Be our guest! On the western side of the library building you will find our brand new outdoor seating area. The space is open to the public to be freely enjoyed by the many visitors to Wadawanuck Square. Truly a community project, the patio was brought to fruition with support from the Borough of Stonington, the American Rescue Plan, and individual donors. The Borough of Stonington allocated American Rescue Plan funding to SFL for the landscaping and gravel to create the patio. Stonington residents Kevin Rogers and Jaime Lewis generously donated the bistro tables and chairs, which create a welcoming spot to work, read, nosh, or chat. The crowning feature of the area, two bronze lions flanking the gravel border, were donated by a resident of the village who wishes to remain anonymous. Since Wadawanuck Square is owned and operated by the Borough of Stonington, we are also grateful to the Borough for granting us permission to use this portion of the property for the community seating area.
As a result of the pandemic, people have been seeking more outdoor activities, including digital access for working, attending classes, and more. Digital options have created different opportunities for working and learning and Stonington Free Library has been proactively responding to the changing needs of the community. In 2021 we increased our outdoor WiFi signal strength thanks to the Everybody Learns initiative and we secured a grant from the Community Foundation to lend out hotspots, which provide an internet connection anywhere. The library also received Emergency Connectivity funding to purchase Chromebook laptops that can be checked out for remote use.
The seating area outside the library will further enhance these initiatives and have a positive impact on the quality of life and work in our region. Community members will have the option to work, study, and research at tables located right outside the library. They will be able to connect their devices to our free boosted WiFi signal, borrow one of our hotspots for an even stronger internet connection, and if they don’t have their own devices, they can borrow one of SFL’s Chromebooks to use outside.
We hope to see you soon, under the painted buckeye tree, reading between the lions.