It's a cause for a shellabration at Sawyer Free Library as it has announced a new, ahem, "staffer"  has joined the team.

Clawdia, The Library Lobster, is Sawyer Free's new mascot

Patrons should be on the lookout for Clawdia sharing the latest library news, promoting fun new programs, and helping out at the service desk. 

In other Sawyer Free news, the library kicked off its new free informative series “Technology on the Horizon,” on Thursday.

The series spotlights individuals and organizations on the North Shore working with critical or emerging technologies. Throughout the year, the library will be hosting local industry leaders who will share their knowledge, insight, and the economic implications of their work in a way that is accessible to all. The series is intended to inspire and inform individuals about new and exciting innovations happening in our community and the possibilities of new career paths in technology. The live virtual presentations are free to the public with advance registration through the Sawyer Free Library's website, sawyerfreelibrary.org.

Data analysis and visualization expert, author, journalist, and Rockport resident Dianne Finch-Claydon started the series with "Big Data in Small Slices," speaking about how data visualization can be used to combat climate change, better our world, and even help your career. Her newly published book, "Big Data in Small Slices: Data Visualization for Communicators," a resource for anyone interested in storytelling using data, is available now to check out at the library.

"With the ubiquity of technology, anyone can bring incredible and life-changing ideas to life. It just takes inspiration, and with so much of it happening right here on Cape Ann, one does not need to go far to find it," said Stephen Lajoie, Sawyer Free's technology librarian. "We hope that the community sees their potential reflected in the transformative ideas and stories shared by the 'Technology on the Horizon' speakers, and it leads them to great things too."

More information about the "Technology on the Horizon" series and the sLibrary's other programs and offerings, please visit sawyerfreelibray.org.

Making unmentionables mentionable

A campaign by the Gloucester Unitarian Universalist Church to provide new socks and underwear to Cape Ann families and individuals in need netted donations of 424 pairs of socks, 345 undergarments and more than $550 in cash to buy more.

The beneficiaries of the April drive are children who attend Pathways for Children preschool or after-school programs, and adults who are guests at The Grace Center, a day shelter and counseling program that the downtown Gloucester church hosts.

“We had socks with kittens, socks with camouflage, athletic socks, fuzzy socks and baby socks,” Patricia Cronin, a drive volunteer, said in a prepared statement. “I won’t mention unmentionables other than to briefly say that boxers and hipsters ruled the day.”

The church took on the challenge to meet a reality, cited by Pathways and Grace Center, that underwear and socks are often forgotten in clothing gifts to people in need.  “It must be an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ thing,” Jerry Ackerman, another volunteer, said in the church's statement. “The result is that while outer clothing may be new, what’s underneath may be literally on its last legs.”

“We were all gratified and thrilled by this outpouring of care,” the Rev. Janet Parsons, the church’s minister, added.  

Significant contributors included the “We’re All In This Together” Facebook community, created to build community spirit during the coronavirus pandemic, and Nelson’s of Gloucester and The John Tarr Store in Rockport. The two shops acted as collection points for donations and offered discounts on purchases made for the drive. Carol Lee’s Cottage, on Bearskin Neck in Rockport, also donated dozens of socks.

Cash donations came from as far as Lowell, Lexington, Bedford, Cambridge and Worcester.

“Also, a resident of the Gloucester ARC group home on Washington Street donated,” Holly Tanguay, co-president of the Gloucester church's board of directors, said.

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