hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA


January 2, 2014

Remembering Sara Jaffarian


We opted to return another day and continue the task. That day never arrived, finding her home empty and unattended. If only we had acted sooner.

“Memory, just like life, is fragile,” Thomasian pointed out. “In a puff of time, it is gone. Unfortunately, we often value memory most after we have lost it.”

The two women both shared a common thread, as alumnae of Simmons College. While Sara was enrolled in the Graduate School of Library and Information Science during World War II, Ruth had done her graduate work in Communication Management.

Sara didn’t stop there, securing a master’s degree in education from Boston University. A bachelor’s degree in social studies from Bates University started her academic career after graduating from Haverhill High School in 1933.

She began her career as a librarian in the Quincy School System, later serving as director of libraries in North Carolina and supervisor of libraries in Seattle, Wash., before returning to her home state to develop a school library program in Lexington.

Once she started, she never stopped, as one book led to another geared toward the enrichment of youth.

Few, if any, made such an indelible impact in libraries throughout the country. For 63 years, she remained an active member of the American Library Association. An award she presented annually recognized, promoted and supported excellence in humanities programming throughout elementary and middle school libraries.

The award carried a $4,000 cash allotment, a plaque and the promotion of the winning school as a model program for other institutions. Recent recipients have come from schools in Chicago, Kansas, Illinois, Texas, West Virginia and Massachusetts.

Moreover, the award also provided training for school librarians across the country. She took the initiative to promote a school library to the next level, exciting students, bringing in parents and getting the attention of administrators and community leaders.

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