Reading Together! Book Clubs at Sawyer Free Library

For those of us to like to socialize, the act of reading can feel a bit solitary. Fortunately, the Sawyer Free Library offers a range of book clubs to help make reading more of a social activity where you can connect with like-minded book lovers!

To join the fun, all you need is a library card! Book clubs’ featured books are available at the Sawyer Free Library’s Main Desk or, for most, download the eBook from OverDrive, Libby, or Hoopla.

Current groups include:

GLOBAL FORUM BOOK GROUP, Thursday, October 21, 6:30 pm at the Library Mezzanine

Join a lively discussion on international relations & history each month, moderated by Librarian Beth Pocock. October’s book is “Facing the Mountain” by author Daniel James Brown which tells the unforgettable story of the Japanese-American men who volunteered for the US Army’s 442nd Regimental Combat Team and displayed incredible courage on the brutal battlefields of Europe. Yet back home, their parents were being put in camps and stripped of their livelihoods, and fighting an equally brave battle in the courtroom. Peter King, director of the University of Mass Boston’s Asian American Studies Program, will join the group to discuss the book and the history of Asian-American prejudice on the Eastern seaboard.

Visit the Library or call to check out the book. Registration required, space limited.

BOOKS N’ BREWS, Tuesday, October 19, 6:00-8:00 pm
Here is your chance to get together, have an adult beverage, enjoy a meal and have a rousing discussion about the month’s great read. Books n Brews meets the third Tuesday evening each month, moderated by Librarian Mari Martin.

October’s Book is “The Cold Millions” by Jess Walter. The group will be meeting in person, place TBA. If the weather is inclement, the meeting will be over Zoom. Registration is requested. Email questions to mmartin@sawyerfreelibrary.org.

COOK-A-BOOK, Tuesday, November 9, 1:00 pm
Do you love to cook? Do you love to talk about food? Do you love to share food? If your answer is YES, then the Sawyer Free Library’s Cook-a-Book Book Club is for you! The group meets on the second Tuesday of the month at 1 pm in person in the SFL Amphitheatre or via Zoom if inclement weather.

Check out a cookbook from the Library or use a recipe from home and then get cooking. Bring your creation to the meeting for everyone to enjoy. The group will discuss the different recipes, what worked or didn’t in the preparation, cooking, and delicious things. Register online. Please email questions to mmartin@sawyerfreelibrary.org

Sawyer Free Library also has BOOK CLUBS TO GO!
The Library provides the books and the discussion questions so you can start your own book group. All you need to provide is a group of friends! Each kit contains 10 print copies, a large print copy or audiobook if available, and a reader’s guide of discussion questions. One member of your group will reserve and pick up the kit through our online booking system and distribute the books to everyone in the group. When your meeting is over, just collect all the books and return the kit to the Library. When you check out a kit, be sure to find a 25% discount coupon to use at The Cave so you can bring wine, cheese, and chocolate to your meeting. Go to sawyerfreelibrary.org to see and reserve the full list of titles available.

Local Author and Activist Kate Ranta to Speak At Sawyer Free Library putting a spotlight on Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Local Author to share her story of turning abuse and tragedy into transformation and triumph 

The Sawyer Free Library will present “Killing Kate: A Story of Turning Abuse and Tragedy into Transformation and Triumph,” Thursday, October 14, from 6:00 – 7:30 pm.

Manchester-by-the-Sea author KATE RANTA emerged from a severely abusive relationship to become a national leader in raising awareness about domestic violence. She will read passages and autograph copies of her book, “Killing Kate,” and engage in questions and answers about her first-hand experience of domestic and gun violence and her journey to empowerment in the aftermath. 

This important event hosted by the Sawyer Free Library is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Copies of the book “Killing Kate” will be available. Face masks are mandatory for those attending. The Sawyer Free Library is located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. 

For more information about the event or other Sawyer Free Library offerings, visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.  

If you or someone you know may be at risk, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or text “START” to 88788.

CHESS IN THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY AMPHITHEATER THIS SATURDAY, 10/9

Make the right move and join the fun with CHESS IN THE AMPHITHEATER, this Saturday, October 9 from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm outside in the Sawyer Free Library Amphitheater located at 2 Dale Avenue.

This fun and educational program will run through the month of October. It is open to players of all levels, ages and abilities. Weather permitting, those interested are welcome to gather in the Library’s Amphitheater anytime between 11 am and 1 pm to learn and play chess with the last games beginning at 12:45 pm. No reservations or advanced signup is needed.

