Wilton Library: A ribbon is cut, a gift is given

Wilton Library not only cut the ribbon on the new entrance to its Children’s Library, but Rich Mason, president of the Shoff Foundation, which underwrote the project, presented Executive Director Elaine Tai-Lauria with another check, this one for $10,000. It will be used, she said, "to assist with a new initiative that is in development."

The new entry is comprised of an elaborate, three-dimensional, jungle-themed mural executed by members of the artistic MacEwen family: Ed MacEwen, his daughter Bonnie MacEwen Sailer and his granddaughter Jesse Sailer.

“All things in this world must be seen with youthful, hopeful eyes,” Tai-Lauria said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. She likened the new entry to a “gateway that inspires curiosity” leading to “a world beyond this threshold.”

She added, “We’re exceedingly grateful to Mr. Mason, who presented us with a gift that made this possible” and praised the “work of a stunning family of artists.”

In his remarks, MacEwen recalled that before the project got off the ground, “all Rich saw was a sketch and it was a leap of faith.” He thanked Tai-Lauria for giving his family “the room to work” and described her as “the most patient person I ever met.”

He told how the painting and construction process unfolded, which may be seen on a video across the library gallery from the entry.

“Best of all,” he added, “was I got to do this with my daughter and granddaughter. What could be better?”

Response to the project has been so positive, the library is redesigning its card to reflect the design.

Mason said he thought the foundation was underwriting just a mural. “You’ve blown my mind,” he said.

He reminded those in the audience, “we wouldn’t be here without the generosity of longtime Wilton residents — my aunt and uncle.” The foundation is named for Sheldon and Louise Shoff, who lived in Wilton for nearly 30 years, from the 50s to the 80s, in the house that is now the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps headquarters.

Also representing the foundation were its two vice presidents, Thomas T. Adams, of Gregory and Adams, and his son Doug Adams.

The Shoff Foundation has been very generous to the library. In 2008 grants were used for improving accessibility of the library’s front entrance including a new ramped front walkway, a covered canopy to shield patrons from inclement weather, a mobility scooter, new outdoor signage and an improved drop box to return items.

More recently, the foundation funded the library’s Innovation Station, which was dedicated last year. Since then, the library has offered close to 1,000 hours of learning/training on 3D printers, die cutters, electronic sewing machines, soldering, and digital conversions of photos and videos.

Information: 203-762-3950 or wiltonlibrary.org.