The Friends of the Easton Public Library are delighted to offer a Wine and Cheese Tasting get-together this June, hosted at Easton’s own Sport Hill Farm.
Here’s a chance to learn about wine, sample, and get together with folks from the town in a casual yet elegant setting, outdoors. Complete info can be found on our website: https://www.eastonlibraryfriends.org/wine-cheese
Only 40 people, with advanced tickets required. $40/person. Go to the website to save your spot before it sells out!
The Easton Public Library Presents Easton Geocaching
The Easton Public Library, in collaboration with the Pollinator Pathway (a conservation project of the Easton Garden Club), is very excited to offer this town-wide program for all ages. The challenge: find eight Easton destinations that encourage being active and outdoors.
Check the Library’s website for GPS coordinates and hints that will bring you to the destination. Each destination will have a small marker with a QR code and some information on local plant life. Scan the QR code with your phone and fill out the short form, which will tell the Library how many people visited each destination. Now, on to the next destination!
This is a fun and active way to discover some beautiful Easton destinations. Check the Easton Public Library’s website for all the coordinates and hints. The QR code will take you to the Easton Public Library’s Easton Geocaching webpage. Check it out!
Easton Geocaching will run for the entirety of the Easton Public Library’s Summer Reading Adventure, June 17 through Aug. 13. Special thanks to the Easton Park & Recreation Department, the Aspetuck Land Trust and the Easton Garden Club.
Easton Public Library Adds New Digital Resources
The Easton Public Library has added Gale eBooks and Gale Passenger and Immigration List Index to its growing list of online research tools and databases, which are free for Library patrons, and are available at any time.
Gale eBooks is a collection of top nonfiction titles that cover popular subject areas for research and learning. The digital book collection is available online 24/7 and offers a myriad of topics and subjects from A to Z. Patrons can highlight passages and make notes, download or print out their findings, and embed the citations right into their research.
Gale Passenger and Immigration List index compiles passenger lists and immigration content from more than 3,500 historical publications, naturalization records, government documents, ship manifests, and other historical sources. The index covers more than 5 million names of people who immigrated to North America between the late 1500s and mid-20th Century. The database provides searchers with the source in which the information was found, so they can do further research.
An enthusiastic group of volunteers has opened a new chapter of the Friends of the Easton Public Library. Formed in 1979 by 11 civic-minded women, the friends is a non-profit fundraising arm to support the library. With the friends’ support, the Easton library developed into a hub of arts and information, offering programs and events for the entire community.
But membership in the friends declined in recent years, closing the book on the once dynamic group. Library Director Lynn Zaffino thanked the former members for their years of dedicated service and began a search for new members. She wanted to ensure that Easton children grow up with a supported library. It didn’t take long for enthusiastic new volunteers to step up and get involved.
“The Friends of the Easton Library has been around for a long time and from what I understand the last couple of years it faded out,” said Beth Cliff, president of the newly revived friends. “The library director was looking for volunteers to rejuvenate and restart it, and so that’s what we are doing now. It’s a whole new set of people, a whole new agenda, and a whole new look at it.”
The first meeting was in January, and two or three people answered the call, Cliff said. “In February, there were maybe five of us, and I was one of those people. I started doing social media, and the next meeting we had about 25 people say they were interested with nine or 10 people at the meeting.”
A pretty stable group of seven or eight people have been meeting monthly, Cliff said. In addition to her role as president, other officers are Patti Romaniello, treasurer; Sheila Stowe-Merchant, secretary; and Renee Neiger, webmaster and liaison to the library board.
Working along with the board are Volunteer Planning Committee members Kelly Byrne, Janelle Krizek, Saphora Lifrak, Phyllis Machledt and Victoria Romaniello.
“There are two different kinds of involvement we are looking for,” Cliff said. “Volunteers, who organize events and do the work, and members, who pay a small amount of money and are just our supporters.”
The new friends held its first online fundraiser on April 7 and raised over $4,800. In the future the Town of Easton can expect many more fundraising events to raise money and awareness for the library, Cliff said.
A Used Book Sale is planned for Saturday, Oct. 2, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the library.
Community members are invited to volunteer, donate, and find out more about the Friends of the Easton Public Library. The friends meet the fourth Wednesday of every month from 7 to 8 p.m. at the library.
The Art of Easton Soars Through the Pandemic
The past year has been challenging for everyone, due to the Covid pandemic. Industries and organizations have had to adapt and alter the way they do business. This was certainly true for the Easton Arts Council, which had to adjust to the limitations set in place during an unprecedented time that everyone continues to live through to this day.
Many of the annual events the arts council hosts, such as art and photography exhibits, concerts and dramatic performances, were cancelled in the early months of the pandemic. Some regular events took place virtually as time went on.
Joanne Kant, Easton Arts Council’s founder and president, has loved to sing and perform since she was a little girl. As a member of the first class of women at Yale University in 1969 to 1974, she sang in the Yale Glee Club and was a founding member of the first women’s singing group at Yale, the New Blue. She also sang in the Chapel Choir.
