The second floor of Rye Free Reading Room has found new life after a two year journey to renovation. Benefactor Mildred Weissman, director Kitty Little, board president Fran Rodilosso and teen focus group member Jason Garcia cut the ribbon on a new teen reading space and repurposed second floor this Monday afternoon.
Weissman donated $100,000 for the project which was matched by an equal New York State construction grant. She was very clear that the gift wasn't just from her, but her late husband George Weissman as well.
The Weissmans have made significant philanthropic gifts to Baruch College, including a major endowment for the Mildred and George Weissman School of Arts and Sciences in 1998 and the Weissman Center for International Business in 1996.
The couple, married sixty-five years before his passing, moved from New York City to Rye in 1958 and raised three children here. After reeling off the ages of her two adult sons and daughter– now a lawyer, an architect and a filmmaker– Weissman revealed she was 92.
Despite her candor about her age, Weissman said she looked forward to visiting the new teen center. "I think they have a few books I can read here," she said with humor.
Weissman praised the outcome of the renovation, but says she placed no restrictions or specifications on her gift. "I wouldn't dream of it," she said. "It's marvelous, so exciting."
Instead of sterile steel stacks, the entire floor has been thoroughly repurposed to include a small meeting room and two large reading rooms- one housing the biography collection and the other a dedicated teen space complete with 2 iMac terminals, 2 high top study tables, and a casual seating/game area.