School Vacation Week at the Sawyer Free Library!

There is lots going on at the Sawyer Free Library during April Vacation for kids and families of all ages to enjoy! Swing by to check it all out!

Saturday, April 16, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Science Saturday with Marisa – Join Children’s Librarian Marisa for a morning of family fun of exploring facts and science topics through sensory play, stories, music and movement. Great for families and children of all ages.  No registration needed.

Tuesday, April 19, 4:30 to 5:30 p.m., Make It: Muppet Edition for Middle Schoolers  Great for kids in grades 4-8! Design and create your very own Muppet Puppet. Register Here!

Thursday, April 21, 10:30 to 11:30 a.m., Cape Ann Symphony Family Concert and Reading – Musical adaptation of Katy and the Big Snow by Virginia Lee Burton. Great for families and children of all ages. No registration needed. 

Thursday, April 21, 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Candy Bar Trivia Night for Middle Schoolers – Great for kids grades 4-8.  How fast can you hit your buzzer? How many candy bars can you win? Join us for a night of trivia at the Library. Register Here!

Saturday, April 23, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m., Introduction to Vernal Pools – Join Rick Roth and Cape Ann Vernal Pond Team for an introduction to vernal pools and all the amazing critters that call them home! Drop in and see what he brings and learn about vernal pools. Great for families and children of all ages. No registration needed. 

While you’re at it, don’t forget to mark your calendars for Glo Con 22on Saturday, April 30th from 10am – 3pm! The Sawyer Free Library’s first-ever Comic-Con is a free, all-ages event celebrating comics and graphic novels, as art, as literature, and as a part of pop culture! It will bring together fans, young and old, and creators for a jam-packed day of special guests, workshops, live programs, games, photo ops, food trucks, and much fun. Costumes are encouraged! Registration only for workshops required.

For more information on these or all the great things going on at the Library visit: SawyerFreeLibrary.com or call 978.325-5500!
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Vacation Week at the Sawyer Free Library


Sawyer Free Library to host presentation on the Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s with Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter – Saturday, April 9th

Next in the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Librarys educational series Of Sound Mind: A Series on Dementia will be Ten Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s with Alzheimer’s Association MA/NH Chapter on Saturday, April 9 from 2:00-3:00 p.m.

The program explores common warning signs of Alzheimer’s and other dementias that cause memory, thinking, and behavior problems that interfere with daily living. The Alzheimer’s Association® developed the new 10 Warning Signs of Alzheimer’s education program to help people recognize common signs of the disease and know what to watch for in themselves and others.  

The free one-hour program: 

  • Explores typical age-related changes.
  • Describes common signs of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
  • Offers tips on how to approach someone about memory concerns. 
  • Explains the importance of early detection and benefits of diagnosis.
  • Details possible tests and assessments for the diagnostic process.
  • Identifies helpful Alzheimer’s Association resources.

The presentation will take place at the Sawyer Free Library located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. The event is free and open to all to attend.   

Click HERE to register for the event, or for more information visit sawyerfreelibrary.org

Cape Ann Museum and the Sawyer Free Library present an Afternoon of Painting and Poetry this Saturday!

Join the Cape Ann Museum and the Sawyer Free Library this Saturday, April 2nd for an afternoon of painting and poetry.

At 1:00 pm, Patrick Doud will give a presentation at the Cape Ann Museum at its Downtown Campus, located at 27 Pleasant Street, in conjunction with Cape Ann Modern on the paintings of Thorpe Feidt.

Created over more than half a century to date, Thorpe Feidt’s vast, unified body of work is discussed by poet and novelist Patrick Doud. Drawing on multivalent influences including poetry, jazz, fiction and alchemical intuition/lore, Feidt’s praxis results in numinously powerful paintings in which oppositional forces birth new energies. 

Then at 2:30 pm, head to Sawyer Free Library, located at 2 Dale Avenue, for an afternoon of readings by local poets Nadine Boughton, the author of the recently self-published book “In the Lap of the Night,” Jay Featherstone, the author of “Glass,” and Jim Dunn to celebrate the start of National Poetry Month.

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

Poetry Without Paper Contest Celebrates 20 Years at Sawyer Free Library!

Annual Young Poets Competition open to all Gloucester Students now through April 30th

Over the past 20 years, the Sawyer Free Library contest, Poetry without Paper, has celebrated thousands of local students’ outstanding writing while encouraging the community’s youth to use poetry as a means of creative expression. The annual contest is an opportunity for local school children of all ages to showcase their writing and creativity in a supportive environment and win top prizes. 

