By Joanne Greco Rochman
No longer storage houses for books, CT libraries have a lot to offer their patrons. Long gone are the days of “Quiet” signs and librarians whispering “Hush.” Now librarians are more like communication consultants who facilitate conversation and creativity. Whether you’re looking for a job, want first hand information on fly-fishing or want to check out an electronic book for your two-week vacation, you should check with your local library first. Oh, the things they offer!
The Westport Public Library
20 Jesup Road
Westport, Connecticut 06880
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9am-9pm, Fri 9am-6pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Yes, Virginia, you can check out an Amazon Kindle e-reader at the Westport Public Library and no, you don’t have to wait for Santa Clause. Amazon Kindle e-readers are available for a seven-day loan and come loaded with multiple titles. You must have a Westport Public Library card to do so. And that’s not all you’ll find at this busy library. Program and Development Director Joan Hume said that job seekers have discovered that the first step in getting a job is a visit to the library where professionals will do everything from helping you with a résumé to arranging mock interviews.
Cyrenius H. Booth Library
25 Main Street
Newtown, CT 06470
Hours: Mon-Thurs 9:30-8pm, Friday 11am-5pm, Sat 9:30am-5pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
Talk about eating your words. One CT library has just wrapped up its edible book contest. Don’t worry if you missed it. It has been such a hit that it will be back next year. Plan on baking a cake, use vegetables, create a casserole or anything edible that resembles a book, a character in a book or just about anything that is associated with books. Another upcoming event is a visit from Kandie Carle. This talented actress enters the room in her underwear as Jane Austen and dresses right before your eyes, explaining everything you need to know about Victorian attire. Since she’s wearing Victorian clothing, even her underwear cover more than our everyday outfits. C.H. Booth’s Kim Weber, program director, says to expect the unexpected including a demonstration on fly-fishing!
Oxford Public Library
486 Oxford Road
Oxford, CT 06478
Hours: Mon-Thurs 8am-8pm
Even a small library like the Oxford Public Library has a lot more than just books to offer. Dawn Higginson of the Oxford Library says that limited space doesn’t mean they can’t offer monthly programs. Opened weekdays only, this quaint library loves to focus on the teens in the community. They even have a Junior Friends of the Library organization. What does this library do that most do not – “Taste Offs.” That’s right, each year they invite pizza restaurants to flaunt their goods. The teens then vote on the best pizza in town. This year, the library is thinking of doing a “taste off” on Chinese food and will more than likely expand to other foods as well!
Stratford Library Association
2203 Main St.
Stratford, CT 06615
Hours: Mon-Thurs 10am-8pm, Fri-Sat 10am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
If you love theater, then head straight to the Stratford Library. This is the place to go for the “Readers Theater Showcase” and “Script Talk.” Maybe it’s because the library’s programming director, Tom Holehan, is also the artistic director of Square One Theatre in Stratford. In any event, there’s always something dramatic going on at this library. Programs like “Books Over Coffee,” “Magic Shows,” “Board Games with Parents” and “Pajama Rama” for the young ones prove there’s a lot more than books being checked out at the Stratford Library.
101 West Putnam Avenue
Greenwich, CT 06830
Hours: Mon-Fri 9am-9pm, Sat 9am-5pm, Sun 1pm-5pm
Once you get Greenwich Library, you won’t want to leave and you won’t have to even if you get hungry. This library flaunts “Elton’s Café on the library’s lower level. It offers a diverse menu for breakfast and lunch including soups, salads, sandwiches and snacks. Arrive early, stay for lunch and enjoy the unique offerings that this outstanding CT Library. According to the library’s Wayne Campbell, foreign films and old movies keep packing the house. Wayne sets the scene by giving background information on each movie presented and then the audience sits back and enjoys films from around the world. A visit to this library must include checking out the Flinn Gallery, which is a full-blown state of the art gallery where exhibitions on art in all mediums, diverse time periods, and techniques are featured.
Joanne GrecoRochman is the arts editor of The Fairfield County Review, a columnist, critic, feature story writer and English professor. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Republican-American and Hersam-Acorn Publications.