July 2, 2022

Goodbye and Hello at the Essex Library

Judie McCann (center) , outgoing Head of Children’s Services for the Essex Library, surrounded by her fans and well-wishers at her recent goodbye party (photo courtesy of Jenny Tripp)

Friends, families , and colleagues gathered together recently at a going-away party to bid farewell  to Judie McCann, long-time Head of Children’s Services at the Essex Library. Ms. McCann, or “Miss Judie” as she’s known to a generation of local kids and their parents, has left to become Head of Children’s Services at Portland Library, her childhood home town.

 She leaves behind legions of young readers, whose first story times she hosted, and an energetic and able replacement in her former assistant, Jessica Branciforte, an MLS candidate at Southern Connecticut State University.  “Miss Jess’s” new assistant is Chester resident Shawn Ruffer, also an MLS candidate, the mother of two young children, and a familiar face to Chester Elementary students as a volunteer in that school’s Library.

Sticky kisses, heartfelt hugs, and crayon-illustrated goodbye cards were the order of the evening. As hard as it was to say goodbye, Judie said, “I’m completely confident that I’m leaving the Library’s kids in great hands with Jessica and Shawn. They’re both such bright, warm people, and I predict they will do great things.”