Library’s Pat Fickett retires from post

WILTON – A metal sculpture depicting a stylized tree and two birds is being created by local artist Mike Kline. When completed, it will be installed in the Wilton Public/Gregg Free Library in honor of retiring Library Director Pat Fickett.

Fickett has retired after 12 years as Director and was honored at a community pot luck supper in the Collaborative Space on Saturday, June 4. The event was coordinated by the Main Street Association with music provided by Sandy Lafleur on dulcimer and cellist Charlene Ledoux.

Ron Brown, chairman of the Library Trustees served as Master of Ceremonies.

For the past 12 years, Brown said, “Pat has guided us through good, and some not so good, times. We had drainage issues and she kept us operating, and during COVID she worked with a task force to address critical issues. She identified the need for a community space, ,and now we have this space for people to meet and listen to music,” and many other activities.

The Collaborative Space was the result of Fickett’s grant application which rented the Parish Hall of the Second Congregational Church for six months, with the town votingg to continue it for a year.

Brown also applauded her husband John as “a defacto employee, the man with the truck,” and presented him with a gift.

In her honor, the Trustees have established the Pat Fickett Fund for Programs which will provide “some extra opportunities to present programs,” Brown said, with the fund now at $3,000, thanks to donations. Donations may be sent to the Trustees at P.O. Cox 420, Wilton 03086.

Trustee Felice Fullam, representing the board, said, “A sculpture will be placed in the library in your honor. It will be made by Mike Kline, a tree with two birds.” She presented Fickett of a picture of the proposed work.

Fickett sasid, “I’m overwhelmed. I always wanted a sculpture at the library. Thank you all so very much.”

In 2017 the town undertook to fix the drainage problems at the library, to finally stop the water seepage that was continually affecting the downstairs. That work included installing a perimeter drain. During that work it was discovered that the front steps were collapsing, and more excavation was needed. A piece of the original 1908 front walkway banister was found.

That relic was presented to Fickett to take with her so that she would always have “the peace of the library” with her.

In response, Fickett thanked those who had come. “I always wanted the library to be the heart of the community, but I found the community is the heart of the library.”

She listed those who make the library what it is: the staff “the most important part. I leave knowing the library will be fine.

The Trustees “understand the value of the library to the community. They supported me and I never felt alone.”

The Friends of the Library, she said, “are a constant support. The support they gave me is amazing. If needs change, the Friends respond. They give us ideas.”

To the volunteers who do the special work she said, “You know who you are, and I thank you.”

And there are the patrons. “They provide for the library, the feedback, what you ask, tell us what the community needs and wants.”

She mentioned others that support the library: The Wilton Community Center, Main Street Association, the Conservation Commission “with science events, bringing knowledge we don’t have.”

The Second Congregational Church which provided the much needed Collaborative Space. “The town government supported that,” Fickett said, thanking “all the people who donate to the library to make this happen.”

She added, “I loved my time in this town and I hope the library continues to thrive and grow.”

The Ficketts will be moving to Colorado where they have family.