Carroll Brewster is the second generation of his family to have a Ridgefield Library card. Dina Brewster is the third generation to have one and her son Crispin is the fourth.
It was Carroll’s mother, Dr. Blandina W. Brewster, who was the first generation of the family to get a card, joining the library upon moving to Lounsbury Road from New York City in 1936. Carroll not only recalls getting his own library card as a 10-year-old but remembers “as clear as if it was yesterday” the first book he took out. He had seen an owl on their Lounsbury Road farm and wondered what kind it was. His mother took him to the library and he began looking for a reference book on birds.
It was librarian Phyllis Paccadolmi, beloved by generations of library-goers for her friendly and helpful nature, who directed him to a copy of Studer’s Birds, an illustrated volume on the discount rack (owing to a missing binding) available for $5. The book was purchased, the bird of prey identified (a barred owl) and the beginning of a lifelong love of books and nature had begun. And the encounter with Paccadolmi showed him that a library is not just a building with books in it but is really about the people in it.
Brewster went on to serve for many years on the board of directors of the library and was involved in the new library building project. His daughter, Dina, whose husband, Garth Harries, is the superintendent of schools in New Haven, runs The Hickories, an organic farm on Lounsbury Road where the farmland used has been protected in perpetuity from any development.
Carroll Brewster still has his copy of Studer’s Birds, which, he recalled, his father had rebound, having been sufficiently impressed with his son’s purchase of the reference book.