Westport Library director picked for national innovation award
Updated 11:40 am, Tuesday, February 24, 2015
Bleiweis was selected by the Public Library Association for its 2015 Charlie Robinson Award, given annually to a public library director who over a period of seven years "has been a risk taker, innovator and change agent," the Chicago-based organization said in a news release.
The award is one of 15 announced by the national group Tuesday and will be presented at its annual conference in San Francisco in June.
Bleiweis has headed the Westport Library for more than 17 years and over that period has been credited with transforming it from a repository for books and media materials to a broader learning and cultural center.
Among her more recent innovation cited by the national group are her early role in discussing the value of libraries in economic development, creation of one of the first library cafes and creation of a maker space in 2012 and its expansion with the use of robots and computer-assisted-design software.
"By every measure, Maxine was instrumental in ushering our library into the new millennium and guiding us through a dynamic period of change," Mike Guthman, president of the Westport Library's Board of Trustees, said in a news released issued by the library. "Through the gift of her imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world."
Bleiweis' public library career spans 40 years. She announced last month that she plans to retire July 1.