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Updated: August 22, 2022 / 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022

40 Under Forty 2022: Jason Homer

Photo | Erika Sidor Jason Homer
Photo | Erika Sidor 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022 winners (from left): Jason Homer, Katia Norford, Hana Lasell, Eric Kneeland at the Worcester Public Library (special thanks to Jason Homer).
Jason Homer, 35
  • Title Executive director
  • Company Worcester Public Library
  • Residence Marlborough
  • Birthplace Stoughton
  • Colleges Simmons University, Stonehill College
Click here to read about the other 40 Under Forty, Class of 2022
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Starting a new job is hard work, but taking charge of Worcester's public library system in the middle of a pandemic seems unfathomable. That is what Homer did, and he did so with great success and grace.

WPL has more than 100 staff members working at six branches. Its main branch on Salem Street was undergoing a $13-million renovation, its first in 20 years when Homer took his position. The library remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic, and staff dealt with people unwilling to take precautions against the virus. Homer stood by his staff, while helping to coordinate vaccine clinics at the library, increasing access to underserved communities.

Libraries have increasingly become a political target, with politicians and activists calling for the banning of books. Meanwhile, the city leans heavily on libraries to provide not only access to information, but for a place to go when temperatures become dangerous. Homer meets these challenges gladly. He has overseen new programs to reach out to the community, like the library’s annual block party, and a fundraiser this past May that transformed the library into a mini-golf course. 

What four people would you take on a 10-year, deep-space mission? A motley crew of my husband Matt, Dolly Parton, LaVar Burton and Ms. Frizzle, who would naturally be our captain.

Who is most responsible for the person you are today? When I reflect on the privileges I have and have not fought for, I think of heroes like Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera.

What person would you like to meet in the next 15 years? The current Librarian of Congress, Carla Hayden, who continues to push boundaries and challenges us all to address inequities in access to information.

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