Category Archives: Library

Get Your Art! Buy Some Books! Enjoy The Sun!

Downtown is hot this weekend — literally and figuratively.

Two annual events — the Arts Festival and Book Sale — are drawing large crowds. There’s something for everyone, of all ages — and plenty of surprises too.

Both run till 5 p.m. today. They’re on tomorrow too, from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The book sale continues Monday and Tuesday.

But the good stuff goes fast.

Keith Richards was at the arts festival -- well, at least, his portrait was. The artist -- from the Catskills -- hopes the real Stone will roll by.

Keith Richards was at the arts festival — well, at least, his portrait was. The artist — from the Catskills — hopes the real Stone will roll by.

Breezes off the river helped cool this artist -- and her sculpture.

Breezes off the river helped cool this artist — and her sculpture.

Westport Library artist-in-residence Miggs Burroughs and Westport Arts Collective colleague Mina de Haas, at the library's arts festival booth.

The Westport Arts Collective had a booth too.

You can get anything you want at Alice's Restaurant -- and the Westport Library book sale.

You can get anything you want at Alice’s Restaurant — and the Westport Library book sale.

Tables sprawl throughout the Jesup Green tent, and inside the library itself.

Tables sprawl throughout the Jesup Green tent, and inside the library itself.

Why wait until you get home?

Why wait until you get home?

Artwork, Books — And Miggs Burroughs — Downtown This Weekend

Some things about the Westport Fine Arts Festival never change.

Favorite artists, sculptors, jewelry-makers and photographers return, with familiar work in an intriguing variety of styles. Westporters and visitors flock downtown; there is music and food. The weather is hot.

Some things are always different. There is new artwork. New bands play.

This year too, the Westport Library‘s new artist-in-residence lends his presence — and talents — to the 43rd annual Fine Arts Festival (Saturday and Sunday, July 16-17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Parker Harding Plaza).

Miggs Burroughs' official Westport Library "geek" portrait. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

Miggs Burroughs’ official Westport Library “geek” portrait. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

Miggs Burroughs co-presents his own artwork — along with others from the Westport Artists Collective — including Nina Bentley, Trace Burroughs, Linn Cassetta, Wilhelmina de Haas and Tammy Windsor.

Miggs will man an “Artist-in-Residence” booth, answering questions and providing information about the library’s connection with local artists, town arts organizations and events.

The Fine Arts Festival — sponsored by the Westport Downtown Merchants Association — is one of the town’s signature summer events.

Of course, so is the Library’s annual book sale. It runs this weekend too: Saturday, July 16, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday, July 17, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Monday, July 18, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. (all items half price); Tuesday, July 19, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (all items free; contributions welcome).

The 2 events are big, fun and complementary.

Just think: It’s the Library’s biggest event of the year, and they share their artist-in-residence with the Arts Festival.

(For more information on the Fine Arts Festival, click here. To learn more about the Library’s book sale, click here.)

A mime and artist, both hard at work during the Westport Fine Arts Festival.

A mime and artist, both hard at work during the Westport Fine Arts Festival.

You can get just about anything at the Westport Library's book sale.

You can get just about anything at the Westport Library’s book sale.

Weedles, Zubats, Ekans And More: Pokemon Go Floods Westport

The tagline for “06880” is “where Westport meets the world.”

Right now, Westport — and the world — are going gaga over Pokémon Go.

I don’t know a Squirtle from a Jynx. But I do know that Pokémon Go has been downloaded more times in a week than Tinder has in 4 years. (No value judgments, mind you.) So I figured I’d capture the local angle.

Tom Bruno is my Pokémon Go go-to guy. As the Westport Library‘s new director of knowledge curation and innovation — Bill Derry’s old gig, more or less — the game is in his wheelhouse.

The library itself is not a Pokestop or Pokegym, he says. But several are nearby.

Three Pokestops are actually sculptures. There’s Carol Eisner’s “Walter the Sculpture,” outside the library’s main entrance; the big sculpture on Jesup Green, and the Post Road bridge sculpture at the Taylor parking lot entrance.

