Reception honors retiring director of Willington Public Library

By Kitty LeShay - ReminderNews
Willington - posted Wed., Oct. 30, 2013
Brittany Jensen and Roberta Passardi at Passardi’s retirement party on Oct 27. Jensen will take over the directorship of the Willington Public Library on Nov 1. Photos by Kitty LeShay.
Brittany Jensen and Roberta Passardi at Passardi’s retirement party on Oct 27. Jensen will take over the directorship of the Willington Public Library on Nov 1. Photos by Kitty LeShay.

The community room at the Willington Public Library was filled on Oct. 27 with purple balloons, bouquets of flowers, and friends who wanted to wish Roberta Passardi – or “Mrs. P.,” as she is known - a happy retirement. The party marked the ending of Passardi’s 33-year career as a librarian and then director of the library.

Passardi was instrumental in getting the library built. John Patton was a selectman in the late 1990s when the idea of a new library was germinating. “Robbie made the new library building possible, and I like to think that I convinced her it was possible,” Patton said.

On Dec. 11, 2006, the new building opened its doors. Passardi wrote the grant and worked hard to make it a welcoming place where people can relax, further their education and find materials for their enjoyment. “She made coming to the library an enjoyable experience. You feel like you are part of a family coming here,” Patton added.

Passardi has mixed feelings about her retirement. “It is bittersweet. The library baby is only seven years old, and I wanted to enjoy it for awhile. Now I will have more time to spend with my family: my husband, children and grandchildren,” she said. “There will be more time for reading, gardening and going to NASCAR races. My dad, Robert Swift, used to race at the Hartford Speedway. I wish my mom was still here so we would have the time to hang together,” she said.

Passardi said she will also be back at the library regularly. “I plan to return once a month to weed,” she said. In library lingo, “weeding” is taking books off the shelf if they have not been checked out for a long time. She said she will also be back for all the special programs she loved, and to visit with staff and help out the new director if needed. Brittany Jensen is the new director and already has seven years experience at the WPL. She began her new job on Nov. 1.

Jensen hopes to enhance the connection between the library and schools. “We have lots of materials that are helpful to students and I want them to be aware of it. I’m very excited about the directorship, but Mrs. P will be the heart of the library and she will be missed,” Jensen said.


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