Breaking News — Maxine Bleiweis To Retire

Maxine Bleiweis — the innovative, energetic and much-admired director who over the past 17 years propelled the Westport Library into the forefront of institutions nationwide — has announced her retirement. She moves into a new career as a consultant on July 1.

The decision was difficult. But, she says, “with the Westport Library solidly set on its future path, I hope I will have the opportunity to help other libraries achieve similar goals.”

Board president Michael Guthman said that because of Bleiweis’ “imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world.”

Maxine Bleiweis

Maxine Bleiweis

She came to Westport in 1998, after serving as library director in upstate Newington for 18 years. She made her mark here in many areas, from personal interactions and customer service to programming, community involvement and technology.

She is passionate about new ways of learning, intergenerational collaboration, support for the business community and independent entrepreneurs.

Bleiweis also championed the adoption and implementation of new technologies. Under her leadership the Westport library instituted automated circulation systems, provided internet access and wireless computing, introduced 3D printing, taught programming with robotics and maintained a MakerSpace.

Her library was also one of the 1st in the nation to maintain a MakerSpace.

In 2013, the Westport Library earned a 5-star rating from The Library Journal. That year Bleiweis was asked by the State Department to host a conference of librarians visiting from Moscow. She was later invited to Russia with staff members from The Smithsonian Institute.

Bleiweis has worked in libraries for over 40 years. She says:

It has been an honor to serve the town of Westport, a place where individuals are truly committed to learning, culture, and coming together for the betterment of the community.

It is this commitment, the generosity of donors and volunteers, and our gifted  staff that have made the success we achieved possible. I am confident that this team and this community will continue to expand and grow the Westport Library into the extraordinary place it will be in the future.

For nearly 2 decades Maxine Bleiweis has been the library director that most towns only dream of. She has made our library into a true community jewel, for Westporters (and others) of all ages. We will miss her greatly.

Fortunately, in her new consultant role, we can call on her whenever we need to. As the Westport Library heads into its next era — with physical expansion in the works — this gifted librarian will continue to help us stay informed, connected, and proud.

Maxine Bleiweis' impact extends to hiring innovative people. She and Bill Derry share a love of using technology in a variety of community-minded ways.

Maxine Bleiweis’ impact extends to hiring innovative, creative people. She and Bill Derry share a love of using technology in a variety of community-minded ways.

15 responses to “Breaking News — Maxine Bleiweis To Retire

  1. Maxine has unquestionably done a wonderful job. Wishing her all the best in her new career path.

  2. Dear Maxine, I am sorry to see you leave. You have made our library OURS!

  3. Dear Maxine, I am sorry to see you leave. You have made our library OURS.
    Alberta Cifolelli, Westport, CT

  4. Robert Mitchell

    Oh, no-o-o!!
    Good on you, Maxine.

  5. Peter Flatow

    It is never a good time unless it is for you Maxine. It has been a pleasure and experience working with you. Lots accomplished. Lots yet to do.

  6. Stephanie Bass

    Maxine, we were lucky to have to these last 17 years. You have made the Westport Library a wonderful, responsive resource and home for all of us. Visit often.

  7. Wow! Congrats to Maxine but what a loss for the Westport Public Library. Maxine has been nothing short of incredible!

  8. You are really, truly are a force of nature, Maxine. It’s our loss, obviously, but I sure wish you all the best.

  9. How lucky all Westporters are to have had you, Maxine, at the helm of the library all these years. You have really created a community center, a place we can all work, relax and socialize in and a place we are all very proud of. We will miss you.

  10. “Writing is the only thing that lasts”. Librarianship has come a long way, but stays the same. Thankfully!

  11. Louis Gagliano

    Lou Gagliano

    I have all the respect for Maxine, she has improved the reach of the Library and will be a very tough act to follow. The timing is somewhat complicated by the upcoming plans for the execution of the expansion plans. It would be my greatest hope that the foundation for this expansion continues and that
    the Board find someone just as wonderful!

    You will be missed but not FORGOTTEN.


  12. Isabelle Breen

    Maxine has been an amazing steward of a town resource, turning a ‘library’ it into a multi-faceted community asset for all ages and many needs. w
    Whether a gathering spot for seniors, students, business people or homeless. Meeting needs of technology, business, clubs, seminars, lectures, arts…it’s endless. I am glad to hear that she will stay on as consultant as it is she who has the vision for libraries being the 21st century agoras. I am sorry to see she will not be spearheading the Capital campaign for the new library. But when the time comes, I will make my donation in her name.

  13. Eric William Buchroeder 'SHS '70

    ‘Always leave them wanting more”. You have definitely done that. I grew up in Westport before your time and rarely used the public library (I preferred Pequot) since I left town in 1978 I always make a point of visiting your library and it is always time well spent. I wish you the very best and am glad it looks like you’ll be helping to choose your successor. Enjoy your new life. It will be a tough act to follow but you’ll do just fine 😉

  14. Bob Fatherley

    Maxine: You’ve been an inspiring leader and are a varsity human being. If
    you become a consultant, you can “spread the wealth.” Now, you may not
    need an alarm clock any more.

  15. Maxine has been great. She’s responded to ALL of the town’s various populations and has been proactive and innovative. I have great respect for the Westport Library. Even though I no longer live in town, whenever I come, I stop at the library – like visiting an old, valued friend who just gets better with time.