Sawyer Free Library Program “What She’s Reading” Shares Women Leaders of Gloucester’s Must Read Books for Women’s History Month

In celebration Women’s History Month, the Sawyer Free Library asked several of Gloucester’s cultural, civic, and community women leaders to share books that they love or have inspired them, written by fellow women. The results are a mix of close to 100 titles, including classics, new discoveries, and more. To see the full list of What She’s Reading at SawyerFreeLibrary.org. Recommended books are available at Sawyer Free Library or are easily ordered from libraries in their consortium.  

Illustration by Jane Mount


Mark your calendar, the Sawyer Free Library is hosting a virtual screening of the documentary “Left on Pearl” presented by The 888 Women’s History Project on Saturday, March 20 from 2-4pm. This special viewing will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmakers, Susan Rivo and Iftach Shavit. “Left on Pearl,” tells the inspiring story of the highly significant but little-known event of the 10-day occupation of the Harvard-owned 888 Memorial Drive by grassroots feminist organizers during a 1971 International Women’s Day protest. With contemporary interviews, archival photos, and TV news footage, this lively documentary follows the movement as women vocalized the necessity of equal pay and access to child care, birth control, and many of the hopes, triumphs, conflicts, and tensions of Second Wave feminism.  Registration through Library website for this event is required. 

For more information about these programs and other Women History Month activities at the Sawyer Free Library visit: SawyerFreeLibrary.org

A few days left to help the Sawyer Free Library reach its year-end goal!

Before we turn the page on 2020 (not a second too soon), please consider giving to the Sawyer Free Library Annual Fund!

Your support empowers individuals, strengthens families and makes our community a better place to live. 

Sawyer Free Library is more than a place to find books; it is a place to connect, learn and grow, both within the walls of our building and beyond to your home, office or on the go. The Library provides resources for job seekers, support for language learners, early literacy programs for young children and their families, assistance with new technology, and help to navigate the increasingly complex world of online information.

Support Gloucester’s Sawyer Free Library

If you haven’t yet please donate today and help ensure that the Library continues to evolve to meet the needs of our community in the new year and beyond. 

You can help the library grow by making a tax-deductible donation online today to the

2020 Sawyer Free Library Annual Appeal!

The Gloucester Lyceum presents WINTER TALES: Stories for all ages

HOW TO VIEW THE STORIES: Stories will be posted at 6pm on the date listed. To access the stories, visit our Facebook page or YouTube channel on or after that date. 
Click to view Winter Tales on Facebook
Click to view Winter Tales on YouTube

Please note: Sawyer Free Library’s Holiday Hours

  • December 23 10am – 5pm
  • December 24 – 27 Closed
  • December 28 10am – 5pm
  • December 29 10am – 5pm
  • December 30 10am – 5pm
  • December 31 10am – 5pm
  • January 1 Closed
  • January 2 10am – 5pm

For more information visit sawyerfreelibrary.org

Message from the Sawyer Free Library

What a year it has been, but through it all, YOU have been there for US!  THANK YOU!  

The SAWYER FREE LIBRARY is fortunate to have supporters that understand the Library’s value and the service it provides to the community!  

Please view this short video from the President of the Library’s Board of Trustees who shares the important role YOU play in helping to make our work at the Sawyer Free Library possible.

Your support of our Annual Appeal allows us to continue to provide the unprecedented services the community expects, no matter the circumstances. With your help, we promise to be here for all our patrons, to continue to adapt and evolve in service to our incredible and resilient community!

THANK YOU! 

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. 

Sawyer Free Library’s Fun Filled Summer Reading Program for Kids and Teens Kicks off Thursday, June 25

The Sawyer Free Library (SFL) is excited to kick off its 2020 Summer Reading Program. This year’s theme is Imagine Your Story,” and while it may feel slightly different from previous years due to COVID-19, the library is planning to make this year’s Summer Reading one to remember with an emphasis on fantasy, fairy tales, and folk tales.

This annual program aims to combat summer learning loss in children by encouraging patrons of all ages to read during the summer months and participate in library activities. Due to SFL’s current closure, this year’s children and teen program will take place solely online until it is safe to gather in person. The summer fun will officially begin on Thursday, June 25, at 10:00 am on Zoom with Wildlife Encounters, where everyone can meet virtually amazing live animals in this exciting show presented by the Wildlife Encounters Ecology Center and Farm School. Register online to receive the Zoom link.  

“We are so excited to start our Summer Reading Program,” Christy Rosso said SFL’s children’s librarian. “Although our format is different this year, our goal remains the same – – to connect our community with educational, fun, and literacy-based activities. Reading, doing projects, telling stories, and learning are great ways for families to spend time together this summer.”

The Children’s Library Staff have begun distributing to its younger patrons and their families “Welcome to Summer Reading Packets” filled with program information including the event calendar, activities, and fun summer treats. The packets will be available through SFL’s curbside pick up or home delivery services. People can register for the program online.

