To the Editor:

I am writing on behalf of the Westport Library Board of Trustees, staff, donors and friends to express deep gratitude to the community for its extraordinary support of our recent FLEX: experiences - five days of exciting events at the Library.

When the Transformation Project is complete in 2019, a hallmark of the new Library will be flexibility. One night, the space will be able to host more than 650 people for a large concert or lecture, then the next day, return to a space suitable for collaborative and independent reading, reflection and study. On Wednesday, March 21, we kicked off these FLEX: experiences which were designed specifically to give the community a preview of our future flexibility by bringing together art, authors, music, cinema, dance, food and more in unexpected ways.

The events began with a luncheon hosted by New York Times bestselling author Jane Green and headlined by Sam Kass, former White House Chef and Executive Director of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign. On Thursday, we screened two classic films starring Westport icons Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. Thursday evening, gourmet guru Ruth Reichl joined us for a Food Lovers’ Q&A with local restaurateur Bill Taibe, Annie Farrell of Millstone Farm and Lulu Powers. Friday was Unplugged day at the Library, and we welcomed a dozen local authors for conversation with our audience. In the evening, the Library’s Great Hall transformed into a lounge with performances from a half a dozen local acts. Saturday night we hosted Rock & Roll Stories at the Michael Friedman Gallery, featuring firsthand stories about some of music’s biggest icons. FLEX wrapped up with a Family Day filled with fun: story time with a half a dozen local children’s authors, face-painting, arts and crafts, an incredible flash mob all MC’d by local tech guru David Pogue.

During FLEX, nearly 3,000 people came to the Library for the events themselves and to get a preview of the new space. We were thrilled to welcome old friends, new faces and an extraordinary array of talented individuals from near and far. These events would not have been such a success without support from the community. In particular, we would like to acknowledge our partners and sponsors including: Moffly Media, The Water People, Pepperidge Farm, Fresh Market, Whole Foods, Arogya Tea, Tarry Lodge, Compo Farm Flowers, Stew Leonard’s, Stew Leonard’s Wine, Trader Joe’s, Riverside Realty Group, Intensity Fitness, Soma Samadhi, Faces Beautiful, Rye Ridge Deli, Tutti’s, Via Sforza, Dance Express w/ Luisa, BeMoved, Sky Zone, New England Smart Energy, Positano, Savannah Bee Company, Veracious Beer and Wine, M.EAT, Spotted Horse, Granola Bar, Green & Tonic, Shake Shack, Athleta, Aux Delices, Faces Beautiful, Soleil Toile, Sakura, Westport’s Academy of Dance and Posh Spa.

Next year, our community will have an exceptional, flexible, innovative 21st century Library boasting an extraordinary variety of features and functions: an expansive Forum on the main level, a completely updated Children’s Library; an expanded café; an increased number of conference rooms and quiet areas; beautiful panoramic views of the Saugatuck River; an entire level dedicated to the adult book collection; a professional, state-of-the-art recording studio; a larger MakerSpace and so much more.

We have no doubt the new building will be spectacular - complete with the latest technology, the best amenities and an exceptional collection of materials. But without people, a spectacular building full of features is nothing more than just that - it needs a community to bring it to life. We need you, our community, not only to use and enjoy the space and programming, but also to continue to support our mission. We are more than 88% of the way to our fundraising goal for the project, and we invite you to participate in bringing us across the finish line.

Please come visit us at the Library, see what’s happening first-hand and learn more about the future of your Library!

Bill Harmer

Executive Director

The Westport Library