Lisa Oldham

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‘Wonderful, New, Highly Qualified’: Five New Faces at New Canaan Library

New Canaan Library Director Lisa Oldham said the organization has five “wonderful, new, highly qualified librarians and other staff” that have come on since October. Meet them below. According to Oldham, the library last year “lost some talented staff to retirement and incredible opportunities elsewhere.”

“We lost three people to the west coast,” she said. “Two to a startup and one to a big Washington state library. We have taken our time to find the very best people for the roles, because we are so committed to delivering excellent service to the people of New Canaan.”

We asked the new library employees to provide us with some basic information on their backgrounds, and to describe what they’re doing in their roles. Continue Reading →

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‘We Are Incredibly Thankful’: New Canaan Library Obtains Signed Contract on Key Property for Rebuilding Project

New Canaan Library officials said Tuesday that, thanks largely to demonstrated support from the town, the organization has a signed contract to purchase a key property on its block—an acquisition that allows the library to pursue a widely anticipated rebuilding project. Acquiring the .19-acre parcel at 48 South Ave., currently the site of a multifamily dwelling, is hugely important because setback regulations would have forced the library to put parking aboveground without it—spoiling a vista for motorists approaching downtown New Canaan by its major north-south artery and forcing the organization to shoehorn its new $25 million facility into a far smaller footprint. Making good on a promise to support the project, officials last week handed the library a $475,000 check to complete the $1,475,000 acquisition. “We are incredibly thankful to the town of New Canaan for this huge vote of confidence and this signal that the community is behind the library in building this new building,” New Canaan Library Executive Director Lisa Oldham said. The formal acquisition will allow the library to draw up renderings of the planned new facility and start fundraising in earnest—an effort that’s been on hold for more than one year, as negotiations with the owner of the coveted property got underway. Continue Reading →

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‘The Community Is Behind It’: Finance Board Votes 8-0 in Favor of $475,000 for New Canaan Library As Rebuilding Project Nears

Calling New Canaan Library a vital community hub whose new building will benefit the town in numerous ways, finance officials on Tuesday night unanimously supported a proposed $475,000 special appropriation for the organization. Approved 8-0 by the Board of Finance at the group’s regular meeting, the funds are designed to help the library acquire a key property on its block and trigger a widely anticipated capital campaign. Purchasing the .19-acre property at 48 South Ave., currently the site of a rented multifamily dwelling, “is critical to any plans the library might have, because not only does it complete the campus footprint but setback rules would make other properties that they have acquired useless for construction purposes and limit their use for parking spaces,” finance board member Chris LeBris said during the meeting, held at Town Hall. “So the entrance to town—instead of having a nice new library building—would be, essentially, several blocks of parking as you drive down South Avenue, so for the town aesthetics there is a reason to do this.”

The appropriation still requires the approval of the Town Council, which meets next week. Conceived by town leaders after library officials said during budget discussions last fiscal year that they would go forward with their rebuilding plans even without it, the appropriation has received wide community support, finance board member said. Continue Reading →

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Town Funding Bodies To Vote Next Month on Support for New Canaan Library Rebuilding Plan

The town’s two major funding bodies will vote next month on a proposal to help kickstart a capital campaign for a widely anticipated rebuild of New Canaan Library, officials say. Conceived by town officials and introduced at public meetings in June, the allocation would help the library acquire a key .19-acre property on its block. Though formal agendas have not yet been finalized, the Board of Finance is expected to vote on the measure at its Sept. 13 meeting, with the Town Council to follow on Sept. 21, First Selectman Rob Mallozzi said. Continue Reading →

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‘A Very Good Investment for Our Community’: Town Could Help Library Acquire Key Final Property for Rebuilding Plan

The town stands to benefit aesthetically, culturally and otherwise if New Canaan Library in planning its rebuilt facility has a properly sized and configured parcel with which to work, officials said Tuesday. Because of setback regulations, a major gateway into the New Canaan at South Avenue and Maple Street realistically could only serve as a parking lot unless the library is able to acquire a key .19-acre property on its block, the town’s highest elected official said during a meeting of the Board of Finance. So if it’s feasible and residents and town officials support the idea, New Canaan ought to consider helping the library purchase that property, according to First Selectman Rob Mallozzi, who serves as chairman of the finance board. “There is an opportunity for this town to demonstrate to our library what we think and be a partner in their vision that I think is fundamental for the success of this community,” Mallozzi said during the finance board’s regular meeting, held at Town Hall. Doing so would bolster “the look and feel of the community as you approach our downtown village, and, I think, truly jumpstart a capital campaign to the library that would lead to a phenomenal facility over the next few years.”

He added: “I think it would be a very good investment for our community.”

That investment, if it’s made, remains some months away, according to finance board member Neil Budnick. Continue Reading →

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