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Knapp leaving New Canaan Library for Stamford

Published 2:41 pm, Friday, November 23, 2012
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Alice Knapp, executive director of New Canaan Library, has accepted the position of director of user services at Stamford's Ferguson Library, starting Jan. 14, 2013.

Knapp will oversee and coordinate the public operations for Stamford's entire library system. She will also lead the system's planning initiative for the next five-year strategic plan.

Knapp joined New Canaan Library in October, 2008, filling a vacancy left by David Bryant.

A search committee, led by trustees Lydee C. Hummel and Martin McLaughlin, has begun the work of finding a successor.

After Knapp leaves, the day-to-day operations will be managed by Susan LaPerla, director of programming, and Anne Romanello, director of finance and administration, working together as co-directors.

The board of directors endorses the interim leadership team, given their tenure at the library and their professional background.

Under their guidance, the library will continue to provide the same services, collections and programming while it moves ahead with plans for the future of the facility.

The decision to stay in the library's current location on the corner of Cherry and Main streets, where it has been for 100 years, paved the way for the appointment of Centerbrook Architects.

Centerbrook has 20 years of experience in working with nonprofits and in garnering community input through special participatory workshops. The firm began conducting workshops at the library in September. Workshop participants were selected with the goal of representing a broad mix of stakeholders -- library users, community leaders, teenagers, parents of young children, school administrators, and those rooted in the community who may not be active patrons but value the library as an important town asset.

"Our workshops focus on ways to expand the library, accompanied by the opportunities, challenges, and cost implications of the different strategies," said Jim Childress, FAIA, partner, Centerbrook Architects. "Rather than pick one option, the goal is to reach a consensus on a number of options to further explore." There will be phasing, construction cost and parking implications to consider for each option, while evaluating opportunities to improve the library and its connection to the lown.

At a final session this year, the architects will report back on their findings from the workshops, present options, and gather last insights from participants before presenting design concepts to the board of trustees for approval. The public will be invited to a special presentation of the findings soon after the final workshop session and Trustee meeting, early in the new year.