Kant went on to medical school and continued her musical studies with a retired Metropolitan Opera singer while doing her residency in New York City. She later joined an active OB-GYN practice in Bridgeport from which she recently retired. “I feel music is a healing art and I enjoy bringing happiness to people through my performing,” Kant said.
In 1996, a group of local residents, including Kant, felt there was a need for an arts organization to represent artists and creative performers in the Easton area. This group of volunteers formed an independent non-profit organization to support what is known as the Easton Arts Council.
The arts council’s goals are to showcase community artists, foster communication between the schools and the arts community, develop cooperation among local organizations and the arts community, encourage young artists, and provide a forum for local artists to meet and exchange ideas. Essentially, it serves as a hub of artistic expression for individuals through the arts and the values that come along with it.
Many arts council events, showcases and contests take place in the community room at the Easton Public Library. Arts council members are also instrumental in managing the library’s conference room gallery, where they present regular exhibits of local artists.
To meet their goals, arts council members have developed a number of annual events for the community. In January they sponsor an all-member art show, which culminates in a Winter Celebration of the Arts reception where artists can meet, view each other’s work and exchange ideas. Since March is Youth Art Month, the arts council offers a Youth Art show, which is preceded by a framing workshop sponsored by the Lions Club. In May they have a Juried Fine Arts Show, entitled Art in the Country, with a reception.
In the fall, they host a photography contest and exhibit. The winning photo of an Easton venue is donated to the Town Hall where all the photos from more than 25 years are on display. The council also sponsors an annual Readers Theater and an annual musical performance. Every year the council presents monetary recognition awards to two Joel Barlow High School juniors and two Helen Keller Middle School eighth graders for excellence in the visual and performing arts.
For their arts and photography events, they advertise a “call for artists” opportunity in all the local papers, arts schools, libraries, etc. Since these annual events have taken place for many years, people also know about them and look forward to them yearly.
For the juried show, anyone can submit artwork, but because it is juried, not everyone is able to be accepted. Accepted artwork is brought to the library community room and arts council volunteers hang the show. Arts council member Dolly Curtis curates the art shows in the small gallery conference room. She is always on the lookout for local artists to exhibit their work.
In a time like the Covid-19 pandemic, Kant said, “People really need the arts in their lives and the sense of shared community when we view them together.”
Thankfully, the pandemic seems to be receding, as people are getting vaccinated and venues are beginning to reopen. The arts council’s first in-person event in over a year will open on May 17 in the community room as the arts council hosts its Juried Fine Arts Show.
“We have evolved over the years,” Kant said. She sees light at the end of the pandemic tunnel and much to look forward to.
The Easton Arts Council’s website has a great amount of information for the public such as ways to submit artwork, upcoming shows and annual events to look forward to.
The Easton Arts Council has scheduled an in-person Art in the Country fine arts show after a year of digital shows. If all goes according to plan, the show will be the first live show since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The members of the Easton Arts Council look forward to a large turnout for the Art in the Country show. The artwork receiving date is Saturday, May 15 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the community room at the Easton Public Library. The exhibit will be open from May 17 to June 26 during library operating hours.
“The Easton Arts Council will celebrate our 25th year with a gathering to be scheduled later this year,” said Sheila Weaver, Arts in the Country show chair. “We first started the Art in the Country in 2005. We worked together with the Historical Society and displayed artwork at the Hubble House for a few years.”
The last in-person art show took place in January 2020. But the digital shows during the pandemic led to some of the largest numbers of artists submitting their work in the arts council’s history.
“Covid has sparked a lot of people to show their creativity, to be willing to put it out there and want to be involved,” said Weaver. “I think the art show will be very alive in Easton.”
A reception will take place on Saturday, May 22 from 7 to 10. p.m at the Easton Public Library. Patrons will be able to walk through the exhibition in the community room and then out to the back patio for an outdoor reception for the first in-person display since 2020.
Robert Brennan, an award-winning Easton artist who studied at Connecticut State University and Columbia University, is the juror. Awards include: first place, $100; second place, $75, and honorable mention, $50.
The Easton Public Library is a desirable venue, centrally located, and typically attracts artists from surrounding communities and from as far away as New York and New Jersey.
“We really do bring in a lot of people from a lot of different communities from around here,” said Weaver.
Artists aged 18 years of age and above are eligible to submit their art to be displayed. Two is the maximum number of entries per artist. Abstract and representational artwork is accepted, including oil, acrylics, watercolors, pastes, drawings, and mixed media.
Artwork must be wired for hanging with a label taped to the front, hand-delivered and picked up from the Easton Library, The artwork must be available for sale from delivery until end of the event and must never have been displayed in an Easton Arts Council art show before. Each piece must be 40”x40” or less.
The entry form along with more information about the Easton Arts Council and the Art in the Country show is available on eastonartscouncil.org.
