Surprise gift highlights library gathering

Thomas Adams, a trustee of the Shoff Foundation, cuts the ribbon at Wilton Library’s new Innovation Station on Sunday. Looking on is Richard Mason, also a trustee and nephew of the late Louise Shoff, for whom the foundation is named. The Shoff Foundation, which also honors former Wilton resident Sheldon Shoff, made a significant contribution to the construction of the library’s new technology hub. (Jeannette Ross photo)

Richard Mason, a trustee of the Shoff Foundation, cuts the ribbon at Wilton Library’s new Innovation Station on Sunday. Looking on is Thomas Adams, also a trustee. The Shoff Foundation, which honors former Wilton residents  Sheldon and Louise Shoff, made a significant contribution to the construction of the library’s new technology hub. (Jeannette Ross photo)

The Wilton Library Association’s annual meeting on Sunday, June 8, featured a number of scheduled events including recognition of staff and volunteers, a talk by Judge Joseph Bellacosa (see related story), and a ribbon-cutting of the library’s new Innovation Station.

What was not expected was the presentation of a check for $47,000 by trustees of the Shoff Foundation to library Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria for a new entrance to the children’s library.

Ms. Tai-Lauria was clearly surprised as she gratefully accepted the check from Richard Mason, a trustee of the Shoff Foundation.

“We are overwhelmed by the support we have received from the Shoff Foundation,” Ms. Tai-Lauria later said in an email to The Bulletin. “They have been such dear friends of the library, helping us continuously improve this wonderful facility for the community. I’m quite confident that children will be thrilled with the magical new entry way to their very own space that we have planned.”

The new entrance will have a rain forest theme.

“Children are our future,” Mr. Mason said as he presented the check. “The more we can get them to grow, the better our country will be.”

library-robot

Wilton Library’s robotics team delivering the scissors for the ribbon-cutting.

The foundation is named in memory of Sheldon and Louise Shoff, who lived in Wilton for almost 30 years from the 50s to the 80s in the house that is now the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps headquarters. Mr. Adams is with Gregory and Adams, and Richard Mason, also a trustee, is a nephew of the late Louise Shoff.

The Shoff Foundation also made a substantial donation toward the construction of the Innovation Station, and Mr. Adams and Mr. Mason cut the ribbon opening the library’s latest addition.

Inside is a collection of technological devices including a digital sewing machine, iMac computer with Final Cut Pro X video editing software, a high-resolution digital scanner, a desktop PC with Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and a MakerBot Replicator 2X 3D printer.

Delivering the scissors for the occasion was the robot built by the library’s student robotics team. The Innovation Station was created, in part, as a home for the team, but it will also be available to the community.

innovation-stationRecognition

Prior to the ceremony, Keith Andresen, Paul Lauricella and Malcolm Whyte were recognized as Volunteers of the Year for their generosity in giving their time as “not only innovators but teachers, mentors and role models for the robotics team,” said incoming association president Ann Duffy.

Joan Waldie Savage was honored as Staff Member of the Year, whom Ms. Tai-Lauria described as “one of the most versatile and hard-working” members of the library staff.

In addition to Ms. Duffy, incoming library association officers for the coming year are Glenn Hemmerle, vice president; Ileana Barns-Slavin, secretary; and Robert Kelso, treasurer. New trustees are Ms. Barns-Slavin, Patty Connor and Thom Healey.

Retiring members are Susan DiLoreto, Judith Higby, Whitney Janeway, Michael Kaelin, Derrel Mason, and Malcolm Whyte.

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