By Lauren Wasserman ’19
The quietest place in a town, where many go to both procrastinate work and be productive, has made it their mission to improve its facility and stand out from the others: The Westport Public Library.
On Sept. 15, the first step into the Westport Public Library’s $19.5 million transformation project took place when important members of the project did a symbolic groundbreaking; people gathered inside the main level of the library to place shovels in buckets of dirt to symbolize the major changes about to be made. “We were going to have it outside, and we weren’t sure what the weather would be and so that’s actually why we did it in,” Melanie Meyers, the director of organization and management of the library, said.
The goal of the project is to make “the library a place for whatever you want to do,” Meyers said. This will be done by “flipping” the library so the lower level is for quiet activities, the main level is for interactive activities and the third level is designated for conference rooms and an updated youth section. The project’s money has come from multiple donors, with one particularly large donation from the owner of a chain of fast food restaurants. While Meyers doesn’t have the consent to release his or her name to the public, people have made their guesses of who it may be.
Although Meyers and everyone else involved in the project seem very excited for the library’s makeover, many individuals are unhappy with the changes, one reason being the harmful environmental effects. “They’re literally cutting down so many trees and it’s really upsetting to see destruction of nature,” Margot Liotta ’19 said. “It’s unfair they need to create a new library when there’s already a good one.”
Not only is the project costing plant life, but sections of the library will be temporarily unavailable due to construction. Although the library staff will make its best efforts to provide service during construction, many still believe it will not be enough. However, there is still a good portion of Westport residents who feel the changes will only benefit the town.
Cassie Lang ’20 is happy with the library’s future reconstruction. “Although the library may be closed at times during the renovation process, I think that the improvements made will be worth the temporary inconvenience,” Lang said. “This transformation promises to make the library more inclusive, which is especially important given its importance in the community as a whole.”
The change in the library will attempt to bring Westport closer together, and benefit students as well as the community. Updates on the project will be posted throughout the process.
By Lauren Wasserman ’19