Sawyer Free Library Celebrates Summer with a Slate of Cool Offerings for All Ages  

Library kicks off summer reading fun with a family friendly concert on June 28 at 11AM

The Sawyer Free Library (SFL) will officially be the hottest place to be this summer! 

The Sawyer Free Library is excited to announce the launch of its annual “Summer at the Library,” offering free programs for all ages to entertain, spark, and encourage a lifelong love of reading and learning. From innovative reading challenges to ukulele lessons and shark week adventures to book discussions, author talks, and much more, there’s something for everyone.  The summer fun kicks off on Tuesday, June 28 at 11:00 am with a family-friendly concert featuring Elijah T. Grasshopper’s Rainbow Dance Party in the Library’s outside amphitheater.

Family Concert at Library on Tuesday, June 28 at 11AM

The theme for this year’s annual summer reading challenge, “Read Beyond the Beaten Path,” encourages readers of all ages to explore new worlds and experiences in books that expand their imaginations. The Library’s innovative incentives and activities encourage kids and teens to stay active and read for fun and help them avoid the black hole that is the summer slide, when critical skills learned during the school year are lost over the summer. 

“Learning for kids and teens goes on all year round at Sawyer Free Library, and we know how important free ways to keep learning through the summer are for families,” said Library Director Jenny Benedict. “Summer is the perfect time for all ages to read, create, engage and have fun discovering new interests and exploring new topics. We hope all children and families make the Sawyer Free Library a regular stop this summer.”

To get started, young people and their families can pick up their “Welcome to Summer Reading Packets” Summer Reading and Activity Log at the Library, which has program information, the event calendar, activities, and fun summer treats. Children can stay on top of their summer reading with their “Read Beyond the Beaten Path” time-tracking reading logs. Then from June 28 to August 6, after reading for 500 minutes (or are read to), they win prizes, including tickets to the Topsfield Fair. People can register in person or online for the program.  

Highlights of Summer at the Library programming for children include (with all details sawyerfreelibrary.org):

  • Learn to play campfire songs on the Ukulele with Julie Stepanek on July 5 and enjoy musical story time with Ruthanne Paulson on Friday, July 22, and August 19. 
  • Move your body with Creative Movement in the Library’s Amphitheater on July 7 and be wowed by Jungle Jim’s Camp balloon magic on Wednesday, August 3. 
  • Children can get an up-close look at exotic and native animals on zoom presented by Wildlife Encounters Ecology Center on Tuesday, July 12, and then learn about the snakes of the world with Rick Roth on Saturday, July 23.
  • Kids can get their hands dirty on select Thursday mornings with Backyard Growers while learning about gardening and planting in the Children’s Library garden. 

And all are invited to a midsummer celebratory outside concert featuring the two bands, “Ants on a Log” and “Bee Parks and the Hornets,” in collaboration with Rockport and Manchester-by-the-Sea Public Libraries, on Saturday, July 30.  

SFL has big plans for middle school kids and teens this summer too. Students entering grades 6-12 are encouraged to track their Summer Reading on the custom form available on the Library’s website to qualify for weekly prize drawings and the grand prize drawing of two whale watch tickets, courtesy of Cape Ann Whale Watch. There is also a full summer schedule of weekly programs, including Stem-tastic Thursdays, Science Saturdays, Tween Nights, Gaming Club, Summer Reading Help, and much more. 

Due to last year’s success, SFL is once again giving adults the chance to get in on the summer fun with Adult Book Bingo 2022. From now until September 1, 2022, those 18 and older can keep track of the books they read on the Library’s downloadable custom bingo card by writing the title and author in the matching square. Each completed horizontal, vertical, or diagonal line enters you into a raffle to win $25, $50, or $75 Cape Ann Gift Certificates. In addition to the programs the Library always offers adults—technology training, job search help, author talks, etc.—there will also be summer-themed special programs available.

