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Bridgeport Public Library Commons

Bridgeport Public Library

Innovation Summary

Building on its existing partnerships with Public Allies and Girls Inc., in summer 2011, the Library coalesced with several nonprofits in the area to accomplish the city-wide Bridgeport Beautifies project and created the Synergy Center at its Main Library.

Problem Statement

On November 18, 2009, the Bridgeport Public Library Board of Directors adopted the library’s latest long range strategic plan entitled "The Bridgeport Public Library: Building Community…Helping People…Changing Lives…" Goal 4, the Bridgeport Public Library will develop strategic partnerships and alliances throughout the city to benefit more residents, has been a transformative ethos.


The Library formed a coalition with BuildOn, Green Village Initiate, the Mentoring Institute of the United Way of Coastal Fairfield County, Groundwork Bridgeport, Bridgeport Community Land Trust, and Cook and Grow to accomplish the city-wide Bridgeport Beautifies. The Library formed strategic partnership between the Friends of the Bridgeport Public Library and its affiliate Cook and Grow; sustained its programming partnership with Girls Inc. and formed a new alliance with the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice in order to create The Synergy Center. Each of the organizations share ideas for programming at capacity building in their communal office space housed at the Main Library.


Bridgeport Beautifies resulted in 21 cleaned neighborhoods, parks, the Michelle Obama community garden, a stone etching for the garden, and 2 new murals. Overall, the project engaged over 200 residents. In the fall of 2011, the Bridgeport Public Library created the Synergy Center (the first of its kind at a public library in the country) to provide office spaces for the Friends of the Bridgeport Public Library, Inc. and its affiliate Cook and Grow, and the Bridgeport offices of Girl’s Inc. of Southwestern Connecticut, and the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and Public Allies (volunteer coordinator).