There is so much more to do at the Westerly Library than just checking out books and movies. In fact, one could spend an entire day there and not even look at one book. Start your morning off with a cup of whatever you like at Coy Cafe, sipping your drink of choice while sitting in the cozy Old Main Reading Room, then venture up the grandiose staircase to the Hoxie Gallery to peruse their monthly artist exhibits. Have a home project or crafty gift you’re working on? The makerspace, which is free to all, has all the equipment and technology you could possibly need to start and finish any creative project you are working on.
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“More and more libraries are doing a creative space for crafts and technology to meet the needs of the community,” said Brigitte Hopkins, Executive Director for the Westerly Library. “We were lucky enough to receive grants from the Rhode Island Office of Innovation and the Champlin Foundations for this space.”
As part of the Technology Department located on the first floor past the computer room inside the glass doors, people come in to use the Maker Space to make such gifts. One can use the engraver and the 3D printer; while entrepreneurs use the scanner, laser cutter, media converter, and podcasting equipment for their businesses. “You can do whatever you can imagine,” says Kelli, the Marketing and Communications Manager.
If you’re looking to join a club with a particular interest there is something for all age groups and genres at the library as well, because all the programs and clubs are free and no library card is needed to participate. The Cookbook Club, for instance, is a favorite and meets each month to pick out a cookbook and to try different recipes by sharing a dish.
Kelli works with Bethany Kearsch, the Westerly Library’s Program Coordinator, to create and to schedule the programs. “We try to run the gamut with different audiences to reach,” says Kelli. “We get feedback on program attendees and what other libraries are doing across the country and things we read about to bring to the community.”
Like to write? There is a club for that: Adult Writers Workshop that meets weekly to share writings and to discuss readings. Get your craft on with the Knit & Crochet Club or Sewing Social. A little on the shy side and want to master that fear? Come join Renaissance Toastmasters of Westerly that meets twice a month to share stories and to get comfortable speaking in front of an audience to build self-confidence. Our own Westerly Toastmasters is a group that started in the spring of 2018 and recently received their charter recognition.
If you’re looking for something the entire family can enjoy and participate in together there is The Chess Club – open to all ages and experience levels – and, Family Game Night. Even the teens are interested; last year there were over 250 programs for teenagers with 1,400 youth attending all the different programs and clubs. They even have a Teen Advisory Board that meets monthly, how cool is that! A place for teenagers to share their opinions (what teenager doesn’t have an opinion they like to share), and the Kids and Teen Home Page on the library website has all the events, programs, and happenings catered just for them. The Teen Community Garden, offered for the second year in a row in Wilcox Park, has been very popular with the kids, as they get to grow their own seeds, transplant them, and watch them grow into veggies.
The Westerly Library also partners with other local nonprofits and organizations to offer diverse programs such as: computer training through the Johnnycake Center, the United Theater for Movies in the Park, Savoy Book Shop & Cafe for their author talks, and last year the Westerly Library also worked with PACE Adult Day Center of Westerly to host their Alzheimer’s Walk.
The library also features a series called Community Spotlight, which focuses on a different business, nonprofit organization, or service in Westerly and Pawcatuck each month to introduce to the community. This summer some of the places they featured to spotlight for tours and fun activities were Westerly Land Trust, Save the Bay, Humans for the Future, and this September is Stand Up for Animals and in October The United Theater.
“What I enjoy most about my position at Westerly Library and Wilcox Park is spreading the word about all of the wonderful services and programs our organization has to offer the public,” says Kelli. “There are so many options to appeal to various age ranges, interests and demographics.”
Experience a new venture at Westerly Library, join a club, participate in Westerly’s 350th Anniversary Celebration and Time Capsule events, something for all interests! westerlylibrary.org