The needler in the haystack.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Library board aims to continue excellence with new director


Library Director designee Mary Ellen Rogan in the library's
main reading room. Public access to the Internet has transformed
user expectations of public libraries, including Plainfield's.

Plainfield Public Library board president Anne Robinson says the 123-year-old institution aims to continue the library's tradition of excellence under newly appointed director Mary Ellen Rogan.

"The Library's trustees aim to continue the Plainfield Library's long tradition of excellence with this appointment," said Robinson in a phone interview. "The bar has been set very high by Joe Da Rold's excellent management over the past twenty-one years, and we are looking forward to Ms. Rogan's continuing and extending that leadership."

Rogan, who has been the library's Assistant Director since 2009, was selected from a field of about a dozen candidates who were considered for the job. The pool included candidates from as far away as Michigan and Florida as well as New Jersey, and many had extensive library management experience. Several applicants made it to a final round of visits to Plainfield and face-to-face interviews.

A Phi Beta Kappa honors graduate of Brooklyn College, Rogan got her master's degree in library science from Columbia University, magna cum laude. She pursued her career in the New York Public Library (NYPL) where her final position was Assistant Director of Special Formats Processing. In that role, she was responsible for processing and cataloging of maps, rare books, photographs and other special formats. She was also a  member of One NYPL, the team responsible for reorganizing the New York Public Library system. While at the NYPL, Rogan was responsible for developing and executing multi-million dollar budgets.

Along the way, she gained a significant background in the historical and cultural importance of New York's theatrical world as Senior Archivist of the NYPL's Billy Rose Theatre Division. Among her publications are studies on performing arts libraries, processing the New York Shakespeare Festival archives and the impact of the AIDS epidemic on performing arts archival collections.

Rogan is a member of the New Jersey Library Association's Urban Libraries Section as well as its History and Preservation Committee. She also serves on the LMxAC technical services committee and is the Director's Designee to the Libraries of Union County (LUCC).

She is an often sought out presenter on archival and genealogical topics, offering advice on such topics as the care of family Bibles and their records, as well as organizing and preserving personal papers.

Her work on the Shakespeare Festival Archives led to invitations to present that story to both the American Library Association convention and the Theatre Library Association.

Her personal and professional interests intersect in her service as the state vice-chair of Lineage Research for the Daughters of the American Revolution and as New Jersey registrar for the Daughters of 1812.

Rogan assumes the directorship of the Plainfield Public Library on September 1. Retiring Director Joe Da Rold will be honored for his distinguished career and service to Plainfield at an event at the Plainfield Country Club set for October. I will be posting more on that later.

FULL DISCLOSURE: I served as a Trustee of the Plainfield Public Library at the time the search first began, but had left the Board before any candidates were reviewed or interviewed by the Board of Trustees.


  -- Dan Damon [follow]


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