Ridgefield Library Note: This article was written a few weeks ago and includes quotations from an interview given by Mary Rindfleisch, Assistant Director of the Ridgefield Library who recently passed away and will be greatly missed.
The Ridgefield Library Great Expectations gala benefit on April 28 will present the Hope H. Swenson Visionary Award to its first multigenerational recipients: Ridgefield residents and philanthropists Elaine and John Couri and their son Chris and daughter-in-law Megan.
The Couri family’s many contributions to the Ridgefield Library include the Couri Family Center in the Lodewick Children’s Library. Designed for pre-schoolers, the Center features large-scale Legos, puzzles, building blocks, puppets, and hard-page picture books. “These items for children share a tactile, three-dimensional quality that aids in the development of motor skills as well as literacy,” said Mary Rindfleisch, the library’s Assistant Director. The nook that houses the Couri Family Center has a lively atmosphere with whimsical furniture and art done by children. It serves as a place where toddlers and caregivers socialize before and after special programs.
Over the past year, the library continued to expand its offerings to the community, both traditional and non-traditional. “John Couri has always pushed us to do new things and be creative,” said Rindfleisch. “In that spirit, we are not your grandfather’s library anymore.” Witness these quick facts: 1) It partnered with 80 outside groups in providing programs and social services, such as blood pressure screening (with RVNA) and Medicare enrollment counseling (with Social Services); 2) The library offers new software, Pronunciator, for learning more than 50 languages; and 3) Its subscription to Hoopla, a truly on-demand service, allows cardholders to download ebooks, audiobooks, comic books, music and streaming video and TV.
In the words of Brenda McKinley, Director: “The Couri family are a wonderful example of philanthropy and volunteering. Through their generous support of the Ridgefield Library, they have helped to strengthen our mission to be a gathering place for lifelong learning serving all ages. We are grateful to be honoring them at this year’s gala.”
Photo shows (l. to r.): Chris, Megan, Elaine and John Couri, who will be honored on April 28, in the library’s Couri Family Center.