Workers at library branch in Springdale stay busy helping patrons.
STAMFORD — The Weed Memorial and Hollander Branch of the Stamford Public Library was a busy place on a recent Thursday afternoon, a stark contrast to the quiet of adjacent Springdale Elementary in the midst of spring break. Springdale residents of all ages picked through bookshelves or sat at computers, a level of attendance that was surprising in light of the library’s small parking lot.
“It’s a real neighborhood library. Lots of people walk here,” said Shelley Taylor, youth-services librarian for the branch. “People even bring us their dying plants to nurse back to health,” said Erin Shea, the branch’s supervisor, laughing. The Weed Memorial and Hollander Branch is named for Jennie Weed, a Stamford resident who donated the building to the city for use as a library, and the Hollanders, a Stamford family that funded some of the branch’s renovations.
The building has been a library for some 60 years. The building was constructed as a farmhouse in 1810 by the Husted family, which also ran a general store at the nearby intersection of Hope Street and Weed Hill Avenue. After the library’s most recent renovation in 2006, during which a periodical room and expanded space for children’s books were added, Shea said that Springdale residents helped the branch get back up to speed. “One patron brought us a fridge,” she said. Later, a patron brought the library a coffee machine.
It’s a dedication that Shea, a Wilton native and former Darien librarian who has been at the branch since November, tries to return in kind. During one of the winter’s more serious snowstorms, Shea said that she and a parttime staff member kept the branch open through the storm, despite the lack of patrons, eating sushi through the worst of the weather. Carlos Arias was among those who walked to the library on a recent Thursday. “I come here every day,” he said. “The service is fantastic.” Arias’ four sons, all of whom attended Springdale Elementary, were also regulars. “They come to use the computers,” he said. He quickly qualified that he comes each day that the library is open — on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. “A lot of people are not happy that it’s only three days,” he said. “We would love to have more hours,” Shea agreed. “The negative things we hear are about parking and not being open enough.”