Emergency Broadband Benefit Program Enrollment Begins May 12
The Easton Public Library is working to help build consumer awareness about the Emergency Broadband Benefit, a new Federal Communications Commission (FCC) program. The temporary benefit will help to lower the cost of broadband service for eligible households during the on-going COVID-19 pandemic.
The $3.2B Emergency Broadband Benefit program provides a discount of up to a $50 per month toward broadband service for eligible households and up to $75 per month for qualifying households on qualifying Tribal lands. The benefit also provides up to a $100 per household discount toward a one-time purchase of a computer, laptop, or tablet if the household contributes more than $10 and less than $50 toward the purchase through a participating broadband provider.
A household is eligible if one member of the household meets at least one of the criteria below:
Has an income that is at or below 135% of the Federal Poverty Guidelines or participates in certain assistance programs, such as SNAP, Medicaid or the FCC’s Lifeline program;
Approved to receive benefits under the free and reduced-price school lunch program or the school breakfast program, including through the USDA Community Eligibility Provision, in the 2019-2020 or 2020-2021 school year;
Received a Federal Pell Grant during the current award year;
Experienced a substantial loss of income through job loss or furlough since February 29, 2020 and the household had a total income in 2020 at or below $99,000 for single filers and $198,000 for joint filers; or
Meets the eligibility criteria for a participating provider’s existing low-income or COVID-19 program.
On Tuesday, May 4, a vote on the Annual Budget for 2021-22 and the Easton Resolution on Racism and Public Health will be held at Samuel Staples Elementary School, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The Easton 175th Committee is excited to have a table at the polls to promote Easton organizations, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Expect to see representatives from the Easton Garden Club, the Easton Public Library, the Easton Arts Council, and the world-famous Easton Cemetery Committee, along with some great Easton merchandise for sale.
Please stop by and say hi. If there are any organizations that would like to be included, please drop off flyers/brochures at the table the morning of May 4!
You can learn about these local groups and more: Easton Farms (all are connected through the Agricultural Commission and Easton Garden Club Farm Map), Easton Volunteer Fire Department, American Legion Charles L. Ruman Post 160, St. Dimitrie Romanian Orthodox Church, Jesse Lee United Methodist Church, Easton Community Center, Easton EMS, Historical Society of Easton, Easton Learning Foundation, Easton Senior Center and National Charity League.
Friends of Easton Library Off To Strong Start, Raising $5K+
The newly rejuvenated Friends of the Easton Public Library held a banner kick-off event on Wednesday April 7, when the team raised over $5K in one day to support the Library and its needs.
The Friends team began to organize this winter, and by mid-March were ready to set its sights on national Library Giving Day. With a newly launched website (https://www.eastonlibraryfriends.org/), 20 townspeople signaling their interest in the efforts, and with new Facebook and Instagram accounts, the team was able to reach out to all facets of the community.
Over 100 people participated. The Fayek Family and an anonymous donor provided matching gifts; Easton’s own Trellis & Vine (https://trellisvineevents.com/) donated floral arrangements for any gift $50 or above.
“This was a great way to kick off our presence in Easton, after a few quiet years,” said Beth Cliff, the Friend’s new president. “We were so impressed with the generosity of the town; we look forward to engaging in more ways — at all age levels — in the coming year. COVID restrictions have limited us some, but we are a creative team: Stay tuned for safe and healthy ways to be together and support our wonderful jewel of a library.”
Cliff said that the planning team met April 26 to start mapping out fundraising for the remainder of the year. The group agreed on a Used Book Sale in the fall, perhaps a wine and cheese gathering, and some holiday festivities in December.
“Volunteers to help with all these — and more — are always welcome,” Cliff said.
The Library Established New Viewing Hours for Art Exhibits
In an effort to balance the many uses of its Conference Room with the ability of the public to view the art exhibits, the Easton Public Library, in collaboration with the Easton Arts Council, has established new viewing hours. The art in the Conference Room, which generally changes every 6 weeks, can be viewed Monday through Friday from 11 a.m.- 3 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Library has seen increased demand recently for people who need a quiet room to work, study, or participate in a Zoom call. Because the Library does not have official study rooms, the Conference Room is the next best thing. Staff members also use the room for breaks or meetings.
“The availability of the room for art viewing has been a slight issue in the past, but the pandemic has brought it to a different level,” said Lynn Zaffino, Library Director. “We are hoping that this new compromise with the Easton Arts Council will work out for all involved.”
Members of the public can still use the Conference Room during the viewing hours, with the understanding that people who want to view the art will have access to the room.
The Library Conference Room is currently hosting Cleo Sonneborn’s exhibit, entitled Ebb & Flo. The next exhibit, A Lifetime of Painting: Watercolors by Joyce Pedersen is scheduled to open on May 17. Joyce was born in Manchester, England and came to America in the 1950’s. She started painting in the 1960’s, first with oils, then with watercolors. She paints what she loves: flowers, still-life scenes, landscapes, and seascapes. A long- time Easton resident, Joyce is a member of Easton Arts Council, The Shelton Art League, and The Society of Creative Arts of Newtown (SCAN). Her exhibit will run through June 30.