Grit & Grace: Jan Dempsey

“I grew up on a small farm in Vermont where our closest neighbor lived a half mile away. The landscape was extraordinary and Vermont is still my favorite state. I always cherished books, learning and literature, so a trip
to the public or school library was an adventure of discovery for me. I was so excited when I realized that the purpose of the public library was to provide all people with an equal opportunity for literacy and lifelong learning. As a public librarian, I wake up every day knowing that what I do supports the common good and it is a privilege to work in this supportive community.

When I am not at work, I enjoy spending time outside, whether I am hiking or working in my garden. The bird feeder and the bee hives are fascinating to me and plants are incredible. I have fun spending time with my grandchildren and watching their personalities unfold.

At the library, my staff and I value camaraderie and a few laughs during the day. It is not healthy to take ourselves too seriously. For example, I set off the security alarm when I completed a tour of the Library of Congress because I had a Hamilton-Wenham barcoded library book in my purse. My children doubled over in laughter while watching me sputter about my innocence to the security team. Well, doesn’t everyone keep a library book at the ready?

Each day I find so much for which to be grateful and I look to God for direction in my life and try to listen to His counsel. ‘The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart.’ Psalm 19:8 “

Jan Dempsey has been the Director of the Hamilton-Wenham Library for fourteen years. She will retire this spring to spend more time with her grandchildren, volunteer work, and protecting our pollinators.