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Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Library to be honored by state agency this morning

Published in the Courier News, Tuesday, November 27, 2007

City library honored by Humanities Council


PLAINFIELD -- The New Jersey Council for the Humanities is set to present a bundle of 36 books to the Plainfield Public Library in recognition of the facility's programming, growing collection of diversity studies material and wide selection of local history texts.

The library is one of only five in the state to receive the council's full 2007 collection, which consists of recent nonfiction humanities works either written by New Jersey authors or written about state-related topics.

The council chose Newsweek columnist and Montclair resident Jonathan Alter's 'The Defining Moment: FDR's Hundred Days and the Triumph of Hope' as its featured work.

The other award-winning libraries are Gloucester City Library, the Library Company of Burlington, Middletown Township Public Library and West Orange Public Library.

"This is clearly a library that's energetic and accomplishing a great deal with -- as we know -- limited resources, because that's simply the case with libraries," Jane Brailove Rutkoff, the council's executive director, said of the Plainfield Public Library. Rutkoff is scheduled to present the book collection to library directors and city officials at an 11 a.m. gathering at the library.

Library Director Joseph Dr Rold said in the 13 years he's worked at the facility, staff members never applied for the award. But this year, as the library's diversity studies collection continues to build, Da Rold said the time was right to pen a nomination letter.

"Despite the other fine aspects of our library, the book collection remains a proud cornerstone of our institution," Da Rold wrote in his award application. "Plainfield Public Library has been the research library of choice for students and writers in this are of Central Jersey. Our collection of New Jersey materials has great historical depth, and our local history collection is the largest in Union County."

Da Rold said the library has pushed for a more diverse selection of material -- which has grown to include about 500 items -- to reflect the range of people it serves. That means emphasizing works by gay, black and Hispanic authors, among others, Da Rold said.

Adding the council's books to the library's shelves will save the cash-strapped facility money and allow it to offer mor scholarly texts to is patrons, Da Rold said. Texts in the council's 2007 collection include, 'Wonderful Blood: Theology and Practice in Later Medieval Northern Germany and Beyond,' and 'Oliver Wendell Holmes in Paris: Medicine, Theology, and the Autocrat.'

"Funds are tight these days, and they're obviously well-considered books," Da Rold said.

Transcribed from print edition by DD; there is no online story.

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