Novas, Jessica V. Vilas
Lawrence Public Library
Jessica V. Vilas Novas currently serves as the Director of the Lawrence Public Library. She is responsible for the planning and supervision of the operations of both branches, overseeing the development of library policies, programs, procedures and managing a $1.6M budget and a staff of over 25. Jessica has focused her role on re-envisioning the Library to be a community hub for the arts, culture, and life-long learning. She was appointed to the Director role by the Library Board of Trustees in the fall of 2016. Prior to joining the Library, Jessica spent years working in the medical field in Boston and Los Angeles before discovering her passion for community engagement and desire to provide equitable access for all. Her introduction to nonprofit was at UTEC in Lowell, where she discovered many of the tools she uses today in her work. For a couple years, she led an intergenerational community writing group out of El Taller in downtown Lawrence, drawing dozens of Lawrence residents and residents from nearby towns to weekly meet ups. Jessica currently serves as Board President of the Lawrence-based youth development and social justice focused art nonprofit, Elevated Thought, Inc.
A Lawrencian, Jessica is raising her baby Ava and stepson Jordan with her husband Will in Lawrence with a view of City Hall from their window. She enjoys traveling, hiking, dining, and spending time with the family.
Jessica graduated from Northeastern University with a B.S. in Biology, and also holds an M.Ed in Community Engagement from Merrimack College and a MS in Library Science from Simmons University. She recently earned a certificate in nonprofit management and leadership from Tufts University through the Institute for Nonprofit Practice program.