The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library‘s Board of Trustees is pleased to announce the appointment of a new Library Director. Following an extensive national search, Janet (Jenny) Benedict, MLIS, MA, BJ, will succeed Deborah Kelsey, who is retiring. Ms. Benedict will officially join the Library on Monday, July 6.
Ms. Benedict comes to Sawyer Free Library with diverse work experiences over nearly 25 years, including most recently nine years as the Library Director and CEO of the West Vancouver Memorial Library in British Columbia, where she left a legacy of innovation and cultural excellence.
“I am honored to be joining the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library at this time in its history. This is an exceptional opportunity to lead an organization that is so vitally important to the community it serves. It’s a privilege to build on an established foundation of excellence and plan for the library’s vibrant future, “ said Ms. Benedict on her appointment. “I am eager to engage with the library Trustees, staff, patrons and volunteers, as well as city leaders and residents, to learn about the community and to make Gloucester my new home.”
“The Board of Trustees is delighted to welcome Ms. Benedict to the Sawyer Free Library as the new Director,” said Mern Sibley, the Library Board’s President. “Her experience, leadership, enthusiasm, and impressive record of success will bring new energy and vision to this important role. “We are confident that the staff and community will feed off her passion and embrace Jenny as she guides the Library into the future and helps us realize our plan of a 21st-century library for Gloucester.
“As mayor of Gloucester, I am looking forward to working with the new Library Director, Jenny Benedict. I met with Jenny briefly, and I am pleased with the Library Board’s selection of her for this position. I am happy to know that she has an understanding of our community and its heritage and culture, and I think that she will be a great addition to what is already a strong library,” stated Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken.
As Director at West Vancouver Memorial Library, Ms. Benedict transformed public services and oversaw multiple capital projects to extend the historic facility’s lifespan and address existing and new space needs. Achievements included the introduction of innovative programming, the expansion of local community partnerships, and the launch of The Lab, an innovative digital learning space designed for active participation and social interaction. During her tenure, she also successfully increased financials awards to the Library with over $6 million in capital funding to sustain the historic facility. In 2019, she was recognized for her outstanding leadership in library advocacy, innovation, and contribution to the library community and awarded the Association of British Columbia Public Library Directors Award of Excellence.
Benedict’s previous positions included Interim Director and Deputy Chief Librarian of the Hartford Public Library in Connecticut. She led and directed the development, implementation, promotion, and assessment of adult and youth public services, collections, and programs for Hartford’s Main Library, nine branches, and a bookmobile, attracting over 800,000 in-person visits a year. Additionally, Benedict served as a Librarian at the Bel Air Branch of the Harford County Public Library system in Maryland.
Benedict holds a Masters of Library and Information Science and a Graduate Academic Certificate in Advanced Management in Libraries and Information Agencies from University of North Texas. She earned a Master in English at the University of Houston and a B.J. in Journalism at the University of Texas at Austin.
An opportunity for members the community to meet Ms. Benedict will be announced. Watch the library website, sawyerfreelibrary.org, for details on the virtual event.