EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

April 22, 2014

Plaistow has a new children's librarian

PLAISTOW — While serving as a school librarian, Sandown resident Jenn Dawley viewed reading as a gateway to which she holds the key.

“It can open so many doors, just seeing that light go on to engage them in something that truly excites them right in their heart,” she said. “It’s an awakening.”

Dawley has been tapped to lead Plaistow Public Library’s youth services department, starting May 5.

She replaces Nancy Chase, who left the library in November for a similar post at Haverhill (Mass.) Public Library, library director Cab Vinton said.

The first search ended with a single candidate and contract negotiations fell flat. Library officials started a new search, Vinton said, and Dawley almost didn’t make it.

“Just as we were about to close the application process, Jenn emailed me out of the blue,” Vinton said. “She said, ‘I don’t know if you have any openings, but I’m transitioning from the school library world to a public library world.’”

It will be quite a transition for Dawley. She started as a first grade teacher at St. Joseph Regional Catholic School in Salem in 1988, she said.

Dawley left in 1996 to become a stay-at-home mom for her children Katherine, now 18, and Thomas, now 13, she said.

She returned to St. Joseph in 2007. Four years later, she became a full-time librarian at Hampstead Academy and worked part time at Sandown Public Library.

She developed a reputation at both locations, which Vinton heard from his daughter at Hampstead Academy.

“If it was a Jenn Dawley story-time day, even if it was a snowstorm, there are people who would brave the storm to see her programs,” Vinton said. “You just can’t escape it. She has a following.”

As part of the application and hiring process, Dawley held a story-telling event at Plaistow Public Library for library staff and parents.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
New Hampshire

ET Videos