The library encourages patrons to find those sculptures by setting Lures (which of course attract rare and unusual wild Pokémon that patrons can catch).

Bruno says, “Depending on where you are in the building, you can also catch some of these Pokémon in the library as well.”

Bruno and his colleagues realized that the Levitt Pavilion stage Pokestop is on the route for the library’s annual first-ever StoryWalk along the Saugatuck River (which, happily for this publicity, kicks off Monday). Bruno took a shot of a wild Pokémon perched atop one of the signs.

Pokemon - Westport Library

The library is also placing Lures at all of those Pokestops, to help generate buzz for the giant book sale this weekend.

Though Niantic — the company responsible for Pokémon Go — is not taking requests for new Pokestops or Pokegyms, Bruno says it would be exciting to have the library community battle for control of the gym in that building.

The library is also working to add Pokémon Go to its popular “Anyone Can…” technology 101 classes. “We’d like to help people who are curious about the game get started, and join in what will almost certainly be the big summer activity,” Bruno says.

Finally — in a stroke of luck akin to finding a Charizard — the library long ago planned a partnership with Barnes & Noble on a Pokémon card game tournament. Amazingly, it’s this Saturday (July 16, 4-6 p.m.) at the Westport store.

Because — like Pokémon Go — “06880” is all about community, we’d like to hear your stories and tips. If you’ve got any game-related news, click “Comments” below. Please use your real name, not a Pokémon alias.


Finally, if you thought the only thing local officials care about are mill rates and 8-30g applications, think again. Yesterday, they posted this on the town’s official Facebook page (courtesy of the New York Police Department):

As PokémonGo fever hits Westport, we want to remind you of some simple safety tips. As you battle, train, and capture your Pokémon just remember you’re still in the real world too! Around the country the PokémonGo craze has seen reports of accidents, injuries and even crimes where suspects have set-up fake Pokéstops.

Be careful out there!

Be careful out there!

So as you set out to capture them all:

1) Be alert at all times
2) Stay aware of your surroundings
3) Play in pairs or as a group to ensure your safety
4) Do not drive or ride your bike, skateboard, or other device while interacting with the app…you can’t do both safely
5) Do not trespass onto private property or go to areas you usually would not if you weren’t playing Pokémon Go.

Have fun AND stay safe. Good luck in your quest, and happy hatching, trapping, and training at the Pokémon Gym!

Library Book Sale Spans Seneca, Dali — And YouTube

Each year, the Westport Library’s summer book sale gets bigger — and rarer.

This year’s 24th annual event (Saturday, July 16 through Tuesday, July 19) features — among its 100,000+ hardcover and paperback fiction, non-fiction, children’s sci-fi, comics, Judaica and erotica, plus comics, vinyl and sheet music — several specials:

  • First Plantin press edition of Seneca’s “Tragedies,” from 1576 (!)
  • 1959 signed limited edition “Dali: A Study of his Art-in-Jewels”
  • Books from the estate of area resident D.M. “Mac” Marshman, Oscar-winning screenwriter for “Sunset Boulevard”
  • 2 new categories: “Fashion from head to toe” and “Connecticut, New England and New York: art to travel and all in between.”

The tent is already up on Jesup Green. Volunteers are moving, sorting and doing the thousands of tasks needed for such a huge event. (Volunteers still welcome! Email

But — like the rest of the book sale — the tent doesn’t just happen. Here’s a time-lapse peek at last year’s set-up.

The heavy lifting has been done. Now you just need to show up.

(The 24th annual Westport Library Book Sale takes place Saturday, July 16 [9 a.m.-5 p.m.]; Sunday, July 17 [10 a.m.-5 p.m.]; Monday, July 18 [9 a.m.-5 p.m., everything half price] and Tuesday, July 19 [9 a.m.-1 p.m., everything free; contributions accepted. Click here for more details.)

Connor And Carson Einarsen’s Inconsistent Story

Move over, “The Swimmer.” Step aside, “Stepford Wives.”

