Renowned philanthropist John Byrnes appears in a frame capture from the video he and wife Mollie allowed the Sawyer Library Foundation to produce and release today, December 1, in support of the Sawyer Free 2025 capital campaign.

An updated architect’s rendering, released last month, looks northwest from Mason Street at the new Sawyer Free Library. It depicts angled portions of corbeled brick, which echo the existing corbelling between the windows at each floor of the original building. “With this newly added detail, we’re trying to reinterpret some of the elements of the Monell structure that people like, and this repetition of vertically grouped windows with a projected frame around them, along with the corbeled brick, makes for some interesting play of light and shadow.”

Sawyer Free 2025 (visit, the philanthropic capital campaign to fund a comprehensive renovation, modernization and expansion of Cape Ann’s oldest public library, is proud to announce the December 1 release of a new video featuring John and Mollie Byrnes in support of the campaign. As two of Gloucester’s leading philanthropists who generously support charitable and nonprofit causes across Cape Ann and beyond, the Byrnes’ imprimatur comes at an ideal time for the Sawyer Library Foundation, which has one month remaining to meet a $100,000 challenge grant by a private family foundation. 

Since the matching-gift challenge’s October 18 launch, Gloucester has come together to donate more than $58,000 of the $100,000 goal. The Byrnes video can be viewed on the landing page or on the campaign’s YouTube channel, Sawyer Library Foundation 2025. 

“We like to support organizations that put money where it really makes a difference in people’s lives and the (new) Sawyer Library will make a difference in people’s lives,” said John Byrnes. “The various programming the library provides and the fact that it’s a community gathering space—that’s going to really help raise people up.”

Sawyer Free Library provides a lifeline of resources serving people from all walks of life, but it’s beset by severe limitations of space, navigation, technology and mobility device access. While our colleagues at the Sawyer Free Library continue to provide the best possible services and programming for our entire community, Sawyer Free 2025 is committed to rallying all of Cape Ann to support the campaign to remake our beloved institution so the space will finally reflect the amazing things that happen within the building.

“The library is a wonderful community asset … and it’s time,” said Mollie Byrnes. “Buildings don’t last forever. A lot of people don’t want to be ‘the first,’ then as they get used to the idea some change is happening and it really is good and they see enough other people buying into the idea and supporting it financially, they come around. I want this library to be a good part of this community.”

“(The Byrnes) know what they’re about in this world and they consistently give to things they care about,” said Beth Graham, a member of the Sawyer Library Foundation Steering Committee, a retired development executive and a Unitarian minister. “When I think of the Byrnes and Sawyer Free Library, so much of what they care about is embedded in this institution’s mission and in what we do every day as an organization.”

The Sawyer Free 2025 campaign is a transformational investment in Gloucester’s future. The time-restricted, dollar-for-dollar match offer by a fund that wishes to remain anonymous represents a can’t-miss opportunity. If Gloucester and the surrounding Cape Ann community can raise that sum by midnight on December 31, the new library project will receive a matching gift of $100,000. 

The most advanced Western democracies have embraced the fact that modern libraries are a nexus of education, community, innovation, economic advancement, technology, wellness, civic engagement, assimilation, belonging, preventative care, climate justice, lifelong learning, research and free programming. Gloucester deserves to be part of this revolution.

The Sawyer Free 2025 project’s total cost is $29 million, a sum that includes built-in inflation costs through the completion of the project in 2025. The Sawyer Library Foundation, the fundraising arm of the campaign, has already secured $15.25 million in pledged donations and grant awards, including $1 million in donations in the first 150 days following the public launch of the campaign this past May. 

✓ How do contact Sawyer Free 2025?

Call 978.225.0363 or 978.225.0915

Facebook: Sawyer Free 2025

Instagram: Sawyer Free 2025

YouTube: Sawyer Library Foundation 2025

✓ How Do I Give to Sawyer Free 2025?

  • Visit
  • Text to donate: Text “325182” to 1-855-575-7888 and select an amount
  • Checks: SF2025, 2 Dale Ave., Gloucester, 01930 (Checks payable to: “Sawyer Library Foundation”)
  • Volunteer! Reach out if you want to pitch in at the library or with the capital campaign, either in person or virtually. Help your neighbors, serve your community and share your expertise. No matter what kind of volunteer work you do for us, you are contributing in invaluable ways.


Sawyer Library Foundation is a tax-exempt, 501(c)(3) organization. Its Determination Letter issued by the IRS can be viewed at SFL2025’s EIN is: 84-2837206.

One thought on “Renowned philanthropist John Byrnes appears in a frame capture from the video he and wife Mollie allowed the Sawyer Library Foundation to produce and release today, December 1, in support of the Sawyer Free 2025 capital campaign.

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