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The 2025 Sawyer Free Library

Let's Build a Place for All of Us.
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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.

The 2025 Sawyer Free Library campaign is thankful for the generosity of our supporters. We still need your help to raise this building! Gifts, large and small will help us make the new Sawyer Free Library a reality!




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