The Westport Library’s Transformation Project has drawn raves from Westporters. The community spaces, video technology, children’s section, even the café– all are re-imagined, welcoming and well used.
But the transformation was never just about physical spaces.
The library is transforming ideas about access, creativity, arts and communication too.
Nowhere is that more evident than in the new studio spaces. Music production, filmmaking, video editing — it’s all part of the Westport Library experience.
Some of those features are not yet fully ready. But podcasts are.
Starting this week, anyone with a computer or smartphone — in other words, anyone in Westport, and billions more across the globe — can enjoy, be entertained by and learn from some of Westport’s most interesting people.
Like Miggs Burroughs, Trace Burroughs, Bill Taibe and Lori Cochran-Dougall.
They launch the library’s first 2 podcast series. The Burroughs brothers — Staples graduates, artists, and longtime Westporters — will chat with intriguing area residents for what they call “Oh, Brother! Not Another Podcast.”
“It’s about people who are the fabric of this town,” Miggs explains. “We’re personality driven. It will be like an expanded cocktail party conversation.”
Taibe owns and runs Jesup Hall, Kawa Ni and The Whelk restaurants. Cochran-Dougall directs the Westport Farmers’ Market. Their podcast is “A Seat at the Table.” They’ll focus on interesting ideas and trends, like CBD and farming.
“It’s table banter,” Cochran-Dougall explains. “When people talk, everyone learns.”
The Burroughses, Taibe and Cochran-Dougall will “create conversations that are crucial for this area,” library executive director Bill Harmer says. “We can help get those conversations out there — and preserve them.”
The 4 podcasters are working with Jay Miles. As the library’s manager of studio space, he’ll help them — and other aspiring podcasters — become experts at the craft.
Since the transformed library opened in June, Harmer has been thrilled to see plenty of new faces. Many are young.
Podcasts and related studio services help support and encourage “the next generation of creative people,” he says. “Creativity, arts and writing is all part of Westport’s DNA.”
Harmer hopes to welcome many more podcasters to the studio. “Westport has no shortage of expertise,” he notes. “CEOs, financial gurus, entrepreneurs — anyone can use this, to the benefit of all.”
Governor Ned Lamont was wowed by the entire library — including the studios — on a tour prior to the June ribbon-cutting. His staff has called twice, asking if he could record podcasts there.
Of course, the studios are not just for young people — or only for podcasters. Harmer envisions senior citizens using them to record stories for grandchildren.
Right now though, the podcasts are the first big use of the studios.
The library will download one podcast each week, via their Vimeo and YouTube channels. The first are already available here:
Spotify and iTunes may be added soon.