< Gloucester Lyceum & Sawyer Free Library



The Lyceum is the program arm of the Library and, through the programs it presents, is following in a tradition that can be traced back to the 19th Century in New England. In those days philosophers and scholars, including Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau, both supported and participated in educational programs for the benefit and pleasure of the public. The charge of the Lyceum Committee, as described in our mission statement, is an ambitious one indeed, and that is “enriching the lives of the people of Cape Ann.”

The Lyceum Committee meets at the Sawyer Free Library on the first Monday of every month. Members are Carol Ackerman, Barbara Braver, Jill Carter, Susan Oleksiw, Christy Park, Bob Quinn, Patsy Whitlock, Mary Weissblum and the Library Director, Carol Gray.

Included below, to give a sense of our efforts, is a listing of some of the Lyceum programs of the past year.

We provided first person reports and glimpses into life in India and South Africa with programs by Susan Oleksiw and Dan Connell, respectively.

Just after last year’s annual meeting we launched what has proven to be a very popular offering, a series of conversations with and presentations by authors called: Words Beyond Words: Behind the Page. To date we have hosted a marvelous variety of writers, including Simon Winchester, Andre Dubus, Julia Glass, Mark Kurlansky and Sally Goldenbaum.

Jackie Cooper, a cultural historian, presented a multi-media event about America’s Jewish immigrants and the birth of the garment industry. It included an exhibit in the Matz Gallery, a workshop co-sponsored with the Cape Ann Museum, a theatrical evening and fashion show, featuring local models, at the Annie.

Musical programs were among our offerings, with a Valentine’s Day program of cabaret style music and a musical afternoon with Nancy Goodman and her group The Girl Next Door. Most recently we were pleased to co-sponsor with the Cape Ann Museum a program featuring Greg Bover detailing how he built, over a period of years, a harpsichord. And, then Francis Fitch shared with us through her playing the marvelous results of their joint efforts.

Not to forget nature: calling on experts Kim Smith and Chris Leahy, we have had programs on birds and butterflies.

Our annual poetry writing contest, Poetry without Paper, gave encouragement – as well as prizes – to students who live in Gloucester for the winning poems which they submitted electronically.

Also on the poetry front, we were delighted to sponsor a tribute to Ray Bentley, as well as an evening with poets Kate Colby and Erica Funkhouser.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Weissblum
Chair, Lyceum Committee


Annual Poetry without Paper
Award Winners read their winning
poetry and receive their awards from Mayor Kirk.



The Gloucester Lyceum presented
author Andre Dubus,
who discussed his book Townie.