Sawyer Free Library adds staff

Sawyer Free Library's new and promoted staffers are, from left, Leah Svensson, Julie Travers, Joann Dunajski, Katelyn Rivela, and Annemarie Sanfilippo. Tracey Davis/Courtesy Photo

The Gloucester Lyceum and Sawyer Free Library has hired four new staffers and promoted another to a new position.

The new and promoted staff are:

Julie Travers is a new community librarian. She comes to Gloucester from Swampscott Public Library, where she was the head of circulation, and brings extensive library experience in adult fiction collection management and programming for diverse populations to her new position as community librarian.

"As a lifelong lover of libraries, I'm so excited to contribute to the already vibrant library culture that exists here in Gloucester,” said Travers, who looks forward to developing the library's fiction collection."

Travers will be the library's contact for newcomers and English language learners, and work in partnership with Wellspring, Action Inc., Gloucester Housing, and Gloucester Public Schools.

Katelyn Rivela and Leah Svensson, the new library assistants, are working in the children’s room and at the first-floor service desk, respectively.


Rivela comes from the Bigelow Free Library in Clinton, where she was an assistant children's librarian. Before that, she worked as a substitute teacher in Hudson Public Schools.

"My favorite part about the Sawyer Free Library is the sense of community felt between the staff and all the patrons," she said. "I hope to continue to make the library feel like a fun and safe space that allows our wonderful patrons of all ages to keep exploring their passions, curiosities, and imaginations!"

Svensson, a recent graduate of the University of Massachusetts Lowell with a Bachelor of Arts in English, has extensive experience and education in writing, editing, public relations, content marketing, social media, and literary analysis. Svensson, who grew up in Gloucester, said, "I'm thrilled to become part of the Sawyer Free Library, a place that was a big part of my childhood, and have the opportunity to share my passion for literature while contributing to the supportive and enthusiastic atmosphere that the library emanates." 

Annemarie Sanfilippo recently stepped into the administrative assistant's role, supporting the library director and assistant director. The Gloucester native is back working in her hometown after being an office manager for 14 years at Endicott College in Beverly.

"The opportunity to work at the Sawyer Free Library feels like somewhat of a homecoming for me," Sanfilippo shared. "I am so pleased to be working with such joyful, engaged colleagues and helping to build on the library's outstanding service to my own community.”

And Joann Dunajski, who has extensive experience in teaching technology, was promoted to a newly created position, library public technology assistant. Besides providing one-on-one instruction for consumer and library applications, Dunajski will deliver basic technology instruction online. She will also configure and maintain the library's Digital Devices To Go collection.

"I'm incredibly enthusiastic about this new position. I have always had a passion for technology, and I look forward to assisting our patrons in using public computers and routine use of various applications on the computers,” Dunajski said. “I also help maintain and promote the library’s ever-growing digital device collection, including Chromebooks, Hotspots, eReaders, App Sampler Tablets, and PressReaders." 

The vacancies at Sawyer Free arose due after three long-serving staff retired, one taking a promotion at another library and one deciding to stay home with her infants.


"I am beyond pleased to welcome such an exceptional and experienced group of professionals to our dedicated and talented staff at the Sawyer Free Library," said Jenny Benedict, the library director, in a prepared statement announcing the moves. “Their innovative thinking, commitment to the community, and boundless enthusiasm will only help us better support our patrons of all ages, diverse and growing needs and connect them with ideas, information, the world of imagination, and each other.”

Sawyer Free Library is open for select onsite services, six days a week, Monday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., except for Thursday, when it is open from noon to 7 p.m. Visitors are requested to keep visits to 30 minutes or fewer, and are required to wear masks and practice physical distancing as all public spaces have limited capacities. The lLibrary's online services are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at

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