With the competition running throughout March and culminating on the last day of National Poetry Month, April 30, children and teens who live in Gloucester or attend Gloucester schools are encouraged to submit 1-3 original poems on any theme to the Library. Participants can choose to set their poems to video, images, and or music. Each poem may be no longer than 30 lines, be the student’s own work, and previously unpublished and submitted through the Library’s website. 

To mark the celebration of 20 years, Sawyer Free Library has made the Poetry without Paper prizes even more exciting. Winners will be chosen from each age group: high school, middle school, and elementary school. First-place winners in all categories receive $150 Cape Ann gift certificates, second-place winners receive $100 gift certificates, and third-place winners receive a $50 gift certificate with Honorable Mention awarded a poetry book. All winning poets receive a certificate, present their poems at a Spring awards ceremony and receive an invitation to appear on 1623 Studio’s production, The Writer’s Block with John Ronan. All winning work will also be published online by the Library.

The poems must be submitted through the Library website at SawyerFreeLibrary.org from March 1 – April 30. For questions, contact the Children’s Librarian at crosso@sawyerfreelibrary.org or SawyerFreeLibrary.org.

Saunders House WPA Mural Restoration Presentation with Lisa Mehlin Saturday, 2/26, 2pm at Library

As reported by the Gloucester Daily Times, the Saunders House’s grand WPA are currently being restored by the Sawyer Free Library.

Come learn more about the historic murals and the restoration process from the project’s professional conservator Lisa Mehlin this Saturday, February 26 from 2 to 4pm on the Main Floor of the Sawyer Free Library.

Registration not required. For details, go to: sawyerfreelibrary.org or 978-325-5500.

John Prybot caps a 35-year career at Sawyer Free Library

After close to four decades, there is likely no book contained in the Sawyer Free Library unfamiliar to long-time library assistant John Prybot.

This month, John Pyrbot will retire after working for 35 years at the Sawyer Free Library. Through eight library directors and so many changes in the Library, John has remained a constant and reassuring presence, busy reshelving stacks with the latest titles, helping young and old alike find a book or an answer, and chatting with patrons most of whom he knows by name. 

“I have always tried my very best to serve our library patrons. That’s been my overriding and unwavering goal, as well as the Sawyer Free Library itself as an institution,” said John Prybot about his long tenure at the Library. “My life in Gloucester revolves around the Library. It is the true cornerstone of the community. I believe that libraries are precious resources to be treasured and promoted and used to the fullest extent.”

Growing up in Gloucester, John loved to hang out at the Sawyer Free Library. He was there so much that in high school he got a job as a page, responsible for putting books back in their proper locations. After graduating from Gloucester High School in 1964, he spent a decade in the Peace Corps in Guatemala. This life-defining experience offered him a new lens through which to see the world and the importance of community service. With that passion, he returned to his hometown and re-joined the staff of the Sawyer Free Library, beginning his long and rewarding tenure of public service in Gloucester.

“When I started in the Peace Corps, I was told, “What you give to these people will be nothing compared to what you receive from everyone.” The way that people accumulate respect in Guatemala is to contribute to their community. It was an incredible and eye-opening experience,” shared Prybot. “This is the reason why when I returned, I chose to work at the Library. I recognized it as an essential institution that serves the public as a critical source for information and knowledge.” 

Along with being a friendly and familiar face at the front desk, John’s time at the Library provided an invaluable wealth of knowledge and experience, benefiting both the Library and its patrons. Over the years, John has worked in circulation, managed the request lists, repaired books, processed and prepared new books for the Library’s collection, archived and organized historical resources, and much more.

With his fluency in Spanish and knowing how it feels to be a stranger in a new country, John has also been instrumental to countless newcomers to Gloucester from across the globe, connecting them to services and resources, as well as helping them to adjust to their new environment. 

“John is such a beloved fixture at the Sawyer Free Library and in the community—everyone knows who he is,” said Library Director Jenny Benedict. “All of us at Sawyer Free Library are grateful for his dedication to our Library and our City.  We wish him all the best for his well-deserved retirement.”

“I have had the great pleasure to know and work with John for close to ten years,” said Beth Pocock, the Library’s Assistant Director. “His care and consideration of people’s needs in all that he does inspires all of us to do the best we can each and every day. John has just a wonderful heart, and we will miss him very much at the Library.” 

