It’s even more pronounced now.

But — because the Westport Public Library is no longer a typical “library” — the logo now reads “wpl.”  It’s the modern way of communicating that all the old stuff is gone.  (Kinda like Kentucky Fried Chicken becoming KFC.)

The logo is very flexible.  The circle can be tweaked.  If, say, the library wants to promote its reference staff’s ability to answer questions more personally than Google, it can use the dot as a question mark.

“It will be fun,” Maxine promises.  Of course, that’s in the future — once the logo becomes well known on its own.

The logo wasn’t all that needed updating.  Like most organizations, its website was built when sites were static.  As pages and functions were added, and it was asked to do more — photos, video clips, commenting — the foundation could no longer support its own weight.

A new website is coming — next Tuesday or Wednesday, Maxine promises.  Here’s a preview:

The site is built on a state-of-the-art open source platform.  A robust commenting section, and greater highlights of upcoming programs, are two key features.  Plus, of course, the new logo.

If you’re the type who needs help navigating a new website — or you just enjoy going to library events — then circle Monday (Jan. 10).  From noon to 1 in the McManus Room, you’ll get a guided tour.

No, it’s not as simplistic as it sounds.  The website features exciting new options, like downloading music.  Sony catalog’s 400,000 items are online — with more to come.

Library users can download three songs a week — to an iPod, computer, probably even a Victrola.  You can create a “wish list.”  And all items are yours, forever (or until a newer, better technology comes along).

The website is also a portal to language education.  You can access at-your-own-speed instruction in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Hindi, Japanese, Korean, Spanish — even American Sign Language.  (In video format, smart alec.)

Next month, the website adds a downloadable book service.  Users can “borrow” books on a variety of electronic reading devices.  There is a time limit (to be determined — probably 3-4 weeks), with an option to renew.

So there you have it:  a logo.  A website.  Downloadable music.  Downloadable books.

It’s not your father’s Westport Public Library anymore.

Not even 2010’s.

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