Northampton woman settling in as new Buckland Library director

  • Northampton resident Sara Salem is the new library director at the Buckland Public Library. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Northampton resident Sara Salem is the new library director at the Buckland Public Library. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Staff Writer
Published: 7/4/2022 3:16:10 PM
Modified: 7/4/2022 3:13:31 PM

BUCKLAND — From the children’s room filled with toys and picture books, to the adult section featuring the latest fiction, nonfiction, memoir and fantasy titles, Library Director Sara Salem is happy to highlight what the Buckland Public Library has to offer.

Having taken on the role of library director on April 29, the Northampton resident and Minnesota native is excited for the many programs in store for the coming season.

“People are finally coming out of hibernation,” she said, “and I am excited to be here for them.”

Salem originally moved to the East Coast for college, studying sculpture at the School of Visual Arts in New York City. While she would eventually settle in Fairhaven, Salem fondly remembers the summer she spent in Buckland with her family as a child, during which she met many people who are neighbors of the library today.

“I knew I liked the culture here, but I have been overwhelmed with how great people are to me,” Salem said about her first two months as library director.

Because her father was a publisher, Salem grew up with an abundance of books.

“I never understood how expensive books were, so it made me really appreciate the library when I left my father’s house,” Salem said.

The only place Salem was allowed to go unaccompanied as a child was the library.

“Libraries always meant independence to me,” she said.

Libraries are so important to Salem that when she was deciding where to start a family of her own, she performed a library test in all the towns she was considering. She visited each town to make sure there was a successful library.

Salem became head of circulation at Fairhaven’s Millicent Library. Working with 11 other employees, she recommended and organized books, ran programs for the community, and connected residents with social services, learning the ins and outs of the trade.

“I learned how to keep my cool in difficult situations,” Salem added.

During the pandemic, she decided to move to Northampton to be closer to family, and landed the Buckland Public Library job after being recommended by the board of trustees, which interviewed several candidates.

In Buckland, Salem has a variety of initiatives she is working on for the summer. She is particularly excited about an internship program she started. Teens can work with Salem to make individualized plans that can entail any amount of work on a library project. Interns can “host game nights, make displays or tailor the project to any interest they have,” she explained.

“This library skews older,” she noted.

One of the most popular activities at the Buckland Public Library before the pandemic was Soup Night. Salem is planning a modified version of Soup Night where people bring their own dinner and socialize outside the library on picnic benches.

“We will provide individually packaged desserts,” Salem said.

As many readers are shifting toward reading books electronically, the future of libraries is often called into question. But Salem said that is not a concern for Buckland.

“Here, people are really interested in books,” she said.

“Everyone has so much pride in this library,” she said, noting that at other libraries, patrons often return books with dog-eared pages or other damage. But in Buckland, “here everything is kept so well.”

The Buckland Public Library, at 30 Upper St., is open on Tuesdays from 1 to 8 p.m., Fridays from 1 to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information, visit bucklandpubliclibrary.org.


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