The Board of Directors of the Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library is pleased to announce that Deborah W. Kelsey will become our new Library Director in August. She will fill the vacancy left by former Director Carol Gray, who retired in April after 16 years, and Acting Director Freyja Sanger, who will return to her position as assistant director.
Deborah, a native of Essex, is currently the library director at the Memorial Public Library in Medfield, Massachusetts, a position she has held since 2008.
She was the unanimous and enthusiastic selection of the Director Search Committee, which included members of the Library and Lyceum Boards, the City of Gloucester personnel director, regional library professionals and community leaders.
According to Scott Memhard, president of the Sawyer Free Library Board of Directors, “In Medfield, Deborah provided leadership and vision for a busy public library, building strong community engagement, high circulation, public programming for all ages, innovative technology solutions, and creative staff mentoring and development. We look forward to welcoming and embracing Deborah here in Gloucester, and to her bold leadership implementing our Strategic Plan.”
That plan, developed last year by the Library board and staff with community input, aims to make the Sawyer Free Library a more welcoming place to meet Gloucester’s rapidly evolving needs, as well as a center of innovation and community activity.
Barbara Braver, a member of the Sawyer Free Library board who served on the Search Committee, noted: “Although the Committee had a very talented pool of applicants from which to chose, it was obvious to us all from the outset that Deborah’s significant gifts made her the standout candidate.”
Mary Jane McGlennon, a past Board President who also helped with the search, concurred: “This is an exciting moment for the Library and for Gloucester.”
In her career, Deborah Kelsey has also served in various professional capacities at libraries in Natick, Framingham, Wayland, and Needham. She is the immediate past president of the New England Library Association, and a Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Certified Professional Librarian. She holds a master’s degree in Library and Information Science from Simmons College, and a BA from University of Connecticut, Storrs.
Deborah told the Search Committee that “smelling the salt in the air as I was driving into Gloucester, felt like coming home…” She said she looks forward to coming to Gloucester as the capstone of her professional career, further developing the Sawyer Free Library as a space where “the community gathers for inspiration, learning, meeting, and performance”.
Memhard said that among Deborah’s immediate objectives will be working with the library’s board, staff and volunteers to review the library’s collections for relevance; revamping the building’s public and staff spaces; overseeing installation of a modern heating and air conditioning system, and mentoring staff in their professional development.