At the heart of every library stands the librarian, a beacon of knowledge and an essential force in the pursuit of learning and literacy. They foster a love of reading from an early age, igniting the flames of imagination in young minds and nurturing a lifelong passion for learning.

Librarians serve as champions of inclusivity, ensuring that knowledge is accessible to all, regardless of background or socioeconomic status. From providing free internet access to offering assistance with research, librarians empower individuals to transcend barriers and unlock their full potential.

Sarah Zechman, interlibrary loan librarian and senior outreach coordinator at Northampton Area Public Library

Sarah Zechman is an Easton resident that has worked at Northampton Area Public Library for four years as an interlibrary loan librarian and senior outreach coordinator.

She beams when she discusses her work in senior outreach and the community-oriented aspect of her job as a librarian.

In total, she visits 21 homebound individuals, two senior community centers and Sacred Heart Senior Living, providing them with books, entertainment and materials curated to their requests and reading preferences.

Sarah revels in the small proud moments throughout every week when she is able to engage with the community and help solve their reading mysteries since there are many patrons that elicit her help in search of a book, not knowing the title or author.

The biggest misconception, she says, is that being a librarian is an antisocial job and environment because it actually involves a lot of socialization.

We’ve all seen scenes in movies depicting librarians as cranky enforcers of quietness sitting behind a counter shushing those not whispering in hushed tones, but Sarah says this is farthest from the truth because she welcomes the noise that coincides with people aged 0 to 110 enjoying their time at the library.

Sarah details that the most rewarding aspects of her job include the personal satisfaction she gets from being able to help others and the relationships she has built with community members and the seniors she works with, but most of all, she values that she is able to be part of something that doesn’t cost the community money.

Holly Bennett, executive director at Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity

Another librarian, Holly Bennett, is a resident of Bushkill Township working as the executive director of the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity, who also finds that the best part of her job is getting to interact with the community every day.

After working at an academic library in higher education, Holly worked as a reference librarian and grant writer for five years at the Nazareth library, before the position of director became available. Holly has held the position of executive director for seven years.

Some misconceptions about libraries, Holly explains, are that libraries are becoming obsolete in this digital age, where information flows abundantly and knowledge is just a click away. However, libraries serve many people with different needs that rely on the library’s services, making them a vital part of the community.

“Books are only a little bit of what we do,” says Holly. “The community has looked to the library for resources and support because it offers a safe place at no cost and without social barriers.”

Holly finds the most rewarding parts of her job are being able to talk with the community, getting to know people and their families, forming personal connections and securing grants and funds to help keep up with and improve the library and its services.

Additionally, Holly shares that the best time of year at the library is during the summer when kids are out of school because they offer a robust reading program, with over 600 children registered for the summer reading program and 200 teens and adults.

“In the summer, the building is buzzing, and we plan all year for that. To see that come to fruition, it feels really good because families rely on us in the summer, so it solidifies our mission,” Holly adds.

One of the fundraising events that the library puts on is their annual pet parade for pets of all varieties, including the stuffed, furry and reptilian kind. Coming up on Saturday, May 18 at 10 a.m. rain or shine, the parade will start at the Nazareth Borough Council Chambers and end at the library. This year, the parade will be led by the library’s mascot, a llama named Gabe.

Interested participants can find more information and register for the parade on the library’s website,

Holly reveals that the Memorial Library of Nazareth and Vicinity was named library of the year in 2020 out of all libraries in Pennsylvania by the Pennsylvania Library Association, which she is very proud of.

“Libraries are really the heart of the community,” Holly remarks.


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