When asked what he will miss most in his retirement, John shared, “Interacting with the patrons, I will miss the people and helping them. I really enjoy it and like being a part of it all.”

In his retirement, Prybot will continue his tireless work on a historical recovery project which involves making archival materials from the Central American archives available to people in their communities in Guatemala. His long-range plan is to move back to Guatemala, actively work on-site, and spend time with his eight godchildren and their families. But, for now, John will stay in Gloucester and utilize the resources that he knows so well, in a space he loves, the Sawyer Free Library. 

John Prybot retires from Sawyer Free Library after 35 years of service to Gloucester community.

Gloucester’s So Salty at the Sawyer Free Library this Saturday, 1/20 – it is all about SALT ISLAND

GLOUCESTER’S SO SALTY! at the SAWYER FREE LIBRARY

As a part of Gloucester’s So Salty celebration, the Sawyer Free Library invites you to learn more about Salt Island. This Saturday, January 22 at 2 pm join researcher Mary Ellen Lepionka for a virtual presentation on the history of Salt Island. After, Jayne & Andy Knott of Save Salt Island and Denton Crews of Friends of Good Harbor Beach will present on recent efforts to preserve this area.

Click HERE to register for your Zoom Link or contact Julie Travers at jtravers@sawyerfreelibrary.org for more information.

GLOUCESTER MEETINGHOUSE MLK DAY ANNUAL CELEBRATION JANUARY 17TH!

The Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation will host it 6th annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Celebration, live on Zoom, on Monday, January 17th at 2:00pm. Please preregister at http://www.gloucestermeetinghouse.org

The Racial Climate in Gloucester, What Lies Ahead will be the focus of the 2-hour program, including including findings of a new community survey. The keynote speaker will be Brian Saltsman, Director of Student Diversity and Inclusion at Alfred University in upstate New York. He is a leading advocate of addressing community issues between dominant and marginalized racial, ethnic or economic sectors as allies, a process known as “allyship.”

The invited presenting organizations are:

  • The Gloucester Racial Justice Team, reporting on a survey that assessed how much people of color “feel like they have a sense of community and belong in the city, including how race and ethnicity play a role in their daily lives,” according to GRJT spokesperson Gail Seavey.
  • The North Shore Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) which most recently has focused on racism issues within Danvers High School athletic teams. A branch leader will discuss the North Shore branch’s activities across a region stretching from Lynn to New Hampshire.
  • The Diversity and Equity Committee of the Gloucester 400th Anniversary Celebration, which is researching narrative stories that accurately depict racial and ethnic relationships since European settlement began displacing the native, indigenous Pennacook-Abenaki peoples. This will include years of slave ownership and maritime commerce in the global slave trade.

A video of this program with be available on the Gloucester Meetinghouse Foundation’s YouTube channel afterwards. The Foundation is a nonsectarian, federally-recognized nonprofit, organized to promote the preservation and community programming of the historic 1806 Meetinghouse on Middle Street, home of the first Universalist Church in America. Tax-deductible donations are welcome and may be made on the website, or by check to “GMF” at 10 Church Street, Gloucester, MA 01930.

Sawyer Free Library’s Most Popular Books Of 2021

As the page turns on 2021, the Sawyer Free Library has compiled a list of some of the most popular books checked out this year by adults, teens, and children. Of the thousands of print, digital, and audiobooks that patrons borrowed, these were Gloucester’s favorites in 2021. 

Fiction:

Gloucester seemingly read “around the world” when it came to their top Fiction books of 2021. 

  • The top book checked out by patrons was The Four Winds by Kristin Hannah, a historical fiction set in The Dust Bowl, the drought-stricken Southern Plains region, during the Great Depression.
  • Next, the list crosses the ocean to an isolated island in West Ireland with the contemporary murder mystery novel The Guest List by Lucy Foley. 
  • Returning to the United States, the powerful novel, The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett, focuses on two twin sisters and issues of racial identity and bigotry in the segregated south.
  • With the backdrop of the City of Lights, bestselling author Louise Penny tells the story of Chief Inspector Armand Gamache of the Sûreté du Quebec investigating a sinister plot in Quebec in her latest book, All the Devils Are Here.
  • Isabel Allende’s novel, A Long Petal of the Sea, follows two of the thousands of Spaniards who emigrated to Chile after Franco and the Nationalists won the Spanish Civil War.
  • Klara and the Sun, written by Japanese-born British novelist Kazuo Ishiguro is a beautiful science fiction romance set far away in a dystopian future.

