Friends of the Sawyer Free Library Honor Beloved Longtime Librarian Heather Falk

Children’s Librarian Christy Rosso showing the new computer to Gerri Kippen Heather’s Aunt

The Sawyer Free Library (SFL) has unveiled a new state of the art early literacy computer in the Children’s Room purchased by The Friends of the SFL in memory of beloved longtime children’s librarian assistant, Heather Falk, who passed away earlier this year. 

For almost three decades, Ms. Falk brought her irresistible enthusiasm and joy to the Gloucester community’s children and families through her work at the Sawyer Free Library. Heather joined the staff of the Library shortly after graduating from Gloucester High School. 

The Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, a community of dedicated library users whose fundraising activities support library programming and services, in gratitude and honor of Ms. Falk purchased an AWE early literacy computer for the Children’s Room in her name.

“Heather was a warm, kind, and encouraging person who deeply enjoyed making the lives of people that much larger through her work at the Library, stated Rebecca Aliberte, the President of the Friends of the SFL. “This advanced learning station will help to continue Heather’s legacy by promoting early childhood literacy and prepare Gloucester’s youngest students for success in school and beyond.”

“We are very proud, grateful, and excited to have received the new Awe Learning computer from the Friends of the Library. It is designed for children ages 2-8 and has more than 70 educational software games and activities they will really enjoy. Children can play bilingual games, too,” said Christy Rosso, SFL’s Children’s Librarian. “Heather would be very honored by this gift of the Friends in her name. She was kind and friendly to everyone, touching all of us with her gentle spirit.”

Heather Falk at work in the Sawyer Free Library’s Children’s Room

With the Sawyer Free Library now open for select onsite services, children and their families are welcome to use and enjoy the new Awe Station when visiting the Children’s Room. The Library is open to the public six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm, except for Thursday when it is open from 12 to 7 pm. Visitors are requested to keep their visits to 30 minutes or less.  All visitors must wear masks, practice physical distancing, and all public spaces have limited capacities.  

For detailed information about the Sawyer Free Library’s services, programs, procedures and policies, and COVID-19 updates, please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.

To learn more about the Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, please visit https://sawyerfreelibrary.org/about/about-us/friends-of-the-sawyer-free-library/

Sawyer Free Library Kicks-Off Annual Appeal

The Sawyer Free Library‘s 2020 Annual Appeal campaign, “Here for You Every Day,” is now underway. Letters with appeal information are in the mail to over 1,500 Gloucester households. The goal is to raise $35,000 during this year-end campaign, which provides the Library much-needed annual support.  

“This year has truly underscored the importance of our Sawyer Free Library. Over the last six months, we have seen a 30% increase in applications for new library cards with people learning and socializing  with each other safely through the Library,” said Jenny Benedict, the Library Director. 

The Sawyer Free Library relies on yearly donations from the community to provide a wide range of new collections and resources, state of the art technology, and innovative programming for all ages. This year especially, public support is critical to the Library. Throughout the pandemic, the Sawyer Free Library continued to play an essential role for the community by quickly pivoting to deliver uninterrupted library services through curbside pick-up and home delivery. The Library also deployed virtual alternatives to programming, boosted online collections for children and adults and provided increased access to them with hotspot and laptop lending devices. to. Just recently the Library reopened its doors to the public for select in-person services six days a week, including a study hall for local students and express public computer stations.  

”We hope that the community will consider our annual appeal and join us in supporting the Sawyer Free Library, ensuring that the Library will continue to be here for us today and for generations to come,” added Mern Sibley, President of the Library’s Board of Trustees. 

Donations to the Library may be made by check to the Sawyer Free Library, Annual Appeal, P.O. Box 415, Gloucester, MA 01930, or online at www.sawyerfreelibrary.org.

Join Sawyer Free Library’s Cook-A-Book Club on Friday at 1pm!

Get your Cooking On! Join the Sawyer Free Library’s Cook-a-Book Book Club tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 6th at 1pm at the top of Summit Ave. (weather permitting) for a fun afternoon of shared recipes and foodie talk! Register on our Calendar at sawyerfreelibrary.org. If it’s inclement weather, we will meet via Zoom, so it’s essential that you Register! 🙂 This month we will be making something from our Thanksgiving table. Join us! (Social distancing and masks required!) #sawyerfreelibrary#sfl#cookabook#foodheals

A Cape Ann Conversation with Bill McKibben on Climate Change on Tuesday at 7pm on Facebook Live

An important conversation not be missed

Presented by the Sawyer Free Library, Bridge Cape Ann and The Boston Globe in partnership with Backyard Growers, Gloucester Education Fund, Manship Artist Residency + Studios, Maritime Gloucester, Ocean Alliance and TownGreen 2025

https://www.facebook.com/events/303825287628799/

For more information visit www. sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5500

A Cape Ann Conversation on Climate Change with Bill McKibben on September 22

On Tuesday, September 22, 2020 from 7-8pm David Abel, Pulitzer-prize winning Boston Globe reporter, will interview Bill McKibben, environmental advocate, author and founder of 350.org, about lessons learned and future solutions concerning the climate crisis in our local community and beyond.

The event is free and open to all. It is taking place remotely and will be available to the public online with Facebook Live.  https://www.facebook.com/events/303825287628799/

A Conveesation with Bill McKibben is being presented by the Sawyer Free Library as a part The Civic Hub in partnership with Backyard Growers, Gloucester Education Fund, Manship Artist Residency + Studios, Maritime Gloucester, Ocean Alliance, and TownGreen 2025.

For more information about the event visit: sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5500.

Calling All Teens !! There is still time to be a part of SFL’s TEEN SUMMER READING PROGRAM

The summer may be winding down BUT it is not too late for local teens and tweens to participate in the Sawyer Free Librarys TEEN SUMMER READING PROGRAM!

Just read ANY type of book, magazine, graphic novel, or audiobook – they all count! Then just complete and submit a form on the Library website https://sawyerfreelibrary.org/teen-services/  to be entered into a weekly prize drawing. 5 local gift cards are drawn weekly on Fridays. At the August 30, 2020 conclusion, all entries will be eligible to win the grand prize a Hydroflask! There will be 3 Grand Prize winners!

The more you read and participate, the better your odd not to mention the more fun you will have!

Fun things happening this July for kids of all ages at the Sawyer Free Library (virtually of course) 🎈🚀🎼🐍☀️ 📖

Don’t miss out on the fun this summer at the Sawyer Free Library!

Remember to register the kids for Jungle Jim Wild About Balloons Magic Show! 🎈✨ Starting July 6th, he will be entertaining us all week! The Library will send you the show link & you can watch it when you choose! He is super entertaining 🤹‍♂️ for any kind of weather!

The fun continues all month with these special events:

  • Imagination Blast Off 🚀and Virtual Storytelling with Rona Leventhal the week of July 12-19
  • Musical Storytime 🎼 ZOOM with Ruthanne Paulson on Fridays July 24 & August 14 at 10 am (registration required)
  • Snakes 🐍 of New England & the World with Rick Roth & Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team 🐍 Virtual Program on Saturday, July 25 at 10 am (registration required)

Thanks to the generous support of The Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, program participation is free and open to all!

For more information about the Sawyer Free Library’s “Imagine Your Story” Summer Programs, to register, or request books and materials for curbside pickup visit: sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5501.

Sawyer Free Library Announces New Library Director

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.