The Members of the Board of the New Jersey Center for the Book are involved in many socially and culturally important activities. We are proud of their accomplishments.

Renee Swartz

Renee Swartz, Chairperson of the New Jersey Center for the Book, who has vigorously advocated for New Jersey’s libraries for more than forty years received the New Jersey Library Champion of the Year Award for 2012 at the New Jersey Library Association Conference in Atlantic City in June.

Click to read acceptance speech by Renee Swartz at 2012 NJ Library Association Conference

In 2004 Renee received a Presidential nomination to the Board of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). IMLS is an independent Federal grant-making agency that fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation’s 18,500 museums and 125,000 libraries through annual grants of $520 million

Mary L. Chute

Mary L. Chute officially assumed the title of New Jersey State Librarian on July 23, 2012. Mary most recently served as the Deputy Director for Libraries at the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary agency for federal funding targeted at building the capacity of the nation’s libraries and museums. She joined the Institute in Washington, D.C., in 2002 and served as the agency’s acting director from July 2005 to March 2006.

Prior to this position, Mary served as Director and State Librarian of the Delaware Division of Libraries, where she promoted the extension and improvement of statewide library services through community outreach, library automation, new technologies and resource sharing. Mary has also worked for the Maryland Division of Library Development and Services and served as Director of both the Lynnfield Library and Franklin Public Library, in Massachusetts.

Riletta Cream

Riletta Cream celebrated her 90th birthday at a scholarship fund-raiser attended by more than 300 on November 21, 2016 to give back to the city she adores by helping Camden students pursue dreams of a college education. Organizers hoped to raise $10,000 for Cream’s scholarship fund. Cream scholarship offers $1,000 scholarships to four graduates of Camden high schools. She also has contributed to scholarships at Camden County College and Rowan University. The guests at the scholarship fundraiser included former teachers, administrators, and political figures.

From elementary school teacher to Principal of Camden High, her many former students consider her their “living legend and hometown hero.” Today, a city elementary school bears her name, as well as a library she helped get built on Ferry Avenue – the first public library in Camden for over 100 years.

On her retirement from education, Cream was appointed to the Camden County Freeholder Board in 1997 and left public life when she retired from the Freeholder Board in February 2011, just shy of completing her fifth term.

Dagmar Finkle

EMAnj/NJ Association of School Librarians Past President now serves on the Board of the New Jersey Center for the Book.

Dagmar Finkle, a retired school librarian, has taught in New Jersey schools. She served as president of EMANJ/NJASL in 1995 and continues to be an active member of the Professional Development and Research Committee and Finance Committee.

She has been awarded the EMAnj/NJASL Certificate for Extraordinary Service as a Leader in Providing Professional Development to the Educational Media Association of New Jersey (1998), EMAnj/NJASL President’s Award (1999), the William A. Peterson Award, presented by the Union Middlesex Association of School Librarians (UMASL) (2007), and Teacher of the Year, Middlesex County Vocational and Technical High School, Perth Amboy Campus (2009).

She currently serves as secretary for the New Jersey Center for The Book and supports its mission – “to celebrate books, reading, libraries, and the diverse literary heritage of New Jersey.”

Gus Friedrich

Inducted into the Central States Communication Association Hall of Fame

The Board of the NJ Center for the Book announces with great pride that Board member Dr. Gus Friedrich was inducted into the Central States Communication Association Hall of Fame on April 16, 2010.

The inscription on the plaque presented to Dr. Friedrich reads,” In recognition of his significant contributions to the field of Communication Studies and the Central States Communication Association.”

Dr. Friedrich, Professor II at Rutgers University and until 2008 the Dean of the School of Communication, Information, and Library Studies, is a Past President and Executive Director of CSCA. He is also Past President of the National Communication Association (NCA). Within the Communication discipline, he is also credited with being the founder of research in Communication Education. It was Friedrich who gave the New Jersey Center for the Book its home at Rutgers, the first time in the nation that a Center was located in a university.

Phyllis Anker

Books For Our Deployed Troops

Many of our servicemen and women are deployed in areas where they do not have ready access to books. There are several websites that post requests from all branches of the military and all ranks. Two of the sites are Books for Soldiers and Operation Paperback Requests may be for a particular title, books by a favorite author, a specific genre, or a request to “send anything”. Children’s books are also requested for parents to record themselves reading the books and then send the books and DVD/CD home to their children.

We have received many letters of appreciation including comments such as, “It really is wonderful to know that others care about how we are doing over here.”

This project is supported by the Friends of the Hickory Corner Branch of the Mercer County Library. Many books donated to our library are sold at a book sale. The books that we send to the military are ones that are left-over after our sale.

Betty J. Turock

ALA Past President Betty J. Turock Donates $100,000 to Spectrum Presidential Initiative

BOSTON – ALA Past President Betty J. Turock has provided a gift of $100,000 to the Spectrum Scholarship Program on behalf of the Turock Family as part of the 2010 Spectrum Presidential Initiative. Turock’s gift will be used to provide scholarships to Master of Library Science candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups.

The $1 million will allow the American Library Association to double the number of Spectrum Scholarships awarded over the next few years, provide two Spectrum Doctoral Fellowships and build the Spectrum Endowment to ensure this important program’s future. Turock serves as chair of the Spectrum Presidential Initiative.

Turock has been an active ALA member for many years. She served as ALA president (1995-96), a councilor, a member of the ALA Board and numerous other committees. Throughout her years of service to ALA and its various units, Turock has been committed to broadening the association’s diversity efforts. She served on the ALA Minority Concerns and Cultural Diversity Committee and chaired ALA President-elect Sarah Long’s Special Advisory Committee on the Spectrum Campaign, which began raising funds for the Spectrum Scholarship. Since its founding, Turock and her family have provided several gifts to the Spectrum Scholarship program, including the creation of the Betty J. Turock Scholarship in 2001.

Turoch was also a 2006 recipient of the American Library Association (ALA) Joseph W. Lippincott Award, which recognizes an individual for distinguished service to the profession of librarianship.

Wilma Grey

After forty-six years of devoted service and significant accomplishments at the Newark Public Library, Wilma Grey, Director of the NPL, retired at the end of 2015. Wilma demonstrated her leadership and administrative skills in placing the library as a significant contributor to the education and enrichment of the citizens of Newark. She focused on services across a wide array of user-centered programs from reference, to literacy programs for children and adults, to services to the impaired and disabled, to outreach to diverse cultural and ethnic groups, and to strengthening branch libraries through renovation and refurbishments. Congratulations to Wilma!