All posts by Jeff Hartman

Friends of the Library Scholarships 2024

The Chelmsford Friends of the Library have selected their 2024 scholarship recipients! Gemma Bardouleau and Abhi Nair will each receive $500 to help pay for college in the fall. Gemma credits the Chelmsford Public Library as a catalyst for sparking her interest in helping others and pursuing a career as a clinical psychologist. Abhi attributes his love of reading and success as a student to the Chelmsford Public Library. Congratulations to them both!

Lesley Kimball, Library Director

The library is proud to announce its new director is Lesley Kimball, formerly assistant director of outreach services who joined the staff in July of 2022. She was the unanimous choice of the search committee. She was previously the Library Director in Stratham, New Hampshire for the past 23 years and before that was a children’s librarian, a teen services librarian, and a reference librarian. She brings experience with budgeting, grant writing, civic engagement, reader’s advisory, strategic planning, and outreach services. Lesley and her former library have been voted New Hampshire Library and New Hampshire Librarian of the year, and that library was one of 14 library finalists across the country that were recognized by the Institute of Museum and Library Services for the National Medal. She loves trying new (spicy!) recipes, is an avid reader, and a published poet.

Lesley had known former library director, the late Becky Herrmann, personally and professionally for over 30 years. The two had started out as librarians in neighboring towns in New Hampshire and always hoped that they’d be able to work together. When Lesley interviewed for the assistant director position last year, Becky and the administrative team knew she was the right choice. The Library Board of Trustees is also confident that she will be a passionate leader and able successor as Director. The entire library is continuing to work hard through this transition to bring our community the services and resources that they love.

In Memoriam, Becky Herrmann

It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of Becky Herrmann, Chelmsford Public Library Director since 2001. Becky was a bright light from the moment she arrived at our Library. She cared deeply about the community and wanted the Chelmsford Public Library to offer exemplary service to all who needed it. During her time here, she oversaw the building of new study rooms in the Main Library, the renovation of the MacKay Branch Library, the creation of the Marjorie Scoboria Greenway and building of the Carriage House, and spearheaded the project that brought us the Pop-Up Library. She was always looking forward to what we could do next for our users, and encouraged staff to dream big and create wonderful new programs and events. Among her favorites were the Winterfest events: turning the building into a venue for a jazz band dance, food and wine tasting, escape rooms and even a Murder Mystery. Becky was a leader beyond the Library as well, earning the respect of her colleagues and serving as mentor to many young and not-so-young librarians. We will greatly miss her warmth, wit, and intelligence, her passion for her work, and her leadership. Her impact on Chelmsford Public Library and the community will be long remembered.

The Library will be closed on Saturday, January 7 so that staff may attend her services.

The official obituary announcement can now be found at


MacKay Renovation Update

MacKay Renovation Update
MacKayWe’re excited to announce that we’re looking forward to the re-opening of the MacKay branch in North Chelmsford in early spring! The location was initially closed due to COVID concerns in 2020, but the recognition that the building’s HVAC system and other features didn’t meet modern health and safety guidelines prompted a large-scale project to make the building usable by the public. While the ventilation project is being completed we are updating the branch library’s collection and rearranging our shelving to better meet community needs. We can’t wait to welcome you back to MacKay!


MacKay Renovation Update

The Select Board entered into a contract with Thomas E. Snowden to complete the update on the HVAC project for the MacKay Branch Library. We hope that the project will be completed by the start of 2023. Library staff are busily working on a MacKay re-opening day collection of new and popular materials and we are looking forward to adding more comfy seating and children’s play space!

In the meantime, you can order materials – books, movies, music, and more! – to be picked up at MacKay on Mondays, 1:00 to 5:00 pm; Wednesdays, 3:00 to 6:00 pm; and Fridays, 9:30 am to 1:30 pm. Plus the Pop-Up Library is available for browsing at MacKay on Wednesdays from 3:00 to 5:00!

Library Receives AARP Grant

The Chelmsford Public Library is excited to announce that we are one of 260 grantees chosen for a 2022 AARP Community Challenge Grant! As part of an education and awareness campaign for the recently approved Land Acknowledgement for the town of Chelmsford, the Chelmsford Library and the town’s Diversity Equity and Inclusion Committee are partnering to foster education about the town’s history of both its land and its people. The greater Chelmsford area comprises, in part, the homelands of the Pawtucket-PennacookAbenaki, and their close neighbors the Massachusett and Nipmuc peoples. With the help of an intergenerational team of volunteers, we will establish informational kiosks and freestanding mini libraries throughout town — near historical markers, in public parks, and at trailheads – that will increase community awareness of Chelmsford history and help make connections between the present and the past.

