FLEX events showcase Westport Library’s flexible future
Updated 6:00 pm, Friday, March 16, 2018
WESTPORT — A five-day series of art, literature, music, cinema and food events aims to showcase the library’s role as a community center in modern society.
“When this library was originally built in 1986, it was an errand, not a destination. You came, dropped off your book, got another book, got in your car and went home,” said Barbara Durham, a campaign coordinator with the Westport Library.
“After Google, the library became a destination because people were coming and using it more,” she said, both for access to the internet and because the web enabled more people to work remotely.
To adapt the library for its contemporary use, the Westport Library launched a $20 million transformation project which, when completed in 2019, will outfit the library with new, and adaptable, meeting spaces, a recording studio, hackerspace, an enhanced makerspace, an expanded cafe and a large screen for movie viewings.
The five days of events from March 21 to 25, “FLEX,” seeks to display the capacity of the new library when finished.
Some FLEX: experiences
Cinema matinees featuring Westport’s Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman
Food lovers’ Q&A with author Ruth Reichl
Staged reading with two-time Tony award-winning actor James Naughton
Storytime by local children’s book authors and illustrators
For the complete list of events, visit the library’s website: westportlibrary.org/support-wpl/FLEX-experiences
“Flexibility is at the heart of the Westport Library Transformation Project,” library Executive Director Bill Harmer said. “The ways in which people are learning, connecting and creating are changing rapidly, and it was essential that the new library become a space that is flexible enough to keep up with those societal shifts, now and for generations to come.”
The inaugural slate of FLEX events includes lunches with Sam Kass, the White House chef for former President Barack Obama, and local author Jane Green; a dance party with New York City-based band Chevy Chevis; and a family fun day with storytelling, arts and crafts, and magic activities.
“I think we need to get out to a much broader audience and think about and discuss climate change and sustainability in different ways and in different venues,” said Kass, who also worked as executive director of former first lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign, dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation.
Kass plans to discuss his new book, “Eat a Little Better: Great Flavor, Good Health, Better World,” at his March 21 celebrity lunch, priced at $150, and take questions from the public, as they, along with attendees at the other FLEX events, navigate the library’s new potential.
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