About 50 Warren Memorial Library patrons spent Saturday morning gathered on the soggy lawn at Riverbank Park, holding signs in protest of the library’s imminent closure.

Taking turns holding the megaphone, several people spoke to the crowd about the library and their displeasure with its board of directors, which has said the Main Street institution will shut its doors by May 1.

Despite the board’s insistence that the decision is final, longtime patrons aren’t giving up on efforts to save the library they love. The next step is a workshop with city councilors on Thursday.

Originally, Saturday’s rally was supposed to be a march from the park to the library, but police informed leaders of the group that it would be problematic because the library is on private property.

Adults, children and even a few dogs came out Saturday morning. They heard from members of Friends of the Warren Memorial Library, former library director Anastasia Weigle and City Councilor John O’Hara. One of the first residents to mobilize the group to prevent the library from closing, Kelly Watters, said she was pleased with the crowd.

“It was a great turnout,” she said.

Another leader, Michael Elwell, agreed, marking the enthusiasm of the people as more significant than the sheer number of them.

Following the speeches, patrons milled around the park, chatting about what they love about the library and why they’re so disappointed with the board.

“It’s such an abrupt decision. I think it was terribly played,” said Keith Bubblo, whose four children are regulars at the library.

“It’s just a shame that it’s closing,” said 7-year-old Abby Milewski.

“They don’t see it the way we see it,” she said.

Cindy Jacobs said the library was where her son, Nathan, made most of his friends – and where she’s made many of hers, too.

“It’s what brought us all together,” she said.

According to Watters, the City Council is inviting public comment at a workshop Thursday at 6 p.m. in Room 114 at Westbrook High School.

For the full story on the rally and the latest news on library, see this week’s American Journal.

Kelly Watters holds a sign in support of keeping Warren Memorial Library open at a rally at Riverbank Park Saturday, as Anastasia Weigle, a former director at the library, speaks about her experiences with the board.

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