One in a million: Fairfield Library busier than ever this summer
The Fairfield Public Library has booked a full schedule of summer programs as it marks the fifth anniversary of its 2005 renovations this week.
All week, adults who check something out from either branch of the library can enter to win an Amazon Kindle, which was purchased by Friends of the Fairfield Public Library. The winner will be announced July 19.
On Monday and Tuesday of this week, the Borders book store in Fairfield recognized the anniversary of the completion of the renovations by donating a portion of its sales to the library for any purchases made with a Benefit Days Coupon.
On Friday, the Fairfield jazz quartet Duffy, Grathwohl and Coe -- a jazz band made up of high schoolers James and Kevin Duffy, Will Grathwohl, and Zac Coe -- will perform from 3 to 4 p.m. at the Main Library. The quartet will be performing such jazz standards as "My Funny Valentine" and "Song for my Father."
The anniversary is one of several milestones reached by the Fairfield Public Library this year: on June 30, the last day of the fiscal year, the library surpassed the threshold of 1 million books borrowed in a 12-month period, a first for the library that dates back to 1876.
Fairfield resident Courtney Canter, along with her children, Genevieve and Fiona and mother's helper, Julia Wilson, borrowed the 1-millionth book at the Main Library; Millie Gallo borrowed the 1-million-and-first book at the Fairfield Woods branch. Winners received a bag of new books, some of which were signed by the authors.
Town Librarian Karen Ronald called the milestone "incredible." "It means that we've been responding to the community and that we have a healthy relationship with residents," said Ronald, who has been the chief librarian since February. "After a lot of work and really listening to people, it's very exciting."
According to Ronald, the 1 million book benchmark represents a 12 percent increase over 2005, when 880,000 books were borrowed. And with a population of 56,000, that puts Fairfield at an average of 18 books borrowed per capita -- nearly double the national average of 10 books borrowed per capita.
"It's pretty amazing," she said.
Other data support Ronald's assessment. For instance, more than 3,200 people borrowed over 6,000 items last Tuesday at the start of the library's Summer Reading Program. According to Ronald, this is the "busiest year ever" for summer reading, with more than 2,300 people signed up so far for the program.
With a different theme every week for the summer program -- this week's theme was thrillers -- the library posts recommended reading lists of bestselling authors in the genre for children and adults alike to try. Participants' names are entered into a weekly raffle, and they can win prizes donated by local businesses. Summer readers can also win prizes based on how many books they read through the Aug. 8 end of the program. The grand prize for teenagers, for example, is a surfboard.
To kick off this year's program, the library hosted two children's concerts featuring a sing-along with Marcia Louis and a performance by Annie and the Natural Wonder Band.
"The children were dancing on their blankets; they absolutely loved it," said Ronald. "I hope we can do it again."
Ronald emphasized that the Summer Reading Program is only one of many programs offered at the library, including book clubs, author lectures, Saturday night concerts, art exhibits and environmental programs at the Fairfield Woods branch.
"We really respond to what the community says we should have; we're a vibrant community center," she said. "We're welcoming, we're cool -- we have air conditioning ----so it's a good place to enjoy yourself this summer."
Anyone interested in signing up for the Fairfield Public Library's Summer Reading Program can do so at the library or online at www.fairfieldpubliclibrary.org.