Thanks to the generous support of the Massachusetts Library System, the Boston Bruins, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, and the Gloucester Cultural Council, a local agency supported by the Mass Cultural Council, program participation is free. Registration is now open for all children, teens, and adult programs.

Sawyer Free Library’s summer operating hours beginning on June 18, will be Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday 8am to 6pm, Thursday 10am to 7pm, Friday 10am to 5:00pm and Saturday 10:00am to 1pm and 24/7 at sawyerfreelibrary.org.

For more information about the “Summer at the Sawyer Free Library” and to register for programs, visit: sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5500.

Celebrate Black Music: A Soul Conversation at the Sawyer Free Library with Schuyler Traughber

On Thursday, June 16 from 5:30 – 7:00pm, the Sawyer Free Library is hosting a presentation by local author and long-time music industry insider Schuyler Traughber on Soul Music’s history in pop culture focusing on a “Study of the Soul Music Environment” by Harvard Business School for CBS/Columbia Records in 1972. “The Harvard Report” has contributed to a powerful era, musically, while controversially contributing to the demise of Stax Records in the mid-1970s and Motown being sold to Boston Ventures/MCA Records in the 1980s, enriching corporate America’s distribution-control of Black Music.

 Schuyler Traughber has worked as a road musician, arranger, producer and label executive for We Produce/Stax Records, CBS Records, Motown Records as well as U.S. Business Rep for King Records/MCA, Tokyo. After fifteen years as a Music Business/Management faculty member at Berklee College of Music, in Boston, Sky currently resides in Gloucester and is co-author of an upcoming book: “POWER 101, The Harvard Report, Soul Music, & The American Dream.”

The event will take place on the Main Floor of the Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. It is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5555. 

Sawyer Free Library to host Nick Sullivan, author of  “The Blue Revolution” on Wednesday, June 15 at 6 pm

The Sawyer Free Library will be presenting an engaging and informative evening with Nick Sullivan -the author of The Blue Revolution on Wednesday, June 15, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m.

The New Bedford author will discuss his research and ideas on the “Blue Revolution, the rapid development of aquaculture in recent years. He will offer a new way of thinking about fish, food, and oceans by profiling the people and policies, transforming a challenged seafood industry into one that is fueled by fishermen, locavores, and local seafood supply chains interested in sustainable, traceable, quality seafood. He will share how the practices of 30 years ago that perpetuated an overfishing crisis are rapidly changing and the global challenges to preserving healthy oceans.

Sullivan is a writer and editor who examines the impact of business and technology on international development. He is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Maritime Studies Program and a Senior Fellow at the Council on Emerging Market Enterprises, both in the Fletcher School at Tufts University. The Blue Revolution is his fourth book.

The event will take place on the Main Floor of the Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. It is free and open to the public. For more information, please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5555.  

Gloucester Marine Railways with Viking Gustafson

On Thursday, June 9 from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m., learn more about Gloucester Marine Railways at the Sawyer Free Library.

Marine Railways Director Viking Gustafson will give a presentation on the marine railways in Gloucester in the Library’s Friends Room this Thursday evening.  She will then offer a tour of the railways on site in Rockport on Saturday, June 11, at 10:00 a.m.  

Both the presentation and the tour are free and open to the public. The Sawyer Free Library is located at 2 Dale Avenue. For more information visit, SawyerFreeLibrary.com or 978-325-5500.

Book Launch Celebration for ‘Sea Gull and the Sea Captain’ at the Sawyer Free Library and Cape Ann Museum

From New York Times, bestselling author and National Book Award Nominee Sy Montgomery comes the sweet, brightly illustrated true story of a seagull and a sea captain who became friends over the course of four summers. 

To celebrate the release of THE SEAGULL AND THE SEA CAPTAIN, the Sawyer Free Library, Cape Ann Museum, and The Book Store of Gloucester are hosting a celebration on Saturday, June 4, from 1:00 – 3:00 pm. The afternoon will feature the book’s author Sy Montgomery, illustrator Amy Schimler-Safford, and special guest Gloucester’s own, Schooner Lannon Captain Heath Ellis, who was the true-life inspiration for the story! 


