Tag Archives: Pequot Library

Remembering Susan Ei

Alert “06880” reader and Westport resident Marcy Sansolo writes:

If you ever visited the children’s room at Pequot Library, you knew Susan Ei. And you felt her presence.

The children’s librarian for over 10 years — an unusual and beautiful woman, inside and out — died this week. She was 64.

Susan Ei

Susan had terrific energy, boundless enthusiasm, a genuine love of children, legendary patience, and a bunny kids could practice reading to.

She embraced all things Harry Potter, and never missed an opportunity to discuss a good book with good friends around a roaring fireplace.

She loved organizing potluck dinners, bike rides, holiday singalongs, and sleepovers under the stars on the library’s mighty front lawn.

Her summer reading programs were epic. She was tireless at the yearly book sale, even though it always falls during a massive heatwave.

In late 2003, I was still in shock over leaving the 212. My family and I found ourselves in Fairfield. I had discovered the Pequot Library within the first month. It was love at first sight.

Susan and my then-3-year-old became fast friends. Their relationship lasted well into the young adult section.

Jack is at Staples now. But when we returned to the Pequot for the book sale or a concert, we still made our way to the children’s room to see dear Susan.

Despite the countless people she met over the years, she never forgot us. We were always greeted by our first names.

In 2007 we brought a new puppy home. Susan knew how excited Jack was, and told him to bring the dog to the library. I cracked up with her, at the lunacy of having an untrained dog at a library.

It was one of the very few times the puppy was well-behaved. After he had a good smell of the library, he and my son climbed up on a couch. Susan captured the moment in this photo.

Jack, his dog and his book.

Out of the hundreds of images I have, this is one of my all-time favorites. I’ll forever be grateful she captured this moment in time.

In a world of skinny jeans and blown-out hair, Susan — with her braids and cowboy boots — was a breath of fresh air. I’ll never forget her kindness.

I know her many fans join me in sending love, light and strength to her beautiful daughters, husband, family, friends and colleagues.

Thank you, Susan. We miss you already!

(For Susan Ei’s full obituary, click here.)

Pequot Library Lives!

It takes a while for news to travel from Southport to Westport.

This week, the Fairfield RTM voted 44 to 3 to restore $350,000 to the Pequot Library budget. The cut — made 3 weeks earlier by the Board of Finance — had threatened the existence of the 124-year-old library. (If you’re wondering, this became an “06880” story because many Westporters use — and love — the Pequot Library.)

The Pequot Library.

The Pequot Library.

With that done, if you’re looking for another endangered Fairfield place to support, check out King’s Kitchen. That’s the Southport Beach farm-to-table concession stand, operated by Staples graduate Hunter King (who also just opened the Red Hen restaurant, in the Westport Inn).

The town of Fairfield will not aid in rebuilding the beach stand’s foundation, heavily damaged by Hurricane Sandy. FEMA has also denied funds, and Hunter’s insurance payment is not enough.

“06880” will continue to monitor developments of our friends over in “06890.”

Save The Pequot Library!

Sure, this is “06880” — not “06890.” But that doesn’t mean I can’t write about non-Westport places — particularly if they are beloved by Westporters.

Like Stew Leonard’s, which I’ve commented on before.

And the Pequot Library, which I haven’t.

The iconic building — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — is a perfect counterpoint to the Westport Public Library.

The Pequot Library.

The Pequot Library.

Where our downtown Westport building all hustle and bustle — a hands-on workshop in the Great Hall! language discussion groups! a 3-D printer! Blu-Rays to rent! a cafe! — the tucked-away-in-sleepy Southport Pequot is everything a library used to be. It’s quiet (shhhhh!). Its rooms are cool and musty. Mostly, there are books and (to use a very quaint word) journals.

Westport Library pulses in the image of energetic, innovative director Maxine Bleiweis.

Pequot Library always reminds me of the longtime, legendary Stanley Crane, whose looks, demeanor — even literary-sounding name — came right out of Library Central Casting.

Westport’s library was founded in 1908. Located since 1986 on the river near Jesup Green, it is bright, airy and modern.

Pequot Library signPequot has been around since 1889. It looks like something you’d see on a 19th century New England college campus — or in an old European town — right down to its original Tiffany windows.

There is a place in the world for both the Westport and Pequot Libraries.

But the Pequot Library is in grave danger of closing. Fairfield’s Board of Finance cut all of its funding — $350,000. That’s 1/3 of the total budget. Library officials say there is no way they can raise the entire amount privately. If the cut is not reversed by the RTM on April 22, Pequot will close in July.

In years past, the library has been helped by donations (average gift: $150). In just a few years though, its endowment has declined from $3.2 million to $2.6 million. And $1 million of that is restricted to the rare books collection, not available to fund most operating costs.

Westporters cannot (in good conscience, anyway) plead with Fairfield RTM members to restore funding. But Fairfield residents — some of whom are former Westporters who read “0688o” — can.

Pequot Library logoLike many non-Fairfielders, I have fond memories of the Pequot Library. I discovered it as a Staples student, writing my junior research paper. I spent hours in the stacks, and went back often in the years after.

If the Fairfield RTM does not restore the $350,000 cut on April 22, I can’t afford to save the Pequot Library. But maybe a few angels in Westport — men and women with similar wonderful experiences there, or who understand its importance to this entire region — have an idea or two.

(Click here for a News12 video on the Pequot Library issue.)