WESTPORT, Conn. -- Maxine Bleiweis will be stepping down as the director of Westport Library.
Bleiweis, who has been the director of the library for 17 years, plans to leave her position June 30. She came to Westport after working in Newington.
In her formal letter to the Board of Trustees, Bleiweis said: "The decision to make this change has been a difficult one. Helping to guide the Westport Library into a true 21st-century center of learning and innovation for the past 17 years has been the most rewarding work of my professional life. Now, with the Westport Library solidly set on its future path, I hope that I will have the opportunity to help other libraries achieve similar goals."
Under Bleiweis' leadership, Westport Library has become one of the nation's most forward-thinking institutions. She was particularly successful in introducing new technology to the library.
"By every measure, Maxine was instrumental in ushering our library into the new millennium and guiding us through a dynamic period of change. Through the gift of her imagination, visionary thinking and ability to motivate others, our Library is now recognized as one of the most innovative libraries in the world,'' Board President Michael Guthman said.
Guthman said Bleiweis plans to double her personal pledge to the library's capital campaign, and that she has offered to continue working with the library as a consultant.
The Westport Library has experienced tremendous growth in program offerings, events and community involvement since Bleiweis began her tenure. When she arrived, the library offered 700 programs per year, compared with over 1,600 in the past year. Many of these programs focus on new ways of learning, inter-generational involvement, and support for the business community and independent entrepreneurs.
Under Bleiweis' guidance, the Westport Library was also among the first libraries in the nation to maintain a MakerSpace, emphasizing creation and invention, intergenerational collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Westport Library has achieved national recognition as a best-in-class library, including a coveted five-star rating in 2013 from The Library Journal.
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