Heath, the president of Schooner Sails, made headlines in 2019 when he made friends with a seagull who would visit him on his sailboat! Author Sy Montgomery heard this news and was inspired to write a picture book which became THE SEAGULL AND THE SEA CAPTAIN.


This Saturday, June 4, at 1:00 pm, Author Sy Montgomery will do a reading and a book signing at the Sawyer Free Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue. Copies of the book will be available for sale. After the reading, participants are invited to the Cape Ann Museum at 2:00 pm for a ‘The Seagull and the Sea Captain’ -themed kids art activity. It promises to be a fun-filled afternoon for everyone! 

For more information, visit SawyerFreeLibrary.org or call 978-325-5500. 

Book Launch on Saturday, June 4 at Sawyer Free Library

“Ask A Muslim Anything” with Robert Azzi at Sawyer Free Library

On Thursday, June 2 at 6:00pm, join Robert Azzi at the Sawyer Free Library, for a conversation about being a practicing Muslim in small-town New England. The Exeter-based photojournalist, who is an Arab-American Muslim, has put together the program called “Ask a Muslim Anything” that he hopes will help reduce misunderstandings between people of different faiths.  As a part of it, he visits area communities to provide space for open questions about his faith, offering one man’s perspective and experience. Is there a question you’ve always wondered about Islam but never had the opportunity to ask? This is your chance.

Ask a Muslim Anything: Thursday, June 2 from 6:00 – 8:00pm at the Sawyer Free Library located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. The event is free and open to all to attend. For more information, visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5500.

Winslow Homer: American Passage – an evening with curator and author William R. Cross at the Sawyer Free Library

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is pleased to welcome curator and local author William R. Cross for a discussion of his book Winslow Homer: American Passages on Thursday, May 26 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.  

Cross’ newly published book Winslow Homer: American Passage is a definitive biography of the painter. It studies Homer in the context of how his life as an artist was shaped by the turbulent, dramatic political times he lived through, from the Panic of 1837 to the Civil War and Reconstruction. Filmmaker Ken Burns (The Civil War) comments that curator/author William Cross “has done an admirable job bringing to life this most American of painters. Finally, Winslow Homer’s brilliant work and fascinating life are united in one volume.” 

During this special presentation, Cross will discuss Homer and his art, illustrated with slides of images and photos collected from his research.  

William R. Cross is an independent scholar and a consultant to art and history museums. He served as the curator of Homer at the Beach: A Marine Painter’s Journey, 1869–1880, a nationally renowned 2019 exhibition at the Cape Ann Museum on the formation of Winslow Homer as a marine painter. Bill is a graduate of Yale College, magna cum laude, and received an MBA at Harvard Business School.  He and his wife live on Cape Ann. 

Winslow Homer: American Passage will be available for sale at The Bookstore of Gloucester, located at 61 East Main Street in Gloucester, for those interested in having it autographed at the event. 

This event is free and open to the public at the Sawyer Free Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. Registration is not required. For more information, visit sawyerfreelibrary.org

Gloucester Genealogy Group – first meeting at Sawyer Free Library this Saturday

The Gloucester Genealogy Group will have its first meeting on Saturday, May 21 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Sawyer Free Library.

Local History Librarian, Julie Travers, will walk you through the very first steps for beginning your genealogy search using online resources available through the library. After a tutorial, you will be able to practice creating a family tree chart of your own. Beginners and experts are welcome to attend, as there will be time for sharing your own research after the tutorial. Participants are encouraged to bring their own laptop, however, the library will have several available for use during the workshop.   

The Gloucester Genealogy Club’s monthly meetings will consist of tutorials, how-to’s, and special presentations and events by expert genealogists. Keep an eye out for future meetings. 

This first meeting will take place in the Friends Room of the Sawyer Free Library located at 2 Dale Avenue. For more information visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-978325-5553.