The SAWYER FREE LIBRARYis excited to be kicking off the community consultation for its new STRATEGIC PLAN: OUR LIBRARY. OUR FUTURE.
As part of the planning process, Sawyer Free Library wants to hear from the community and gather its valuable input. The 2025-2029 strategic planning process is especially important due to new opportunities that will be possible with the opening of the renovated, modernized and expanded 2025 Sawyer Free Library.
The Library will be hosting a series of 4 PUBLIC COMMUNITY CONVERSATIONS, and an ONLINE SURVEYand wants to hear from YOU! The Library encourages individuals from all backgrounds and age groups, community organizations, local businesses, and other stakeholders, to participate and provide their unique perspectives.
Community Conversations will be held IN PERSON on:
Monday, May 22, at Cape Ann YMCA from 6:00 -7:30 p.m.
Monday, June 5, at the Sawyer Free Library’s temporary space at 21 Main Street from 2:00-3:30 p.m.
Community Conversations take place VIRTUALLY over Zoom:
Friday, June 2, from 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Tuesday, June 13, from 10-11:30 a.m.
Gloucester Conversations will moderate these public forums, which are open to everyone to attend, and share their thoughts, ideas, and insights about how the 2025 Sawyer Free Library can best serve them and the greater community.
All Gloucester residents and visitors are also encouraged to fill out the Sawyer Free Library‘s new COMMUNITY SURVEY. The online survey is available online at SawyerFreeLibrary.org and will be open through July 1, 2023.
Regardless of how much or how little individuals use its services, everyone’s perspectives are welcome and encouraged to participate! This survey is the first piece of research that will help to inform the new strategic plan and will be critical in influencing the Library’s priorities for the next five years.
The Sawyer Free Library expects to analyze the results this summer and compile a summary report, which will be shared with the community when the Library Board of Trustees finalizes the new 2025-2029 Strategic Plan. The Library’s most recent five-year strategic plan was completed in 2020, which runs through 2024.
Community members can visit sawyerfreelibrary.org for more information and updates on ways to participate in the strategic planning process. The Library will also provide regular updates to keep community members informed and engaged throughout the process.
The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library Corporation will be hosting its Annual Meeting on Wednesday evening, November 16, at the Sawyer Free Library located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. All are welcome.
Doors open at 6:00 pm and the meeting will begin at 6:30 pm with welcoming remarks by the President of the Board of Trustees, Mern Sibley. The public is invited to attend this informative evening, during which there will be a presentation by Matt Oudens of Oudens Ellos Architecture detailing updates of the 2025 Sawyer Free Library Capital Project.
The annual meeting will offer the community the chance to gather at 2 Dale Avenue one more time before the Sawyer Free Library’s historic renovation and expansion project begins early next year. Attendees will be welcome to take pictures of the spaces that have special meaning to them or just sit and take it all in while learning more about the Library’s busy year.
The Sawyer Free Library recently moved its operations to 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester, in preparation for the construction of the 2025 Sawyer Free Library which is expected to be completed in early 2025.
The meeting will be from 6:30–7:30 pm on the main floor of the Sawyer Free Library. Refreshments from Willow Rest will be served. For more information, please visit sawyerfreelibrary.org.
The Sawyer Free Library (SFL) is pleased to share that it has selected a temporary location for the Library during the upcoming renovation and expansion project. The construction project, which involves a renovation of the Library’s 1976 main building at 2 Dale Avenue and an addition of 15,000-square-feet, is expected to begin in early 2023 and take approximately eighteen months.
The Library’s Board of Trustees secured a multi-year lease for 21 Main Street in downtown Gloucester, the former space of Cape Ann Cinema and Stage. The SFL plans to move to its new temporary location this fall.
“When 21 Main Street was proposed as an option for the temporary Sawyer Free Library, we jumped at the opportunity,” said Mern Sibley, President of the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library’s Board of Trustees. “Located downtown, just a few blocks from our current location, it has the space and the requirements our dedicated library staff need in order to continue serving our community’s diverse cultural, educational, and informational needs and interests.”
“The commercial real estate market is very tight in Gloucester with few available properties,” continued Sibley. “We feel fortunate to have secured a space that meets our specifications with only minor modifications needed. This temporary space presented itself at the right time, and it is one that we believe will serve the community best during this exciting and historic time for the Sawyer Free Library.”
