Literary Lion Award – 2019

Published On: December 2nd, 2019

The NJ Center for the Book was pleased to honor six individuals with its Literary Lion award for 2019 at its Board meeting on November 6, 2019. These individuals were recognized for their service and advocacy for literacy and literacy programs across the state and beyond. Below are excerpts from their awards.

Photo left to right: Anne Ciliberti, Cathy Picarello, Trinka Noble, Renee Swartz (Board Chair), Will Mara, Sharon Rawlins.

Mary Chute, New Jersey State Librarian

Distinguished Library Professional

New Jersey State Librarian since 2012

Encouraging the highest standard of excellence in libraries, state government and services to those with special needs.

Deputy Director and skillful administrator at the Institute of Museum and Library Services in Washington, D.C. 2005-2006.

A strong advocate and supporter of the New Jersey Center for the Book


Dr. Anne Ciliberti, Dean Emerita, Cheng Library, William Paterson LInrary, Wayne, New Jersey

Distinguished Library Professional

University Librarian Emerita, William Paterson University, Wayne, New Jersey

Key Contributor to the Establishment of VALE, New Jersey’s State-Wide Academic Library Consortium

A Life-long Advocate for Academic Leadership

A Skilled Grants Writer, Webmaster and Dedicated Board Member


Wil Mara, New Jersey Author

Distinguished New Jersey Author of over 300 books of awe inspiring fiction and non-fiction for adults and children.

Gifted creator and director of the ‘Jersey Trackers’ digital New Jersey-serial 16 chapter mystery story series.

Charismatic writer and MC for the New Jersey Center for the Book, encouraging intellectual curiosity, love of literature, reading, and learning to legions of young adults.


Trinka Noble, Author and Illustrator, NJ Connection

Prolific New Jersey author, artist and illustrator of children’s books.

Recipient of the New Jersey Outstanding Woman of Arts and Letters award in 2002.

Featured author on the PBS children’s program in 2004,2005,and 2006.

Recipient of the 2016 Author of the Year Award from the New Jersey Association of School Librarians. Chapter author for the Center for the Book’s Jersey Trackers serial story.

Dedicated New Jersey Center for the Book Board member.


Kathy Picarello, Reading Specialist, Retired, East Hanover Middle School, Retired Library Consultant

Life-long advocate for children and literacy,

Distinguished teacher encouraging intellectual curiosity and love of reading literature, reading and learning to legions of young adults through three generations.

A gifted creator of exhibits for the New Jersey Center for the book to showcase state and national literacy at the National Book Festival in Washington, DC.

Dedicated Board member for the Center of the Book.

Sharon Rawlins, Youth Services Consultant and Librarian, NJ State Library

New Jersey State Library Youth Services Specialist for Youth Services

New Jersey Library Association Librarian of the Year 2019

Distinguished library professional, life-long advocate for literacy for children and young adults

Creative, dedicated, passionate, inspired Past-President in 2017 of the Collaborative Summer Library Program for children, teens and adults

In recognition and appreciation for exemplary service to the New Jersey Center for the Book