“An Inconsistent Story in Stealing” is coming to town.

No, it’s not a big-budget, full-length feature film. But the movie being shot in Westport later this summer has something those 2 projects — and nearly every other film made here — did not:

Connor and Carson Einarsen.

The talented Staples alums — Connor graduated last year from Carleton College, with a degree in cinema and media studies; Carson followed this year from Savannah College of Art and Design, majoring in film and TV — are preparing their 2nd shoot.

Two years ago, the brothers made “Ryan Hood,” a 60-minute film for just $40. (They rented jackets for police officers).

Carson (left) and Connor (middle) Einarsen, directing "Ryan Hood."

Carson (left) and Connor (middle) Einarsen, directing “Ryan Hood.”

This one — “An Inconsistent Story in Stealing” — is more ambitious. Written by Carson, the neo-noir movie is about a former thief who is sucked back into the town she despises, to hunt down something she stole long ago.

There are 17 speaking parts, and 40 locations. One-third of the film will be shot at night, something most directors shy away from.

Pre-production takes place in June and July. Shooting is set for the 1st 3 weeks of August. In October “An Inconsistent Story” will be screened for the town. Then it’s off to film festivals around the world.

The Westport Library is helping, with a little bit of capital and a lot of resources. It’s one more way for the MakerSpace to expand its creative mission, Connor says.

In return, he and Carson will lead library classes for aspiring young filmmakers, and offer a film appreciation course.

The brothers are looking for actors and production assistants. If you’re interested, contact



No Idle Threat

Tomorrow (Saturday, May 14) is Westport GreenDay.

Organizers hope it will be a real turnoff.

Well, actually, they’re encouraging drivers to turn off their car engines.

Nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Connecticut are transportation-related. Turning off an engine, then back on again is more fuel efficient than idling for just 10 seconds.

idling car

First Selectman Jim Marpe urges all Westporters to sign a “No Idling Pledge” (click here for the environmentally friendly online version).

(NOTE: State law prohibits “unnecessary idling” for more than 3 minutes. Provisions are made for weather extremes, certain service vehicles and health-related conditions.)

Other GreenDay activities tomorrow include a cleanup of Parker Harding Plaza and the riverfront; family events and a talk about the town’s new arboretum at Earthplace; a tour of Westport’s wastewater treatment plant; activities at Wakeman Town Farm, and a 3:30 p.m. library talk about Westport’s Net Zero goal for 2050.

Green Day logoTomorrow afternoon, electric vehicles are on display at Jesup Green, and a few lucky folks can test drive Teslas. There’s also a free EV shuttle service from the library to Town Hall, where the Westport Cinema Initiative sponsors the film “Who Killed the Electric Car?” at 6 p.m.

It should be a great Green (if gray) Day.

And if Westporters don’t take the “No Idling” pledge to heart, “06880” will start posting photos of drivers sitting in their cars, while their engines run.

Don’t mess with us.

(For details of the weekend’s events, click on

Miggs Burroughs’ New Residence

For decades, Westporters have known Miggs Burroughs as a very talented, always-volunteering illustrator/graphic designer. He’s created Time magazine covers, US postage stamps, logos for countless organizations and events (often pro bono) — even our town flag.

In July, Miggs adds a new title: Westport Library artist-in-residence.

Miggs Burroughs' official Westport Library "geek" portrait. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

Miggs Burroughs’ official Westport Library “geek” portrait. (Photo/Pam Einarsen)

The Staples High School 1963 graduate’s latest role — the first-ever here, and one of the few at any library in the country — comes in conjunction with director Bill Harmer. And it’s a collaborative effort, both stress, with the entire town.

“We’re always looking for new ways to connect the library with the arts, and to strengthen existing artistic relationships and create new ones,” Bill says.

He joined the Westport Library last summer from Chelsea, Michigan, where he developed an artist-in-residence program. Like Westport, that town had a strong arts heritage.