In its new temporary home, the Sawyer Free Library will offer select in-person services, curbside services, outreach programming, and an enhanced level of online services. The approximately 3,600 sq. ft. at 21 Main Street will accommodate library services for both children and adults, as well as the Library’s local history research resources and Wellspring House’s client intake center. The space will have public computers, Wi-Fi access and study tables. The size of the space limits the quantity of materials onsite. However, through the hold system, cardholders have access to thousands of titles and resources from storage in Saunders House and other NOBLE libraries.
The Library’s hours will remain the same, open six days a week, with the familiar faces of the Sawyer Free Library’s staff available to assist the public. The centrally located space on Main Street is handicap accessible and offers ample parking in the nearby city lot.
SFL will continue to offer a robust schedule of programs for residents of all ages throughout the community and is looking at off-site locations in Gloucester’s public schools, preschools, community centers, municipal spaces, local cultural institutions, parks, and other outdoor spaces. It will also work with its many community partners to host collaborative programming. In addition, the Library will continue to utilize and enhance its remote and online virtual programs.
“Community residents have come to expect a wide range of educational and informational services and programs from our library, and we intend on continuing to deliver on that promise,” said Library Director Jenny Benedict. “Our dedicated Sawyer Free Library staff is committed to making this temporary transition smooth for all. We are excited to share our expertise in new and creative ways. Our talented librarians, resources, and services that Gloucester looks to and relies on will continue to be there for them, whether it be in person in our temporary space, out in the community, or online. We are beyond excited for the 2025 Sawyer Free Library and all it will mean for our community.”
SFL will be working with a relocation service to facilitate the upcoming move of library collections, furnishings and equipment to the temporary location. The Saunders House will be used for library staff office space and onsite storage during the construction. The exact dates and the specifics of the move will be forthcoming.
“In order for the 2025 Sawyer Free Library project to move forward on schedule, it’s imperative that the current Library is available to the construction company as soon as the project and financial approvals are in place,” said Sibley. “There is also an urgency to relocate before the winter in order to move the public and our collections and equipment into a safe space where they are no longer at risk due to the deteriorating conditions of the current building.”
When doors open at the 2025 Sawyer Free Library, the building will exemplify what a 21st-century public library can and should be in terms of architecture, sustainability, accessibility, use of natural resources and light, wayfinding, lines of sight, air quality, and public safety. The modernized and expanded Library will double in size with the addition. It will boast new community spaces, including a 110-seat community room with state-of-the-art science presentation technology, a dedicated room for teens, and a digital maker space with a film production suite and a sound recording studio. Additional features will include a Library History Center, a quiet Reading Room, and a 16-seat Conference Room.
The Sawyer Free Library recently announced the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners approval of the funding for a $9 million provisional construction grant toward the estimated $28 million historic project. In October, the Gloucester City Council is expected to vote on the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library’s request for a city loan to provide the financing for the project and allow the City to access the state grant. Gloucester’s public library is owned by the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library, a nonprofit corporation, which will repay the loan through grants, corporate and individual donations.
The Sawyer Free 2025 fundraising campaign is underway, with several large corporate gifts committed, the campaign continues to gain traction and is attracting donations both big and small. Sawyer Free 2025 continues to seek funding through individual and corporate donors, federal, state, and municipal government grants, and nonprofit foundations. The public is encouraged to learn more about the project by visiting sawyerfree2025.org.
Sawyer Free Library is hosting an evening with Eric Klinenberg, Carnegie Medal-winning and New York Times bestselling author of Palaces for the People, on Thursday, July 14 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Klinenberg’s work tells us about how physical places bind us and libraries — where everyone is welcome — can heal divisions and inequalities in our society.
Library Board Trustee and former City Councilor Jenn Holmgren will make opening remarks about Sawyer Free 2025. The author talk and a dialogue with the audience will be followed by a dessert reception in the Library’s outdoor amphitheater.
This event is free and open to the public.
The Sawyer Free Library is located at 2 Dale Avenue in Gloucester. For more information visit, SawyerFreeLibrary.org or 978-325-5500.