We are deeply appreciative of the many generous contributions made by a group of area residents and businesses which will allow us to reopen the Library on Friday afternoons through July 1, 2019. Local resident Beth Walker spearheaded this independent fundraising effort. Beth has long been a passionate supporter of the Library and took it upon herself to reach out to her network both to raise awareness of the Library’s current funding challenges and rally her friends, local businesses and the community to show how important the Library is to them and everyone who lives in Stonington.
Our sincerest thanks to the Mystic Woman’s Club for their grant of $550 which has allowed us to purchase an additional book cart and materials for our branch at the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center. Library volunteers run the PNC branch every Wednesday from 10 to 11:30. Stop by to sign up for a library card, check out items or place requests for items to be brought at an upcoming visit. The Library’s collaboration with the PNC to create this branch began in January 2017. Since it began the branch has served 301 people who have checked out 514 items.
This past October the Library held a Community Conversation and Open House week to present its recently completed Strategic Plan to the community. President of the Board Nick Kepple and several Trustees including Kate Randolph, Allegra Griffiths and Denise Easton reported on the goals of the Strategic Plan, the Library’s financial situation and a proposed addition to the building to make the Library accessible and ADA compliant. Since the Community Conversation, the Library has continued an advocacy campaign to town leaders and submitted two funding requests to the town. The first request was for an increase to the Library’s annual municipal funding, which supports Library operations. The second request was for town capital improvement funds to assist with making the building accessible and ADA compliant.
These are exciting times at the Stonington Free Library! Two years ago the Board of Trustees launched a strategic planning process. We engaged a highly respected consulting firm to assist us on the most rewarding and valuable part of the planning process—engaging the community. The community’s response to our outreach was overwhelmingly positive and reflected a remarkable level of participation. We look forward to continuing our successful partnership with the community as we implement new strategic initiatives to improve Stonington Free Library’s services and programs. We are grateful for the generous support of the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut whose funding made it possible for the library to create this plan.
We are excited to announce the launch of our Seed Library! Stop by and choose a packet of seeds to plant in your garden. A big thank you to Noreen Kepple, URI Master Gardener, for all her hard work in setting up this program!
The Library is committed to expanding beyond its walls. To this end, several new programs have been launched to bring the Library to the community. Library volunteers now bring our collections and services to the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center. The Stonington Village Improvement Association, Stonington High School and the Library are collaborating on the construction, installation and maintenance of two Little Free Libraries. The Library is also involved with a new book group for Masonicare at Mystic residents.
Our 9th annual Mystery Dinner was a huge success! On April 22 approximately 145 ticket-holders arrived at 6 pm to find the Library decorated around the theme of Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres were served and guests departed at 7 to their appointed homes for dinner. Financially, the event was a success with over $13,000 in ticket sales and over $5,000 towards new laptops and an expanded new book area for the Library.