To the editor:
The Trustees of the Westport Free Public Library wish to pay tribute at year’s end to two of our most gracious benefactors. Harold G. and Virginia E. Lash, married some 63 years, were lifetime devotees to our town library, and in their last years bestowed some wonderful gifts to us.
Virginia passed away in April, 2008 and, in her memory as our 2009 addition and renovation was being completed, Harold and the family donated our handsome new custom-made oak reception desk. A plaque was installed on the face of the desk to commemorate Virginia’s dedication to our library and its cause for lifelong learning.
Daughters Gail and Wendy related how, in days long past, Virginia would gather up the children on Saturday mornings and head for the old library, upstairs in Town Hall where the Selectmen’s office now resides.
She recalls their joy and their mother’s enthusiasm as they spread out books to choose from for the week’s reading by themselves and by the parents who always read to them. Such stories warm my publisher’s heart, stoke the creative fires for my children’s writer wife and reaffirm the dedication of our library staff. The Lashes never wavered over the years with their gratitude for our library as a place of learning and cultural betterment.
In 2011, I was honored to meet with Harold, his son Douglas and Library Director Sue Branco as he sought a briefing on our library needs and contemplated a further gift to help us meet financial goals over coming years. As you know, these have been difficult times for the libraries of the Commonwealth but unexpected private gifts have enabled us to forge ahead.
Later that year we were delighted to receive a generous grant from the Lash family charitable gift fund. This is being used, in conjunction with town funds, to keep us abreast of changing technology, to add to our collection and, in general, to seek to improve our service to the community.
Harold Lash subsequently passed away in August, 2013, at age 93 and we gratefully welcome this opportunity to thank the family publicly for their generosity and community spirit. This gift was not only for the library as an institution but for the town and townspeople of Westport they have loved and respected.
Robert J. Gormley
Chairman, Westport Library Board of Trustees
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