WESTON, Conn. – During the Oct. 29 snowstorm the Weston Public Library became a gathering place and communications hub for residents who had lost their power. It was a place where Westonites could interact with the outside world, get on the Internet, charge their cell phones or simply warm up and chat with friends.
And that's the way Karen Tatarka, director of the library, likes it.
“When it comes down to it, this really is an open space for the public, and we like to look at it as a community space rather than a library space,” Tatarka said.
Over the years, libraries throughout the country have been remodeled and updated, both internally and externally, to adapt to technological change, and the Weston library is no different. “I think as our society changes, we have to change with them,” Tatarka said.
The traditional library image of stacks and stacks of dusty books and card catalogs is history. These days, the Weston library is a place for interactions of all kinds. It supports community groups and organizations by letting them hold events on its premises, it allows residents to use the computers or Wi-Fi for free, and it seems to be one of the central hubs for donation drives.
The library has also gone digital, allowing residents to check out Nooks, download eBooks or search the vast circulation catalog from the comforts of their homes. “We really are trying to adapt to technology as much as possible. We do have books here for checkout, of course, but we think it is important for residents to know that there is so much more to do here than that,” she said.
Walk into the library on any given night and there will be students holding tutoring or studying sessions, residents discussing the art on the walls or people just hanging out listening to music on their iPods.
“This is becoming more of a social space, and I have to say, it’s great to see,” Tatarka said.