Put the books back on the shelves and take the irons out of the clubhouse — it’s time for the third annual Love Your Library weekend.

For the second consecutive year, the fund-raising event that goes toward supporting the library’s annual operating fund will feature a two-floor, 18-hole mini golf course that residents of all ages can use Saturday, Sept. 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m..

“The beauty of mini golf is that it brings a smile to everyone’s face, no matter the age,” said Tizzie Mantione, who sits on the library’s board of directors. “It can be played no matter what age you are. You can be 2 years old or 95 years old — it doesn’t matter. It’s a very popular pastime for kids of all generations.”

Although fall is arriving fast in New England, event organizers are hoping the library-turned-golf-course will give attendees a summer vacation-type feeling.

“No matter where I am, if I’m playing mini golf, it makes it feel like a vacation,” said library board member Magda Fincham.

“We play every summer when we go away on vacation,” added Laureen Bubniak, the library’s director of development. “Everyone in our family plays, and it’s very fun. It’s become a tradition for us and I’m sure we’re not alone.”

Unfortunately interest in the sport seems to be waning — at least in the commercial sense.

“There’s been a bit of a death of it in Fairfield County recently but I believe there’s a need for mini golf here,” said Fincham. “It doesn’t make sense to go all the way to Brewster to have a mini golf party.”
“There’s no places to go for it around here,” added Mantione. “And that’s actually kind of fortunate for us because I think a lot of people will want to come out and play...There’s definitely a business opportunity out there for anyone looking to exploit it.”

The cost to play Saturday is $5 per player. Advanced registration is not required.

“Having mini golf at the library was so successful last year so there was no reason not to bring it back,” Mantione said. “We hope golf is here to stay and people can keep feeling like they’re experiencing summer again here in Ridgefield.”

Teen Night

This year’s Love Your Library (LYL) celebration will be a two-day event starting with “Teen Night” on Friday, Sept. 28, from 6:30 to 10 p.m.

Food and refreshments will be served and cost is $10 golfer. There will also be music and raffle prizes of $100, $75, and $50 gift cards to Ridgefield restaurants and businesses.

“This is the first time we’ve opened up the library, as a golf course, to just teens,” said Fincham.

“It’s a demo that goes untouched,” added Mantione. “We want to present the library in a different way to our middle and high school students. We want them to think of it as a cool place to hang out.”

Somewhere that they can call their own.

“We’re closing the library early Friday at 4 and giving it away to the teens,” said Bubniak with a laugh.

“They can play endless amounts of golf and socialize in the clubhouse that we’re building to house all the clubs and scorecards,” Mantione said.

Challenge Cup

The adults take over Saturday night for the second annual Challenge Cup Tournament available for foursomes ($300), couples ($150), and single players ($75).

Non-players are invited to cheer on their friends from the gallery ($50 standing room).

The event, which encourages festive golf attire, will be catered by Odeen's BBQ and will have beer and wine.  

Doors open at 6:30 and the tournament begins at 7:30. Registration is required at ridgefieldlibrary.com.

“The Challenge Cup is the major fund-raising arm of Love Your Library,” said Mantione. “It’s a cocktail party on a mini golf course, with everyone starting at a different hole — shotgun style — at 7:30. Some people take it more seriously than others and come dressed up, and we welcome that because it makes the event feel even more real.”

If the golf pants and the makeshift clubhouse aren’t enough to convince attendees, then the Challenge Cup trophy should do the trick.

“If you win you can get your name engraved in it,” said Mantione.

Bookmarks and raffle tickets

Mini golf won’t be the only entertainment available during Love Your Library weekend.

The firehouse on Catoonah Street will be hosting tours and CPR demonstrations from 10 to 2 Saturday, Sept. 29. They will also allow kids to sit on fire trucks and offer giveaways to those who stop in.

Library volunteers will also be around town from 10 to 2 passing out bookmarks and collecting donations at stations set up in front of Early Bird Cafe, Steve’s Bagels, Stop and Shop, and Winter Garden Ice Arena.

“Everyone gets a bookmark,” Fincham said, “and anyone who donates will be given a free raffle ticket to bring to the library.”

The raffle will be going on between 10 and 4 at the library while families play mini golf throughout the building.

“The bookmarks and raffle tickets are meant to make the community aware we need to raise funds,” said Bubniak, “but what we’re also hoping is that it gives them a reason to stop by our building and bring their family for some good-old fashioned fun playing mini golf.”

For details on all LYL activities, visit ridgefieldlibrary.org or call Bubniak at 203-438-2272 ext. 11029.