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Bridgeport Buys Former Charles Smith Center For Newfield Library

The Bridgeport Public Library has acquired the former Charles D. Smith Foundation and Education Center for the renovated Newfield Branch Library.
The Bridgeport Public Library has acquired the former Charles D. Smith Foundation and Education Center for the renovated Newfield Branch Library. Photo Credit: File

BRIDGEPORT, Conn. -- The board of directors of the Bridgeport Public Library and Reading Room has purchased, along with other parcels, the former Newfield Library building at 755 Central Ave. in Bridgeport.

The property had served as the Newfield Branch until 1991, when city financial difficulties prevented capital repairs and other needed maintenance. The City Council sold the library building to Charles D. Smith Jr. to use it as a community center, and it later ceased operations.

“The Library Board, based upon the recently completed Facilities Plan, has proactively reacted to the plan to provide facilities as promised during the referendum initiative. We are excited as we begin to provide improved facilities to the East End and anticipate improved facilities to the East Side," library board Treasurer Tom Errichetti said.

Throughout an extensive search for a suitable site to relocate the current leased facility, the library board has been consulting with members of the community. Implementation of the Library Master Plan to restore and improve facilities for library services in Bridgeport has begun with this acquisition as a first step in that process.

The library board will collaborate with the community about expansion of the original structure, with its iconic fireplaces, vaulted 18-foot ceiling and tall windows to re-create the historic Newfield Library, with a new state-of-the-art structure on an adjacent parcel to provide 10,000 square feet of space for the library collection, computer tech center, innovation resources and community meeting for the East End community.

The library board has been working with Mayor Bill Finch and the city administration to improve facilities for the essential services the Library provides Bridgeport’s residents.

“The libraries in Bridgeport serve as that trusted, ‘Third Place,’ away from home and work, where we can gather with free and open access to information, resources and services to explore ideas and interests and engage in a vibrant civic life. This renovated space will be the new focal point of those activities in the East End – in the words of the Library Strategic Plan: ‘Building Community, Helping People, Changing Lives’,” said library board President Jim O’Donnell.

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