Johns is named new Petersham librarian

  • Amber Johns —Contributed photo

Published: 7/4/2019 9:45:14 PM
Modified: 7/4/2019 9:45:04 PM

PETERSHAM — The Petersham Memorial Library Board of Tustees has announced that Amber Johns has been named as the new Director of the library.  The Board has been searching for a new director since Jayne Arata, the director of 10 years, retired in April. Johns will be joining the library staff in early August.

Over the course of the past decade, Johns has dedicated herself to libraries. She has served as the Director of Community Services for the Morgantown Public Library System in Morgantown, West Virginia, where she was responsible for organizing educational programs and events for both children and adults across the library's five branch locations.  Most recently, she has served as the Youth Services Librarian for the Varnum Memorial Library in Jeffersonville, Vermont. During this time, she developed and created a program called STEM Knitting, which is an eight-week workshop for children in grades 4-8 that teaches algebra, geometry, coding, engineering and chemistry through the tactile application of knitting.

"Designing STEM Knitting was an incredible opportunity because I was able to teach kids one of my favorite hobbies while also providing the tools to learn and practice math and science skills,” said Johns,“It was definitely a passion project for me and so it was very exciting to realize that there was a huge demand for programs like this."


Johns holds a Master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences from the University of Pittsburgh with a focus on youth services and programming. She also holds a B.A. in English and Creative Writing from UMass Boston.

Johns  enjoyed the North Quabbin region in the past when she studied and worked at the Farm School in Athol. She holds a certificate in diversified farming from The Farm School and has spent some time tending a small flock of Katahdin sheep. 

Outside of the library, her passions include cooking, knitting, and caring for her two young children.

Johns and her husband, Aaron Kessman, are relocating to the Petersham area with their family. Kessman has accepted a job at Saint-Gobain in Northborough as a senior research engineer.

The family is looking forward to joining the Petersham area community. "It's such a beautiful town and it has such a gorgeous, historic library,” said Johns. “I truly believe that a library is the heart of any community and I'm very honored to have the opportunity to lend my support.”



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