Appointed permanent Library Director




LYNNFIELD — A familiar face will be leading the Lynnfield Public Library well into the future.

The Board of Library Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Abigail Porter as the library’s permanent director on June 2. Porter, who was appointed as acting director in August 2021, succeeds former Library Director Jennifer Inglis.

“I am very excited to officially take on the role of director,” Porter stated in an email sent to the Villager. “I’ve felt ready to move up in library administration for a while, and Lynnfield is such a wonderful community. The library staff, the Board of Library Trustees and town officials are great to work with, so I feel very lucky to continue my career here. We have a lot of exciting challenges and opportunities coming up, and I am excited to get started.”

Board of Library Trustees Chairman Robert Calamari said in an interview with the Villager that the trustees are “very excited that Abby has accepted our offer to become library director.” He said she will be earning a $100,000 salary.

“Abby has been instrumental in successfully leading the library through the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Calamari. “She has a great opportunity to lead the library’s next phase of growth as we pursue a new building supported by our pending construction grant.”

Calamari recalled that the Library Trustees formed the Library Director Search Committee last year that consisted of representatives from the trustees, town officials, Friends of the Lynnfield Library and residents.

“We also retained Amanda Fauver as a third-party consultant,” said Calamari. “The job was posted, and we got over 10 applicants. Amanda screened all of the applicants, and the search committee interviewed five candidates.”

Calamari said the search committee named Porter, Boxford Town Library Director Kevin Bourque and Watertown Free Public Library Children’s Services Supervisor Emily Miranda as the three finalists for the library director job. He said the Library Trustees interviewed the three candidates during a June 2 meeting, and unanimously voted to appoint Porter as permanent director during a June 7 meeting.

“I called Abby that same night,” said Calamari. “We executed the contract on June 23.”

Calamari recalled that Porter was appointed as the library’s assistant director/head of adult services in June 2019. She was appointed as the library’s acting director in August 2021.

Porter said the library building project is going to be a major focus area moving forward.

“The building project is at the forefront of my mind,” said Porter. “During the height of the pandemic, the staff and I realized all of the services we could have been able to provide with a different building set up. It brought home what we need to better serve Lynnfield: An outdoor programming space that is safely tucked away from traffic, a large meeting space for events like concerts, author talks and movie nights where everyone can be noisy without disrupting other library patrons, and study rooms for community members to privately work and would allow for Zoom calls. We desperately need a dedicated teen space for teens to study and relax after school, as well as a children’s event space so we can comfortably have events like Story Time without worrying about noisy construction and yard work if we hold it outside or space constraints if we have it in the current Children’s Room or the Meeting House. The library is for people, and we need space for those people.”

Calamari said Porter is “ready to lead the library building project’s campaign.”

Porter said the library will continue providing “excellent customer service” for patrons.

“The Lynnfield Public Library is a warm and welcoming place, and the staff and I always do our best to keep it that way,” said Porter. “I also want to make library services more accessible to everyone as well as more sustainable environmentally. I also love working with our community partners such as the Recycling Committee, A Healthy Lynnfield, the Tree Committee and Lynnfield for Love, among others. I hope to expand those partnerships in the coming years to make sure we are providing the services the community needs and wants.”

In addition to the building project, Calamari said Porter will be focusing on hiring a new assistant director and updating the library’s strategic plan.

Porter previously worked as the head of reference at the Haverhill Public Library. She served as the teen librarian at the Tiverton Public Library in Rhode Island, and was the teen librarian at the Abbot Public Library in Marblehead.

The library director received a master of science in Library Science and a master of arts in Children’s Literature, both of which were from Simmons College. She earned a bachelor of arts degree in Creative Writing from Valparaiso University in Indiana.

Porter is originally from St. Louis, Missouri.

“My parents still live there,” said Porter. “I have one brother who lives in Japan. My husband is from Swampscott, and we have two sons who are 1 and almost 4.”