Librarian chosen to oversee ‘Teen Zone’ at Greenfield’s new library

  • Greenfield Public Library Assistant Head of Borrower Services Francesca Passiglia has been promoted to teen librarian, a new position for the library as it prepares to break ground on its new building in April. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

  • Greenfield Library’s Francesca Passiglia has been promoted to teen librarian, a new position. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 1/25/2021 7:14:07 PM

GREENFIELD — Given that the new Greenfield Public Library will feature a teen room and an increased focus on that age group, the library has developed a new teen librarian role, and has chosen Francesca Passiglia, who was most recently the assistant head of borrower services, for the position.

Mayor Roxann Wedegartner and Greenfield Public Library Director Ellen Boyer announced Friday that Passiglia will focus on community outreach and teen support in the new full-time role.

“I cannot imagine a person better suited for the library’s teen librarian position than Francesca,” Boyer said. “Our new library will feature a ‘Teen Zone’ of approximately 1,500 square feet. It will include eight computers and two dozen seats in addition to the ones at computer stations.”

There will also be a 450-square-foot makerspace in the new library that will be available for all patrons to use, but Boyer envisions teens making the most use of it.

Passiglia has already been working with a team of youth committee members to design a space that will appeal to and meet the needs of teens.

“Francesca has already established a rapport with teens and continues to solicit input from them about the design of their new space,” Boyer said. “Our local teens deserve a library staff member who respects them and enjoys their company. Francesca is just the right person.”

Passiglia, 47, who was raised in Greenfield and lives there with her teen son and daughter and her husband, John, said she is thrilled with the promotion.

“I started with the library four years ago,” she said. “I’ve held several positions, but I’ve been working with teens within the library for a while.”

She said Boyer asked her and another employee several years ago to help out with teen programming.

“Our kids were around that age, so we seemed to be the best for it,” Passiglia said. “It was a part-time project all this time, so I’m glad I can now dedicate all of my time to teens.”

Over the years, Passiglia created all types of programs for teens, including a pizza and movie night, art club, half-day lounge, graphic novel discussion club, book-to-movie program and more. She also collaborated with Greenfield High School Librarian Jessica Pollock to create a visiting author program at the school.

“I haven’t always had the time to do as much outreach as I’d like, because I was doing my other job at the library,” she said. “We’re going to have a teen room in the new library, so we’re going to be able to do so much more.”

Passiglia said she’s been working with an advisory committee of about 30 middle and high school youths who have shared ideas for their room at the new library. She looks forward to working with more youths as the new library is built and opens.

“One of my plans is to collaborate with organizations and businesses as we move forward with teen programming,” she said.

Examples would be open mic sessions at the Hawks & Reed Performing Arts Center, movies at the Garden Cinemas and events at the Franklin County YMCA.

“We want to make this a big draw for youths in Greenfield and across the county,” said Passiglia, who graduated from Greenfield High School in 1991 and received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Greenfield Public Library Assistant Director Lisa Prolman, who will supervise the new position, said what impresses her about Passiglia is her creativity in coming up with activities that teens enjoy.

“From her gaming programs to book quizzes to crafting projects, there hasn’t been one program that has not garnered interest and attention,” Prolman said. “The teen book collection is thriving, and the work she has done with the teens involved in the Library Building Committee has been inspiring. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with.”

Wedegartner said she was happy to hear about the creation and filling of the new and “important” position.

“I thank Francesca Passiglia for her service to the city and strong dedication to literacy in Greenfield,” Wedegartner said. “I thank the library for taking this initiative and for all their efforts to increase literacy in our city.”

Passiglia said one of the first things she plans to do as teen librarian is start a Teen Advisory Board, a group that would meet monthly via Zoom to discuss books the members are reading and suggest books to purchase for Greenfield Public Library’s teen collection. Youths who are interested in joining the board should email Passiglia at francesca.passiglia@greenfield-ma.gov.

Ever since her own adolescence, Passiglia said it has been a lifelong dream to make Greenfield a fun place for teens.

“I love working with teens,” she said. “There’s always something exciting happening with them.”

Reach Anita Fritz at 413-772-9591 or afritz@recorder.com.



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