UES 62

flexible spaces for various activities and special events accommodating up to 650 people. The Café will be three times larger, and there will be more conference rooms and quiet areas. In March 2018, the Library hosted an exciting, five-day series of innovative programs designed to showcase what’s to come, aptly named FLEX: experiences. Attendees got a sneak preview of all that will be possible through a program that brought together art, cinema, music, dance, food, authors and more. The series kicked off with a Celebrity Lunch hosted by Jane Green, featuring keynote speaker Sam Kass, former Obama White House chef and Senior Policy Advisor for Nutrition, and Elissa Altman, James Beard Award winner. There was also an event called “Rock & Roll Storytelling” with community blogger Dan Woog as MC. A VIP dinner and panel with famed chef and food writer Ruth Reichl was held at Saugatuck restaurant and seafood bar The Whelk. For Westport Library Executive Director Bill Harmer, who joined the Library in 2015, the operative words are “flexibility” and “innovation.” The building will not be a static space with space limitations; rather, it will expand and contract in response to programmingand theneeds of the community. Harmer has beenhonoredby Library Journal as a “Mover & Shaker,” a list of emerging leaders from around the world making a difference in the library field, and the expansion of the Westport Library is a project that he has spearheaded with vision and passion. “Across the country, the role of libraries is changing because the communities they support are changing. With technology, new ways of working, learning and creating, people are interacting with libraries, and with one another, in different ways.” With the launch of the Saugatuck StoryFest, the Library will be leading the way into what will surely become an annual tradition for Westport and surrounding communities, bringing people together to share their love of the art of storytelling. --- Elizabeth Titus lives in Weston and on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. A retired director of communications for American Express, she now is a freelance writer, marketing consultant, and volunteer with Learning to Look, a Metropolitan Museum program to help kids in the city’s low-income schools learn about art. WESTONMAGAZINEGROUP.COM 85 *

agency in planning the events. In addition, we have partnered with community organizations so that the Saugatuck StoryFest will truly celebrate diverse voices.” “We made a conscious decision not to call this a writing or literary festival,” Daigle-Orians stressed. “We’re calling it the Saugatuck StoryFest, building on the library’s location on the Saugatuck River, and it is Story with a capital S. Stories can be in the form of the written or spoken word, and they can also be told through art, dance, and music.” When noted Westport writer Jane Green, author of 19 novels, including 17 New York Times bestsellers, agreed to serve as curator, the team knew they were onto something huge. During the festival weekend, Friday, October 12, 2018 will feature a kick-off celebration in collaboration with Staples High School, including food, musical performances, and fun. There will also be a Downtown Lit Crawl, in partnership with restaurants and shops, a walking, interactive “crawl” of Westport, featuring favorite literary characters and books. On Saturday, October 13, 2018 visitors to downtown Westport will encounter a Story Scavenger Hunt, with exhibits and performances that will provide scavengers clues to a story. There will also be story vending machines, a bulletin board with one-page stories people can read and take home, and a one-act play at a table in a restaurant that can only be viewed by those seated at the table. Adding to the fun will be a posting with a number to call for a recorded three-minute story written and read by someone local. “The idea,” Daigle- Orians explained, “is to discover stories created by writers in our community in

unexpected places, in unexpected formats.” Downtown Westport will be turned into a walking festival ground all day Saturday, with multiple stages of literary-themed events, covering Young Adult Fiction, Children’s Lit, Comics, Graphic Novels, and Genre Fiction. Sunday will be devoted to a one-day Writers’ Conference featuring authors, editors, agents, and educators delivering workshops and panels on two tracks, adult and a teen. The conference will focus on craft, giving writers high-quality instruction, networking, and exposure to agents. The Saugatuck StoryFest is the perfect way to announce to the world that the Westport Library is undergoing a major transformation that will usher in an entirely new era. Ten years in the making, the renovation that began in September 2017 with a budget of nearly $20 million will continue into 2019, with the Library remaining open. The newly designed entrance will capitalize on the Library’s location in the heart of downtown Westport, while the redesigned Riverwalk Level will house the Library’s adult book collection, with quiet reading areas and views of the Saugatuck River. The Main Level will be transformed into The Forum, with open,

Made with FlippingBook - professional solution for displaying marketing and sales documents online