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Athenaeum director leaves after more than a decade of service

Date: 9/20/2013

By Carley Dangona

WESTFIELD – The upcoming Sept. 28 Harvest Fair will mark the Westfield Athenaeum’s Sesquicentennial anniversary and the departure of its director.

After more than a decade, Chris Lindquist announced on Sept. 16 that he has accepted a position as director of the Wellesley Free Library. Cher Collins will serve as interim director until the position is filled. His last duty as director will be to host the 150th commemoration of the library.

“It’s very bittersweet,” Lindquist said. “I’ve been so fortunate and privileged to have worked with this community. I will miss the relationships most – with the staff, the board of directors, the volunteers and patrons.”

Lindquist said his new position begins Oct. 2. He explained that the Wellesley Free Library is completely supported by the municipal budget, whereas the Athenaeum receives 70 percent of its funding from the city of Westfield. Lindquist noted that he has previous experience working at the West Hartford, Conn. and Windsor, Conn. public libraries that are both municipally funded.

He is excited about the move to Boston. “I’m eager to start meeting those in the community. The position is an opportunity for growth in my career,” Lindquist stated. He said that the Wellesley library includes two branch libraries in addition to the main location and a larger budget, so he would have more responsibilities.

Lindquist said he would also be involved with the Wellesley Free Library Foundation that conducts fundraising to support initiatives such as technology upgrades and school outreach.

“The Athenaeum has established a brand – a popular brand known for its very welcoming atmosphere, excellent customer service and for leading the curve in technology. Going forward, the library’s well positioned to build on the foundation I’ve laid,” Lindquist commented, thanking the staff that he described as talented and dedicated.

“She’s been instrumental in developing new series,” Lindquist said about Collins, the current Reference and Public Services librarian. “I know the Athenaeum is in good hands.”

Lindquist said he plans to remain a member of the Friends of the Athenaeum and a passionate supporter of the mission of the Athenaeum in the future. “I hope the next director will enjoy being part of the Athenaeum and the community as much as I have,” he said.

The old-fashioned 1864 Harvest Fair will take place at the Athenaeum, 6 Elm St., from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Lindquist will host the event with Westfield on Weekends President Bob Plasse.

It will highlight the Civil War period during which the Athenaeum was founded and will include live music and dancing from the Civil War period as well as a Civil War encampment, sponsored by Noble Hospital, featuring the Massachusetts 10th Volunteer Infantry, Company C.

The fair will kick off a yearlong calendar of festivities in honor of the anniversary. For more information, visit