“Who better than Miggs to do it here?” the new director asks rhetorically. “He’s professional. He works tirelessly for Westport. He’ll really tee it up for us.”

Miggs begins with a clean palette. His charge includes:

  • Developing innovative programs, involving new ways for artists and others to interact with the library
  • Experimenting with making the library more of a key player in the arts community
  • Creating a strong presence and resource for the arts in Westport
  • Offering workshops, events and programs in the library building — and pushing programs and services outside of it.

You get the idea.

And as with all things Miggs, the artist-in-residence-to-be has plenty of his own ideas.

Some are out of the box.

“We could do ‘Arts Meets Business,'” he says. “The Maker Space is great for technology, and bringing business sense to creativity. We might also have a way to do that for artists. Like a benign Shark Tank.”


The Westport Library's Makerspace is a spiritual cousin of the new artist-in-residence program.

The Westport Library’s Makerspace is a spiritual cousin of the new artist-in-residence program.

He envisions a wall of “photo tiles,” growing every day. Perhaps they’d be selfies, or faces that amateur photographers find in everyday objects. Or maybe shots of “A Day in the Life of Westport,” with everyone in town welcome to contribute.

The library might play host to a Story Corps-type oral history project, or to pop-up studios enabling anyone wandering by to observe artists at work.

Whatever ideas he comes up with, Miggs says, the artist-in-residence program will work only if it’s a joint effort, with the library and town.

“I’m just channeling all this,” he says. “It’s not about me. It’s about artists — however you define that — and everyone they connect with.”

Our new artist-in-residence will not actually reside at the Westport Library.

But his spirit — and that of all the arts in town — will be felt in every inch of the building.

What’s Up, Duck?

In March, I described a duck that was coming to Westport.

A big duck.

The 23-foot high, 15-foot wide, 15-foot long, 260-pound bird was made in China, then shipped through the Panama Canal.

It’s finally here. And fully inflated.

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)

(Photo/Marcy Sansolo)

The creature promotes Westport Sunrise Rotary‘s Great Duck Race. The 8th annual event — which funds dozens of charities, around the corner and around the world — takes place June 4, in the river next to the Westport Library.

First a crane. Now a duck.

What next will tower over Westport?


Maker Faire Makes Its Mark

Geeks are cool.

Up to 10,000 science, math, music, robotics, environment, agriculture, art, drone, woodworking, etc. geeks — of all ages, genders, and from more than 100 miles away — descended on Westport today.

The 5th annual Mini Maker Faire made our town the center of the creative universe — okay, the creative region.

Demonstrations, exhibits, games, food — it was all there, at the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

It continues all afternoon (Saturday, April 30), until 4 p.m. There may still be time to get your geek on!

Outside the main tent, a "human foosball" game was played. As in many real soccer games, the goalie is bored.

Outside the main tent, a “human foosball” game was played. As in many real soccer games, the goalie is bored.

A Maker Faire luthier introduces a young boy to the wonders of music.

A Maker Faire luthier introduces a young boy to the wonders of music.

A father and son bond over physics.

A father and son bond over physics.

A self-proclaimed Kook Nerd.

A self-proclaimed Kool Nerd.

Indoors and out, the Maker Faire took over the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

Indoors and out, the Maker Faire took over the Westport Library and Jesup Green.

Among the exhibitors. Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service offered free CPR training.

Among the exhibitors. Norwalk Hospital volunteers offered free CPR training.

Some youngsters found a way to "make" their own fun.

Some youngsters found a way to “make” their own fun.

Rock The Vote. Or Not.

Presidential elections are filled with passion and politics.

Presidential primaries, apparently, are not.

This was the scene a couple of hours ago outside the Westport Library, one of our town’s polling places:

Election Day 2016

Several things were noticeably lacking:

  • Candidate signs
  • Candidates (or at least their surrogates)
  • Bake sales
  • Uncertainty.

If pre-primary polling (and our very unscientific “06880” poll) hold up, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump should pad their delegate leads nicely, thanks to voters throughout the state — and in Westport.

Wherever they are.