SFL will also be hosting many events and activities throughout the summer. This year, these activities will all take place online via videos on the Sawyer Free Library Children’s Services Facebook page and YouTube Channel or live via Zoom Meeting links.  Activities include “Summer Storytime with Christy” every Wednesday morning, author presentations, Family STEAM activities, Lego Challenge contests with fun prizes, Summer Crafts Take and Make, and more. The library will have materials available for many of the activities and be available before each event using the curbside pickup service.

Along with the Wildlife Encounters Virtual Program on Thursday, June 25 families of the library’s younger patrons should mark their calendar for the following special events:

  • Jungle Jim Wild About Balloons Magic Show the week of July 6-11 (registration required)
  • 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
  • Creative Movement for Kids with Sarah Slifer of MAGMA on ZOOM Saturday, August 8 at 11 am (registration required)

SFL also has big plans for its Teen Patrons this summer. Students entering grades 6-12 are encouraged to track their summer reading on a custom form available on the library’s website to qualify for weekly prize drawings. From mid-July to mid-August, the library will also be offering weekly virtual gaming programs and creating interactive craft and self-care projects.  

Thanks to the generous support of The Friends of the Sawyer Free Library, program participation is free, and registration is now open for the children’s and teen programs.

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.

Exciting News! Sawyer Free Library to Begin Curbside Pick up and Home Delivery Service on June 8th

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Public Library is pleased to announce its phased reopening plan will begin on Monday, June 8. The plan, approved by the Library director and board, lays out phases that move the library toward a return to a “new normal” for its operations.

Sawyer Free Library, which strives to provide a welcoming, enriching, and above all, safe environment for their patrons was closed in early March to the public as a precaution against COVID-19. Now, as conditions allow them to reopen, it is their goal to provide library services in the least restrictive manner possible while preserving library patrons and staff’s health and safety. 

“While we have and will continue to provide a lot of great services and programming online and through digital delivery, everyone at the Sawyer Free Library is anxious to get back to the business of serving our community in person,” said Assistant Library Director Beth Pocock. “However, the health and safety of our patrons and staff remain our top priority. Because of this, we are taking a phased approach to resume services, starting with contactless curbside pickup and home delivery, which I am happy to announce will begin on Monday, June 8.” 

SFL has put together the following steps for using the Curbside Pickup and Home Delivery services:  

  1. Patrons can reserve items online at http://www.sawyerfreelibrary.org or by calling the library at 978-325-5500. Beginning on June 8, you will receive a notification once the items become available. 
  2. Patrons will have seven days to pick up the item(s) during curbside hours 1:00-5:00 pm, Monday – Saturday.  Please call the library in the morning on the day you will be picking up your materials. Be sure to have your library card at this time. 
  3. Arrive at SFL’s parking lot between 1:00 and 5:00pm that afternoon. Remain in your vehicle, and SFL staff will approach your window from a safe distance to ask for your name. Open your trunk or a back door where they will deliver your next read to you in a secure paper bag. 

If you would rather have your reserved items delivered to your home, starting on June 8, you may call the library to arrange a contactless home delivery by library staff.  Both these services are only available for physical library cardholders, not digital library cardholders. Those that would like a physical card can now register for one online and the library will mail it to you.  Vist the libary website for more details about this service 

In addition to books, SFL is also making technology available as a part of its curbside pickup service. Patrons can schedule an appointment to borrow one of the library’s new full-sized Chromebooks or a Hotspot. These can only be checked out once per day and must be returned the same day. Patrons can schedule an appointment by calling the library, emailing info@sawyerfreelibrary.org, or using the Ask a Librarian instant messaging service on the library’s website. 

For those not sure what to read and during this time when browsing at SFL is not possible, the library staff is happy to recommend titles that fit your reading tastes. They have developed a Personalized Reading Recommendations form that patrons can fill out, submit online, or call into the library. From this, the staff will then recommend five titles to you within two business days. SFL Library staff is also available to identify print and electronic sources for those with specific information needs by using the Ask a Librarian service online or by calling the library.  

Those looking to return books, videos, or other library items they have at home can now do so as the library’s return bins are open. Customers can return items at the drive-up/walk-up drop boxes, which have 24-hour access without the worry of late fees as SFL is fine-free. It may take up to four days for returned items to disappear from library accounts, as materials will be in quarantine for this time before they are checked in by staff.

Before June 8, all SFL staff members returning to work to provide curbside and home delivery services, or to process returned materials and holds, will be trained on COVID-19 safety protocols and be issued PPE to support a safe environment.

Phase Two of the plan includes limited public access to the library, and Phase Three would restore full access. No dates have determined, and transitioning to these phases will depend on guidelines and restrictions from state and local officials. 

For detailed information about the Sawyer Free Library curbside and home delivery procedures and policies, and COVID-19 updates, please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.