John Jermain Community Rallies Around Children’s Librarian

Susann Farrell with Wally, the reading dog, at the John Jermain Memorial Library. Courtesy of JJML
Susann Farrell with Wally, the reading dog, at the John Jermain Memorial Library. Courtesy of JJML

By Christine Sampson

The community is rallying around the beloved children’s librarian at John Jermain Memorial Library, who was recently diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer.

A GoFundMe crowd funding campaign has been launched to support Susann Farrell, who has worked in the children’s room at JJML for 12 years, and who “is just so amazing,” according to JJML’s director, Catherine Creedon.

As of Wednesday morning — just two days into the fundraiser, which was started by Ms. Farrell’s friend Tanya Poole — close to 140 donors had raised more than $11,400. The goal is to raise at least $15,000. In an email, Ms. Farrell said, “I feel the love!”

“I am so overwhelmed with the support of the community with the fundraiser,” she said. “I thought my friend Tanya had set it way too high. But the reality is, we will need it to help pay medical bills not covered by insurance, gas and car wear and tear going back and forth to treatment, which will be at the Imbert Cancer Center in Bay Shore, as well as bills and daily needs. … This extra will make all the difference in the world.”

Ms. Farrell, who taught at an elementary school in New Jersey before starting her family and later becoming a children’s librarian, has been unable to work since the beginning of April.

“Susann just brings this incredible well of joy to everything she does,” Ms. Creedon said. “The kids in the community benefit from it, but staff-wise, it’s been really hard for the staff not to have her joyful presence here in the library.”

Ms. Farrell lives in Riverhead with her husband, Jamie, and two teenagers, Catherine and James. She is also a volunteer with SAVES Inc., an organization that traps, neuters and releases feral cats and encourages adoption of cats and kittens. She said she is currently on an oxygen system at home.

“I’m not doing anything, but just moving around my house makes it extremely hard to breathe,” she said. “Climbing the stairs to take a bath is an adventure.”

Ms. Creedon credited Ms. Farrell with impacting so many families in and around Sag Harbor. She credited the popular children’s librarian with building robust reading programs, preschool story time and more.

“It’s immeasurable,” Ms. Creedon said. “She in every way has touched so many families in this community.”

The GoFundMe campaign to help Ms. Farrell can be found at