The weekly Saturday sessions provide a unique opportunity for people to learn how to play chess in a welcoming environment that emphasizes learning something new and having fun, including the fundamentals and tips for playing a better game. For more experienced chess players looking to play a match, there will be several boards and pieces with time clocks. All chess players will be paired with a partner who will challenge and engage them at their skill level. 

For more information about Chess in the Amphitheater and other programs at the Sawyer Free Library,  visit: www.sawyerfreelibrary.org or like SFL on social media:  Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sawyerfreelibrary/and Instagram at instagram.com/sawyerfreelibrary/   

Dan Connell, Author Talk and Book Signing at the Sawyer Free Library on 9/23 at 6pm

The Sawyer Free Library is pleased to welcome local author, Dan Connell for an author talk and book signing on Thursday, September 23 from 6-7pm at the Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester.

The author will be discussing his book, Against All Odds, which has just been re-released with a new update and a reappraisal. First published in 1993, Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution  is a firsthand account of Eritrea’s 30-year fight for independence from Ethiopia.  Copies of the new edition of his book will be available.

The East Gloucester resident, Dan Connell, a former journalist and aid professional, has reported on Eritrea for five decades for numerous print and broadcast media. He is a two-time MacArthur Foundation grantee, the author of five books on Eritrea, including Against All Odds: A Chronicle of the Eritrean Revolution (1997); Rethinking Revolution (2002); and a two-volume Collected Articles on the Eritrean Revolution (2003, 2004). His reports and commentary have been carried by the BBC, Voice of America, AP, Reuters, The Boston Globe, The Guardian, Le Monde, Foreign Affairs, The Nation and others, and he has consulted for numerous aid agencies and human rights organizations. He is currently a lecturer in journalism and African politics at Simmons College, Boston.

This program is co-hosted by the Global Book Forum and the Gloucester Lyceum.

Click here to Register

Author Dan Connell

Against All Odds is a firsthand account of Eritrea’s 30\-year struggle for independence from Ethiopia, which it won in 1991 with little outside support after defeating successive U.S.\- and Soviet\-backed regimes and overcoming drought and famine while working to unify and reform the society from which it derived its strength. A 1997 Afterword captures the optimism generated by these achievements. But a New Reappraisal recounts its slide into despotism after renewed conflict with Ethiopia and the dark years of isolation and repression that followed, the hopes raised by a 2018 peace pact and then dashed by another round of war. It concludes with reflections on how to break this cycle and begin the democratic transition for which so many fought and died.

Friends of the Sawyer Free Library Annual Art Auction

Have you checked out the Friends of Sawyer Annual Art Auction yet?

If not, come by soon to the Library’s Matz Gallery to preview and bid on the incredible art before the online auction begins on Friday, October 1 and runs through Tuesday, October 5 on www.sawyerfreelibrary.org.

The benefit auction features over 50 exceptional quality works, including paintings, drawings, and mixed media, all generously donated by established and emerging artists throughout the Cape Ann community including Coco Berman, Ray Crane, David Curtis, Carol Loiacono, Peter Tysver, Jeff Weaver, and so many others.

The bidding book available through September 30 in the Matz Gallery. The highest September bids will be the beginning bid for the online auction October 1-5.

All proceeds from this annual event benefit the Sawyer Free Library. The funds support a variety of special programs offered throughout the year for children, teens, and adults along with museum passes made available to the community, and many other Library requests.  

The Friends of the Sawyer Free Library are very grateful for the talented and generous artists who offer their art, time, and talent year after year to make this library fundraiser a success.

So don’t miss it! Come and join the fun! Enjoy the art, bid for those pieces you love and support the support the Sawyer Free Library! It is a Win Win for everyone!

To learn more about the Annual Art Auction, the Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, and how to become involved, please visit: www.sawyerfreelibrary.org.

“Chess in the Amphitheater” at the Sawyer Free Library

Chess is more popular now than ever! Are you looking to learn the basics of the game, for a partner to play, a challenge, a new move? Then you’re in luck! Kicking off this Saturday, September 18, the SAWYER FREE LIBRARY is hosting CHESS IN THE AMPHITHEATER, a new weekly program from 11:00 am to 1:00 pm each Saturday through October.  All ages and abilities are welcome!

