Catch the Wave: Visit the All NewSawyerFree2025

The 2025 Sawyer Free Library and Historic Saunders House

Our 2025 Sawyer Free Library

Our vision for the 2025 Sawyer Free Library is worthy of our heritage and our future.  The reimagined building structures and interior layouts protect their historic feel while enhancing the Library as a place of creation and communication.  It is a vision that fosters the values of place, belonging, and connection in the Gloucester community. 

The 2025 Sawyer Free Library is designed to benefit everyone! The building plan is based on design principles that put people first: Sustainability, Accessibility, Health and Safety. The capital project respects our history with a complete renovation of the existing 1976 and 1913 buildings and modernizes it with a new 14,000 sq. ft. addition.

Building a Sustainable Future

The 2025 Sawyer Free Library will be the first public building on Cape Ann to generate renewable energy through solar and use no fossil fuels for the building’s site energy. The building will put Gloucester in the top 1% of public libraries across the Commonwealth run by an all-electric heat pump system powered by renewable energy. The renovation and addition will be served by common building systems designed for efficient consumption, generation and storage of energy and water. For more information about the 2025 Sawyer Free Library’s sustainability features, visit:

The aging Library building on Dale Avenue has had serious deficiencies for a long time. The building systems (HVAC, fire suppression, etc.)  are at the end of their useful life. As these systems inevitably fail, they jeopardize the continuity of our public hours and our services.  Also, the building layout compromises public safety and has restricted accessibility for many visitors. Finally, and critically, the present public spaces are insufficient for current uses and not suited for the technology of today and tomorrow.

The new 2025 Sawyer Free Library will be a center of intellectual and social engagement for our community. It features new spaces for people to gather and connect with neighbors, colleagues, experts and fellow learners, including:

  • a 100-seat community room
  • a 16-seat conference room
  • a digital makerspace
  • a Library local history center
  • a dedicated room for teens
  • an expanded children’s room with an early literacy center for toddlers

In 2022, the Library achieved the following major milestones:

  • The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners confirmed a $9M Public Library Construction grant award for the project
  • W.T. Rich was hired as the construction management firm
  •  City Council approved a $29M loan order to finance the project 
  • The Mayor and Library Board President signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) outlining the roles and responsibilities of the City and the Library for the financial and project administration. 
  • The Sawyer Free 2025 campaign succeeded in raising $16.5M toward the $28M campaign goal.

To support the Library renovation and addition project, visit the website:

The 2025 Saunders House                                                                     

Preserved and Restored

The Saunders House is a prominent landmark of Gloucester’s Historic District and is unique in the grandeur of its original features and murals added in subsequent years. The significant architectural features will be preserved for historic study and the rooms restored for contemporary community use. The Saunders House will continue to be joined to the Sawyer Free Library and will be open to the public.

In the News

Sawyer Free to be Fossil-Free.  Gloucester Daily Times. April 25, 2023

2025 Sawyer Free Library Aims for Net ZeroCape Ann Community. April 25, 2023

Council Approves $29M loan for Sawyer Free Library Project. Gloucester Daily Times. October 26, 2022

Gloucester Gets State Help Toward Library Expansion. The Boston Globe. July 21, 2022

Sawyer Free project boosted $9M from state, $250K from bank. Gloucester Daily Times. July 11, 2022

Sawyer Free Plans $28M RenovationGloucester Daily Times. May 11, 2022

Sawyer Free Library to Undergo Massive Renovation.  The Gillnetter. May 9, 2022

Sawyer Free Library is not going anywhereGloucester Daily Times. October 20, 2020

Sawyer Free Library expansion moves forwardWicked Local. January 29, 2020

‘We have a plan’: Sawyer Free trustees look to raise $16M for proposed library renovation. Gloucester Daily Times. May 21, 2019.

Sawyer Free Trustees eye renovation. Gloucester Daily Times.  May 17, 2019

My View: Strong libraries = strong communities. Gloucester Daily Times. November 20, 2019


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