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Library Friends Bestow Honors

Friends of Westport Public Library's annual meeting and awards presentation on April 30 joyfully celebrated volunteers' contributions. Four who were honored form the Spoken Word Committee and one is a Staples High School student who helps in the children's section. But next week's town budget hearings and uncertainty about whether the library will be forced to close on 16 Sundays because of cuts, filtered through the evening. During the event, attendees were reminded several times to contact their RTM members to urge them to restore the $45,000 that hangs in the balance.

Friends of Westport Library's first honoree was Sitara Mahtani, a Staples senior heading to Vassar next year, who helped in the library's children's section throughout her high school years. She received the Friends Special Recognition Award which is given to people who "exemplify outstanding contributions" to the library.

Four members of the 2010 Spoken Word Committee were also honored. They are: Simone Dubow, Chair, Carol Diamond, Phyllis Groner and Nikki Untermeyer. The Spoken Word Committee designs library events linked by a theme, with each event exploring a different aspect. Currently, ancient Rome is the theme. In an upcoming event on May 4,  Columbia University Professor of Art History and Archaeology Richard Brilliant talks about Rome's art and architecture.

Near the end of the evening, Mark Schenker, Associate Dean at Yale College and Eddie Pleasant, an opera and musical theater performer, also honored the Spoken Word Committee members. They performed a surprise medley of well-known music with specially adapted humorous lyircs for the "four muses of the spoken word." The audience and the honorees were tickled by their performance which Library Board of Trustees President Martha Aasen said afterwards had been "a very well-kept secret."

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