Sawyer Free Library’ Weekly “Chess in the Amphitheater” begins 9/18

The weekly Saturday sessions will offer an opportunity for people to learn how to play chess including the fundamentals and tips for playing a better game. For more experienced chess players looking to play a match, there will be several boards and pieces with time clocks. All chess players will be paired with a partner who will challenge and engage them at their skill level. 

Chess in the Amphitheater will be led by Gloucester’s own Kim Genereux, an avid chess player herself and a passionate supporter of both amateur and professional level chess. 

This new program is open to players of all levels, ages and abilities. Weather permitting, those interested are welcome to gather in the Library’s Amphitheater anytime between 11 am and 1 pm to learn and play chess with the last games beginning at 12:45 pm. No reservations or advanced signup is needed.

For more information visit: sawyerfreelibrary.org

Friends of the Sawyer Free Library ANNUAL ART AUCTION- The Bidding Has Begun!

THE ANNUAL ART AUCTION sponsored by the FRIENDS OF THE SAWYER FREE LIBRARY is now on display in the Matz Gallery located in the main lobby of the Sawyer Free Library throughout the month of September!

Come In, Enjoy and Bid on the exceptional works of art, including paintings, drawings, and mixed media, all generously donated by talented artists throughout the Cape Ann community including: Jeff Weaver, Ray Crane, Peter Tysver, Carol Loiacono, David Curtis and Coco Berman.

The Bidding Book is available through September 30 in the Gallery for silent bids. The top bid from the September bidding will be the beginning bid for the Online Auction being held October 1-5.  

Please note, this year’s live auction has been moved online due to health precautions. Details are forthcoming.

Selections of art work being auctioned to benefit the Sawyer Free Library.

All proceeds from the Art Auction benefit the Sawyer Free Library. So be sure to bring your family, friends, neighbors and more along with you to the Matz Gallery this month, to preview the beautiful art, and bid on your favorites!

For more information about the Art Auction and the Friends of the Sawyer Free Library go to sawyerfreelibrary.org

SmartChoice™ at The Open Door Modernizes Pantry Shopping

New Online Ordering System Returns Agency to Shoppers

GLOUCESTER — A new online ordering system at The Open Door has expanded choice more than ever before for client shoppers.

SmartChoice™ at The Open Door launched this June and allows clients to place a weekly grocery order that matches any special dietary needs they may have as well as their taste. Clients select from featured items, fruit and juices, vegetables, protein and dairy, ready-to-eat items, grains and cereal, baking, snacks, condiments, special dietary items, pet supplies, household supplies, health and hygiene products, baby food and supplies, and miscellaneous items.

Once clients sign into SmartChoice™ at The Open Door at FOODPANTRY.org/order, they can use the above menu to create their weekly grocery order. (Image Courtesy of
The Open Door)

“When people choose their own groceries, we know they’re getting the food they’ll eat and enjoy to thrive,” President and CEO Julie LaFontaine said. “We’re proud to have this new resource for our clients.”

Before the online ordering system became available, The Open Door provided bags of pre-selected groceries for clients starting in March 2020 in response to the pandemic. This was done through a Curbside, No-Contact model used at both the Gloucester and Ipswich food pantries, and protected the health and well-being of clients, volunteers, and staff alike while also expanding the nonprofit’s capacity to meet increased need. While the curbside model was necessary to feed more people, it left shoppers with less personal choice.

At the height of the pandemic, The Open Door met a 40% increase in need for food resources, and continues to meet ongoing need.

Today, clients are still picking-up their groceries at either site or receiving deliveries if they qualify for The Open Door grocery and meal delivery program. However, SmartChoice™ at The Open Door brings more choice to the table than ever before. It accounts for every item available in The Open Door’s inventory, working seamlessly in partnership with the warehouse. Grocery orders are managed by the Fulfillment Center, where staff and volunteers package grocery orders Monday through Friday.

Volunteer Laurie Fenton prepares a grocery order placed via SmartChoice™ at
The Open Door. (Image Courtesy of The Open Door)

Translation services are available over the phone in many languages. Those without internet access, with questions, or who prefer to place their order by phone are welcome to do so by calling 978-283-6776.   

About The Open Door


The mission of The Open Door is to alleviate the impact of hunger in our community. We use practical strategies to connect people to good food, to advocate on behalf of those in need, and to engage others in the work of building food security.