Non-Fiction:

Of Gloucester’s 25 most-read titles, only two are non-fiction, revealing Gloucester’s preference for a good story. But there were still many on the Top 100 list. 

  • The most popular non-fiction title of 2021 was Caste: The Origins of our Discontent by Isabel Wilkerson. Ten years after her acclaimed non-fiction book The Warmth of Other Suns, Wilkerson spoke to the struggles of 2021 in “Caste,” dissecting the not-so-subtle American caste system and the social stratification among race and class in the U.S.
  • A Women of No Importance: The Untold Story of the American Spy who Helped win WWII by Sonia Purnell. This compelling and well-researched biography of Virginia Goillot reveals her pivotal role in coordinating the Resistance in Europe.
  • Niksen: Embracing the Dutch Art of Doing Nothing by Olga Mecking. Based on the premise that the Dutch are the happiest people globally, this wellness guide shares how to embrace idleness and explains how doing nothing can make us happier, more productive, and more creative.
  • The final standout on the non-fiction list is Swimming to the Top of the Tide. Written by local author Patricia Hanlon, it chronicles four seasons of her daily immersion in New England’s Great Marsh.

Adults weren’t the only ones looking to learn and have a little literary fun this year. Children and young adults alike were browsing the Library’s shelves, in person and online, and to follow were some of their best-loved reads. 

Young Adult:

The Young Adult titles with the highest circulations were those on the school reading lists. These engaging books written for readers ages 12-18, include: 

The Boy who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba, Angela Duckworth’s Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance and March: Book One, the first volume in a graphic novel trilogy about and by civil and human rights leader, John Lewis with Andrew Aydin. How-to books and self-help books were also popular with the Library’s younger patrons, as was Amanda Gorman’s book of poetry, The Hill We Climb

Children:

Five of the top fifteen books for children of reading age were by Jeff Kinney and are titles in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series which encourages even reluctant readers to laugh at the antics of the irresistible main character Greg. Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man series fills two slots on the most popular list. Both titles of Zeeta Elliot’s magical series appeared: The Dragon Thief and Dragons in a Bag. The dragon theme continues on the island of Arcos in the popular Legends of the Sky books series by Liz Flanagan. 

For those interested, complete lists of the Sawyer Free Library’s Most Borrowed Books in 2021, including Adult Mysteries, Graphic Novels, and Teen and Children’s Nonfiction titles, can be found at sawyerfreelibrary.org. 

Anyone who resides or attends school in Gloucester can obtain a Library card for free by applying in person, online, or by mail. For more information, visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5500.

Sawyer Free Library to host “Author Talk with Ted Reinstein” to discuss his new book on Saturday, Jan 8th at 2pm

The Sawyer Free Library will host award-winning author and journalist Ted Reinstein on Saturday, January 8, from 2:00-4:00 pm. He will speak about his book, Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier, on the Main Floor of the Library located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester, MA.

The event is free and open to the public. Registration is not required. Copies of the book Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier will be available. Face masks are mandatory for those attending. 

In Before Brooklyn: The Unsung Heroes Who Helped Break Baseball’s Color Barrier, Ted Reinstein tells the story of the little-known heroes who fought segregation in baseball. From communist newspaper reporters to the Pullman car porters who saw that black newspapers espousing integration in professional sports reached the homes of blacks throughout the country. It also reminds us that the first black player in professional baseball was not Jackie Robinson but Moses Fleetwood Walker in 1884 and that for a time-integrated teams were not that unusual. And then, as segregation throughout the country hardened, the exclusion of blacks in baseball quietly became the norm, and the battle for integration began anew.

Before Brooklyn by Ted Reinstein

Reinstein is an award-winning, longtime reporter for Boston’s celebrated nightly-newsmagazine, “Chronicle.” He is the author of three previous books, including New England Notebook: One Reporter, Six StatesUncommon Stories (Globe Pequot Press), selected by National Geographic Traveler in 2014 as a “Best Pick.” Ted is a native of Winthrop, Massachusetts.

For more information about the event or other Sawyer Free Library offerings, visit sawyerfreelibrary.org or call 978-325-5500.