Naming in Recognition of Family’s Generous Gift to the Library’s Transformation Project
The Westport Library is pleased to announce that the fully renovated Children’s Library will be named the Roz and Bud Siegel Family Children’s Library in honor of the Siegel’s generous gift toward the Library’s Transformation Project.
“The extraordinary generosity demonstrated by Roz and Bud’s leadership gift is a testament to their long-standing commitment to the Library, and vision for the future of Westport. We are deeply grateful for their support,” said Executive Director of the Westport Library Bill Harmer. “Their gift will allow us to build a completely reimagined children’s space - flexible and fun – filled with new books, toys, and furniture that will provide our youngest patrons with a space ideally suited to reading, studying, learning, playing and growing.”
When complete in 2019, the Roz and Bud Siegel Family Children’s Library will boast many improvements including: an enhanced program room, visible activity areas that enjoy views of the Saugatuck River and the Jesup Green, a raised ceiling, improved acoustics, new lighting systems, and enhancements of some of the windows- making them floor-to-ceiling – to provide even greater views of the Library’s beautiful natural surroundings.
“We are pleased that the Transformation Project has reached a place where our donation can provide a foundation for the Children’s Library for many years to come, as children become young adults and, eventually, adults with their own children,” said Bud Siegel. “In so many ways, the Children’s Library builds a solid foundation for the future. We view our support of the project as an investment in the present that will pay dividends for years to come.”
For Roz, an avid reader and lifelong library user, investing in the Transformation Project called to mind her growing up and visiting her hometown library in Massachusetts.
“I have such fond memories of visiting my hometown library and bringing my children and grandchildren here to the Westport Library,” said Roz Siegel. “The Westport Library is so much more than a library; it is a community center where kids feel welcome and supported and can develop healthy habits around reading and learning in a warm, friendly environment. We are so excited to see how the community will take advantage of the new space!”
Construction began on the $20.8 million-dollar Transformation Project in September 2017 when work commenced on the Riverwalk Level. The Interim Library/Riverwalk Level officially opened to the public at a special ceremony in June of 2018. Work is now underway on the Main and Upper Levels and is expected to be complete in approximately 12 months.
During this current phase of construction, the Great Hall will be transformed into the Forum – a large, flexible open space on the main floor that can be used for daily meeting and study and can be reconfigured to accommodate up to 650 people for large events. The renovated Main Level will also feature more study space, highly visible customer service points, an exceptional collection of digital and physical materials (including audio/visual materials, new releases, curated collections of popular materials), the Library’s store, an expanded Café- including outdoor seating - plus a new recording studio and expanded MakerSpace as well as the completely renovated Children’s Library on the Upper Level.
The Transformation Project is made possible by a robust show of support through public and private funding. Public dollars from the Town of Westport were allocated in 2017, when the Town’s RTM unanimously approved the disbursement of $5 million for the initiative. The town’s funding will cover the cost to replace the dated and inefficient mechanical systems - the HVAC, plumbing and elevator - which are original to the 1986 facility. The Library also applied for and received a $1 million construction grant from the Connecticut State Library. The bulk of the funding for the project has come from private donors.
For more on the specific elements of the project and how to be involved, and how to donate visit wltransformationproject.org. To learn more about Library programs and services available during this Interim Phase, visit westportlibrary.org.