Last week — as part of the Westport Library’s nomination for the Institute of Museum and Library Services’ National Medal process — users were invited to share stories, videos and photos on the IMLS Facebook page.
Many did. The library appreciated all the shout-outs.
But this may have been the most meaningful:
This Library is like having an educational center and cultural center, technology learning center and more… in the heart of our town.
They are the first to invite people in when storms have left most of the town without power… right down to having a smiling greeter at the door welcoming people in saying, “Come on in; we have power!”, and proactively setting up extra tables and power strips, and making all who come through the door feel welcome.
It is a place where people from the homeless shelter (within walking distance) come, read and participate in events and activities. They also are welcomed by the staff, which enriches their experience.
I myself come here to do research, or for pleasure reading, or free classes. I’ve made use of the library in both good times and bad, having at times lucrative consulting work and at other times been near penniless. But I am able to come to this dynamic, beautiful library, well-staffed with amazing wonderful people, to use free first-come-first serve conference rooms to get on my laptop and cell phone to take a phone and screen interview, which helped me be successful in applying and interviewing for new work.
After many years of using the library as a “normal” patron, there was a period of time (just less than a year) where I had been “under-employed,” as a result living in my car. No one (or very few) in town knew this, as I kept it secret, but this library provided warmth, intellectual opportunities, vibrancy (and internet access) during that difficult time.
I have been working steadily the past several years and moved closer to my work, but I consider Westport “my library.” I make a small donation every year without fail, even having my company match it this year.
Needless to say, I love the Westport Library! Thank you.