When Jane and Michael Banks advertised for the perfect nanny, Mary Poppins appeared and brought a wondrous world of adventure and learning, growth and sharing, laughter and singing — plus a run on the Bank of England. When the Lambertville library advertised for a Children’s Librarian in December 2001, Jennifer Sirak appeared and brought that same twinkling magic — minus the bank run of course.
“Miss Jen” has memorably touched the lives of a generation of children, enchanting them with the wonders of books, often through imaginative costume and make-believe. At the Potterpalooza, Miss Jen in her wizard hat and gown guided children through the mysterious ritual of the Sorting Hat. Miss Jen in her conductor hat made the trains run during Thomas the Tank Engine Day each year. In her fire helmet, she assembled Lambertville fire engines for kids to explore for Every Hero Has a Story. For a Universe of Stories, she brought the marvel of planets and stars into close focus through telescopes. With sleek broomsticks at the ready, she staged Quidditch tournaments for kids to seek the Golden Snitch. Already by 2005, Miss Jen had won the prestigious New York Times Librarian Award for attracting 400 children to the library over eight weeks for magical hours of music and reading.
Whether in hippie head-band for the Libraries Rock block party, in a superwoman cape, in a pirate hat, or a wizard hat, over 20 years Jen has worn a lot of hats, literally and figuratively. With the 2020 retirement of Harold Dunn, Jen was the perfect fit for the Director’s hat. And, just like Frosty the Snowman in his old silk hat, in her big new hat, Jen is making even more magic at the library.