Main Street Waterbury
- Page 17
Silas Bronson Library’s Front Plaza Unveiled to a Positive
By Raechel Guest
Director, Silas Bronson Library

The Silas Bronson Library’s front plaza is newly renovated and open for all to enjoy. New sidewalks, benches, lighting, and a modern-style fountain have transformed a run-down entryway into a beautiful, inviting, space for community use.

Public response to the new plaza and fountain has been overwhelmingly positive. One woman even said that it’s so beautiful, she feels like she’s walking into a palace when she comes to the library.

On warm, sunny days, the new benches are typically in use by people eating their lunch while reading a book or chatting with a friend. The fountain is particularly popular with young children, who enjoy seeing the water splashing over the side of the basin. They also seem to enjoy pretending that the seat wall leading to the fountain is a balance beam, walking along its length while their parents carry armloads of books to or from the library.

Starting with the international Make Music Day event on June 21, we will take advantage of the new plaza design to host outdoor musical performances in front of the library.

The front plaza project was funded by a federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), a grant from the Connecticut Department of Economic & Community Development (DECD), and the library’s Bronson Fund.

Also new to the front of the library is an ornamental cherry tree planted in memory of Katherine Berman, a longtime supporter of literacy for children. The tree will flower in the springtime, joining the other flowering trees in front of the library to create a beautiful setting every year. The new tree also adds to the variety of trees surrounding the library, which as a group function as a small arboretum.

Inside the library, we have wrapped up a makeover of the Children’s Room, renaming the second floor our KidSpace. We installed new carpeting, new shelving, a new aquarium, and a comfy sectional couch that the kids can reconfigure as needed. The dingy yellow walls in the main room were painted a bright blue and decorated with trees, birds, and butterflies. The project was funded by a grant from the Elisha Leavenworth Foundation, the Friends of the Silas Bronson Library, the library’s Bronson Fund, and the City of Waterbury’s Document Preservation Fund.

The Picture Book Room, where our librarians conduct Story Time for young children, now has new Story Time seating for the librarian and the children. Like the new tree on the front lawn, the furniture was donated in memory of Katherine Berman by Literacy Volunteers of Greater Waterbury.

Later this year, we will begin work on the first floor of the East Wing, creating a large and welcoming Teen Zone, an enhanced Computer Classroom, and a new Business & Career Center. We have secured a grant from the Elisha Leavenworth Foundation for the Teen Zone, and the library’s Board of Agents has received a bequest from the estate of Anna M. Paul, a portion of which will also be used for the Teen Zone.

The Silas Bronson Library has been a fixture of downtown Waterbury for almost 150 years. As we work on revitalizing the library, we look forward to another 150 years of providing free access for all to literacy, learning, culture, and entertainment in downtown Waterbury.