If you live in Stonington, then there is a darn good chance that you either know Nick Kepple or benefit from his tireless work. If you have not yet met him, please allow me the pleasure of introducing you by characterizing the many roles he plays in our community. He is the father of four, a dedicated husband (it will be 44 years this July), a beloved probate judge who consistently demonstrates kindness, compassion and a steadfast drive to do what is right for those who come before him. Among many other things, he is the President of the Board of Trustees of the Stonington Free Library. By now, you undoubtedly see a pattern in these roles that describe his character—selfless community servant and leader, with a love for family and community at his core.
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.
On a mild Saturday evening in April, over 150 guests strolled up a path lined with shutters and Spanish moss to the tune of “When the Saints Come Marching In,” performed by our very own two-man jazz band featuring Teddy Leamon on trumpet and Campbell Gray on sax. Upon entering the Library for the 10th annual Mystery Dinner, patrons were welcomed to Antoine’s Restaurant in the French Quarter of New Orleans circa 1948, inspired by Frances Parkinson Keyes’s bestselling novel Dinner at Antoine’s.
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.
Stonington Free Library is proud to announce that it has received a $7,500.00 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The Quality of Life program awards grants to fellow nonprofits that mirror the Reeve Foundation’s mission and commitment to foster community engagement, enhance independence and promote healthy self-esteem. The Library will use the grant for accessibility improvements; specifically the award will support architectural design consultant fees for DeWright Design, LLC to develop accessibility modification plans.
After reviewing responses from our community survey and focus groups, it is clear that more user-friendly hours are what our community desires. We will be introducing new hours beginning on Monday, August 21.
The money raised from our Giving Tree fundraiser at our Annual Mystery Dinner has been used to purchase new laptops and to expand our new book area. Next time you stop by try one of our laptops or check out our new book area! Thank you again to all those who made this project possible!
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!