Founded in 1978, The Open Door is a 501 (c)(3) tax exempt nonprofit and community food resource center for low-income residents of Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Boxford, Rowley, Topsfield, and Wenham. In 2020, The Open Door helped stabilize the lives and health of 9,681 unduplicated people from 4,703 households through the distribution of 2.46 million pounds of food, amounting to 2.05 million meals. Requests for food assistance during this pandemic year were up 27 percent.

Programs of The Open Door include two food pantries (located in Gloucester and in Ipswich), 12 Mobile Markets, Community Meals, SNAP Application assistance and Advocacy, Medically Tailored Groceries, Nutrition Education, Therapy and Counseling, Food Rescue, Summer Meals for Kids, On Your Mark Job Training and Internships, Holiday Baskets, Senior Soup & Salad, (NEW) SmartChoice™ at The Open Door and (NEW) Grocery and Meal Delivery. Second Glance, the thrift store of The Open Door, provides revenue for the organization, referrals for people in need, and recycles textiles and other materials.

For more information, visit FOODPANTRY.org.  

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Sawyer Free Library honors legacy of Gloucester’s Local Civic Leader Janis Davidson Stelluto

On Tuesday morning, August 10 the Sawyer Free Library hosted a ribbon-cutting to commemorate their amphitheater’s new awning in memory of one of Gloucester’s preeminent and beloved public citizens, the late Janis Davidson Stelluto.

Dr. Michael Stelluto, Janis’ husband, her family, friends and colleagues, along with the Sawyer Free Library leadership, came together to mark the official opening of the Library’s now shaded expanded outdoor space. Gloucester’s Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thenken , former chair of the City Planning Board Jack Clarke, President of Library Board of Trustees Mern Sibley and Library Director Jenny Benedict offered remarks prior to the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Through the Stelluto family’s generosity, the Library was able to bring to fruition the installation of a state-of-the-art awning over its amphitheater as a lasting tribute to their family matriarch Janis Davidson Stelluto, who dedicated herself to serving the Gloucester community for over two decades. Among many other organizations, Janis Stelluto served in leadership roles at the Sawyer Free Library for more than twenty years.

Sawyer Free Library Amphitheater Awning Dedication and Ribbon Cutting with Stelluto Family
Stelluto Family joined by Jack Clarke, Mayor Sefatia Romeo Thenken, Library Director Jenny Benedict

Shaded by the new awning, the Sawyer Free Library’s outdoor amphitheater located on Dale Avenue now serves as an inviting venue for Library programs, public performances, including theater and musical performances, art exhibits, lectures, and community activities. 

“We are very grateful for the Stelluto family’s generosity,” said Mern Sibley, the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library’s Board of Trustees’ President.  “Janis made it her life’s work to find ways to improve our Gloucester community, all the while seeing beauty in the world. It only seems fitting that the awning has been installed in her memory, creating a welcoming space where people can take advantage of all that the Library offers while enjoying being outside.”

“The awning has created a welcoming outdoor gathering space for Sawyer Free Library’s summer programs which are open and free to the community,” said Library Director Jenny Benedict.  “From children’s storytimes and adult book club gatherings to family concerts, we have found with the new awning, the sky’s the limit to what we can do!  Stay tuned because we have big plans, and we can’t imagine Janis Stelluto would want it any other way.” 

The Sawyer Free Library is open throughout the summer, Monday through Friday, 10 am to 5 pm, Thursday 12 – 7:00 pm, and Saturday 10:00 am to 1 pm and 24/7 at sawyerfreelibrary.org.

GAAC is Back Live in Lanesville!

The Gloucester Area Astronomy Club is once again meeting in-person at the Lanesville Community Center, on the second Friday of every month at 8:00 pm. We have a terrific program for our Friday August 13 meeting, with astronomer Dr. Seth Gossage from the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, with a great presentation on starlight and what it can tell us.

In addition to discussing what light can tell us about a star’s properties such as mass and chemistry, Dr. Gossage will review next generation stellar models built to explore the effects of stellar rotation. Stars spin, and this is also a fundamental stellar property (alongside mass and chemical composition), which helps determine the evolutionary course of a star, and its light output for the entirety of its lifetime.

GAAC members meet at the Lanesville Community Center in the Lanesville neighborhood of Gloucester MA, at 8:00 pm on the second Friday of every month, for presentations, discussions and activities related to all facets of astronomy. There is no cost. These are fun meetings, with lots of friendly people, refreshments, and great, accessible talks by knowledgeable and entertaining folks. Come see us! No special knowledge or equipment is needed to have a great time. Meetings are also streamed live on our Facebook page. For more information on the club, see our website.