Gasrow takes over as head of children’s at Jesse Smith


BURRILLVILLE – Former teen librarian Jennifer-Lee Gasrow has been promoted to a position as head of the children’s department at Jesse M. Smith Memorial Library.

Gasrow, a 33-year-old Warwick native who currently lives in Cranston, brings past experience as a children’s librarian to the position.   

After leaving a nine-year career in banking, Gasrow served as a library assistant at Warwick Public while obtaining a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Rhode Island. She then served in an interim position as the children’s librarian at Louttit Library in West Warwick.

Gasrow was hired as the teen librarian at Jesse Smith in 2016 before receiving the promotion in July. For the past several weeks, she served in both positions, but a new teen librarian, Leslie Wasilewski took over her old job this week.

Wasilewski previously worked as the teen librarian at the West Warwick Public Library and has held positions as a library media specialist in the Warwick and Coventry school systems.

“We are impressed by Ms. Wasilewski’s experience, enthusiasm and dedication to teen services,” library officials noted in the facility’s August newsletter.

Gasrow is now settling in to the new position on the library’s second floor.

“It’s a learning process, but I’ve been a children’s librarian before, which definitely helps,” Gasrow told NRI NOW.

She replaces the library’s three-year head of children’s Lisa Stratton.

Gasrow said she plans on keeping much of the same programing in the busy department, which includes two sections of books separated by age groups, play areas and computer stations for kids, along with changing interactive and educational displays.

“There’s always something new going on up here,” Gasrow said.

Among Gasrow’s favorites is “Literacy Tale,” a bi-weekly event where children get the chance to read to therapy dogs.

“It’s a great program. I love it. Reading to a dog, there’s no pressure,” said Gasrow. “It’s a relaxed and open environment.”

The program takes place at 6 p.m.on the first Monday and fourth Thursday of every month, with the next to be held on Thursday,Aug. 23. Children sign up for 15 minute sessions with the furry visitor.

“It’s also nice for kids that don’t have dogs, because they can just hang out with one,” Gasrow said.


In keeping with the library’s summer theme, new children’s librarian Jennifer Lee Gasrow rocks out on an inflatable guitar.

But the new head of children’s says she also plans to bring new programs and energy to the lineup.

“I have a lot of ideas,” Gasrow said. “Everything’s in development right now.”

One change that is on the horizon is an adjustment to Story Time programing to include new formats including “Movers and Shakers,” and “Sensory” sessions.

Also, she said, “I’ve noticed that we need more programing for the third to fifth grade range.”

Jesse Smith Memorial Library is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday, and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

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