President of the Board of Directors

2012 - 2013


The new Sawyer Free Library parking lot will have a book drop-off bin.

As Board President in 2013, following in the inspiring footsteps of Joan Ciolino, Greg Bover, and Mary Jane McGlennon, we celebrate tonight the fruits of many long hard years of thought and labour assuring and enriching this institution’s long-term health. 2013 - What a year for our SFL !


The 1764 Saunders House and Donald Monell’s 1976 addition are looking as great as if they had just been built yesterday, instead of 249 years ago and 37 years ago, respectively, under the majesty of our now liberated elegant signature European Copper Beech, which surely dates back to the earliest days of the Saunders House.


The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has formally blessed us, after years of lapse and painful waiver, as a result of the City of Gloucester’s firm financial support and commitment, with Full Certification, assuring our inter-library loan borrowings and many other benefits.


We, our library, Director Carol Gray, have an Assistant Director, after how many years of waivers and deferred expectations ?  - and what an AD - Freyja Sanger, tech savvy, sophisticated, capable, a welcome blessing to our Director and our staff and City...  Just look at our freshly re-vamped Sawyer Free Library Web Site to appreciate Freyja’s able contributions.  Welcome Freyja !


Among others, tonight you will hear from our Parking Lot & Landscape Committee: Last year you may recall our disappointment postponing this complicated construction project – a wise move by our Board, as when re-bid this Spring we received a full plate of qualified & competitive proposals. Finally now, after more than 4 years of planning and study, we are installing - thanks to Hilarie Holdsworth of Walker Creek Design’s absolutely inspired master design & plantings, general contractor Paul Wright of Wright Industries with his able crew of skilled earthmovers and masons, Jeff Amero of J&L Welding’s elegant custom fence and benches, Olson Irrigation’s watering system, all overseen by our construction manager Dan McRitchie - the literal bricks, granite, macadam and mortar of what shall be known as our beautiful & functional John & Dorothy Rando Garden, amphitheater and long-awaited Parking Lot. Our project is a dramatic addition of beauty and functionality for Gloucester’s downtown civic center.


Just look outside - we are literally ready now for child-friendly sculptures to be commissioned and installed celebrating our own Cape Ann children’s authors Virginia Lee Burton Demetrios, Lee Kingman Natti, or others, or perhaps our very own Gloucester Sea Serpent;  our own iconic "Make way for Ducklings" sculpture or sculptures, to be enjoyed by generations of Library patrons and visitors and children to come.


And you shall hear tonight of the first fruits of our Long-Term Strategic Planning Committee’s good works, as we position of our community library for long-term relevance, and a bright & engaging future.And you shall hear some of the first fruits of our Long Term Strategic Planning Committee on our plans as we position of our community library for long-term relevance, and a bright & engaging future.


Board member Fred Cowan will bring our Corporators up to speed on his visionary and eye-opening research into the process of updating our SFL facilities HVAC and space utilization review. Many will recall the sweltering days mid-summer when we were forced to close the Library early, to protect the computers from overheating, let alone our Patrons & Staff ! Fred’s leadership brings us closer to initiatives to literally usher fresh new air into our buildings and our utilization of facilities, in clever alternative steps forward to the building expansion once envisioned ten years ago...


Have I mentioned our gratitude for a engaged and committed Board, our active and hard-working Friends of the Library, our Lyceum Committee, our staff, our Patrons... And the ever growing, evolving Heart of our Collections, the books, CDs, down-loadable e-books, inter-library loan access which we all enjoy, or the Samuel Sawyer Art Trust & Collections....


Or did I pay tribute to the amazing, quiet (well after all, they do love libraries) but generous benefactors stepping up to bless and support our community library with their largess... including, to name just a few stalwart angels over recent years: Arthur Ryan, Arthur Lawson, the Matzes, Rob Amory, the Rhinelanders, Adel Ervin, John Rando, Janice Stelluto, the McCarls, David MacAveeny, Mary Weissblum, the Borlies, and very generous planned bequests by Francis Vrachos, Elizabeth “Bessie” Thanos, and just recently, by retired Gloucester research librarian and volunteer Elaine Smogard.


Our SFL is clearly very much alive and well in Gloucester.


Again, Thanks to: Our Staff, Our Volunteers, and all of you who participate and attend programming & contribute their support to the SLF, generously sharing so much in both time and treasure over this past year. Without libraries what have we?


To End our Evening, I have a fitting Quote for the Occasion, probably one of the best known quotes about libraries:  Marcus Tullius Cicero said
“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” 
And now here in Gloucester we indeed have both – a wonderful Library
surrounded by wonderful Gardens!


Respectfully submitted,

Scott Memhard
Chair, Board of Directors
October 21, 2013