The outdoor mini libraries will house assorted books written by Indigenous authors as well as books about local Indigenous nations and their history, present, and future. This project will empower Indigenous peoples within our community and beyond, and will direct residents and visitors alike to resources regarding Chelmsford history, local Indigenous nations, and the shared land on which we all work, learn, and play.

The combination of these informational kiosks and mini libraries will be promoted as a Trails and Tales adventure that will encourage community members to get outdoors, commune with nature, and visit all the locations. Community members will be able to hike the trails and bring home some informative materials from each trek. This component will particularly appeal to people 50-plus and their families as a health and wellness activity that promotes intergenerational learning and wellness.

This fall the library will also offer a connected series of programs led by and focused on Indigenous peoples as well as the significance of land acknowledgements and Indigenous-led land conservation efforts throughout the state. The program series will include author talks, creative workshops, interactive art and music events, and historical lectures by Indigenous presenters.


Concerts at MacKay 2022

This summer marks the full return of the outdoor concert series to the heart of the community in North Chelmsford! The MacKay Branch, just off of Vinal Square, has played host to outdoor music for more than twenty years, and it was a blow to have that interrupted by Covid in 2020. After a short slate of shows in 2021, this year we’ll feature weekly concerts every Wednesday night at 6:30 pm from July 6 through August 24. The series kicks off with jazz guitar by the award winning Abe Ovadia and continues with bands playing classic rock, folk, and soul music! In August, the concerts will pivot towards family fun, with acts that highlight singing and dancing for kids and library patrons of all ages. (In the event of rain, concerts will be moved to the Senior Center.)


While the MacKay Branch has been closed to the public since the beginning of the Covid crisis, it continues to be open for curbside pickup for hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and the Pop-Up Library will be available every week during the concerts. Just last month, Community Preservation funding for the branch’s needed HVAC improvements were approved at town meeting and the library is working with the town facilities department on re-opening the building, hopefully in the fall!

2022 Friends of the Library Scholarships

The newly formed CFOL Scholarship Committee received several applications for this year’s award, and all of the applicants had excellent academic records and impressive resumes. The essays of two of these applicants were exceptional, and related the impact the Chelmsford Library has had on their lives. At the June meeting of the Friends, these young women were each awarded $500 to help them with their school expenses this fall. Sarah Evans is planning to attend Grinnell College and major in Political Science and English, and Arina Kondakchyan will be attending UMass Lowell and studying Elementary Education. We wish both of these young women much success!

Friends of the Library Scholarship

The Chelmsford Friends of the  Library has $1,000 in scholarship money to be awarded to one or two Chelmsford High School graduating seniors who will be attending a 2- or 4-year college or university full-time in the fall.  Preference may be given to seniors who have had an ongoing relationship with a library/libraries or have volunteered and/or worked for a library.

  1. Scholarship(s) will be awarded annually in spring.  Details TBD.
  2. The number and value of the awards will be based upon the number and quality of applications.
  3. All decisions of the CFOL Scholarship Committee will be final.

Our intent for this scholarship money is to provide financial assistance towards the purchase of the recipient’s textbooks or other similar educational fees or expenses. Applications are available to download and print here: or through the CHS guidance office/Naviance.

Application Requirements: Scholarship applications must include the following documents:

  1. A completed application form (see Page 2). Please type or print all information where possible.
  2. Copy of your high school transcript.
  3. Copy of your CHS Secondary School Record (resume), which details your in-school and out-of-school activities.

Submit applications to:

Subject line: CFOL Scholarship Application

Application deadline: April 24, 2022  by midnight 

English Conversation Circle Volunteer Needed


What’s an English Conversation Circle? It’s a weekly group meeting where new English speakers can practice their skills. We have two each Tuesday: the morning circle is for beginners, and the afternoon for more advanced students.

We are in need of a new volunteer to run the morning, beginners’ circle. We need someone who enjoys talking to all kinds of people, building friendships and encouraging conversation among the group members. The circle is a fun, safe place where new English speakers can ask questions and learn from one another. You might have a few discussion topics planned, an article from a New Reader newsletter to share, or an English exercise to lead, but you would mostly take your cues from what the group members want to learn or talk about. Class is one hour per week starting at 10am, and prep time is estimated at less than an hour a week. You would have access to our collection of ESL materials as well as our copy machine. The group is currently meeting on Zoom, but may switch to in-person or a combination as conditions improve.

Training as an ESL teacher or tutor is preferred, and a desire to help people is a must. Previous volunteers have found this to be a very rewarding experience.

Please contact Vickie Turcotte, or 978-256-5521 x1106 for more information.