When Jeff Zaino started as a serials clerk at New Canaan Library in January of 1983, visitors found books by using a card catalogue.
There was no such thing as the World Wide Web, and Center School—New Canaan’s original elementary school, now an underused parking lot—stood across Maple Street in its final months of occupancy. Now the head of infrastructure at the library—through the years he’s worked as head of circulation, when that involved stamping and signing out books, reference librarian, go-to computer guy and head of digital services, and also helped with collections, selecting religion, philosophy and foreign language books—Zaino will go to work Wednesday for the last time.
“There’s a lot of excitement and a little bit of anxiety because it’s a new lifestyle,” Zaino said of his retirement. “But certainly I would put it at 90% exhilaration and 10% anxiety.”
His final day bookends a career that has bridged the digital age at New Canaan’s community hub, and marks a farewell to one of the town’s most familiar faces. Zaino is described by longtime colleagues and patrons as a smart, funny, dedicated and adaptable professional whose significant behind-the-scenes work has helped the library staff excel. “He’s super-interesting as a human being,” said Lisa Oldham, the library’s executive director.