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    Roxbury Public Library Director Radwa Ali Finds New Job

    By TAPinto Roxbury and Karen Cerreta,

    26 days ago

    Radwa Ali

    Credits: TAPinto Roxbury

    ROXBURY, NJ - Roxbury Public Library Director Radwa Ali, hired in 2017 and credited with creatively transforming many aspects of the library, will leave the job in late July to take a similar position in Montclair, the library announced today.

    It said Ali has accepted a position as director of the Montclair Public Library and has set July 19 as her last day in Roxbury.


    "During her tenure, Radwa has been a transformative leader, spearheading numerous initiatives that have significantly enhanced the library's services, community engagement and overall impact," said the library. "Her innovative vision and dedication have left an indelible mark on the library and the Roxbury community."

    Quoted in the announcement, Roxbury Library Trustees President Aldo Palma also praised the departing director.

    "Radwa has been an outstanding director whom the Roxbury Community truly loves, and she will be truly missed by myself and the board of trustees of the Roxbury Public Library," Palma said.

    The library listed a number of "remarkable achievements" that took place under Ali:


    Dramatic Increase in Circulation and Program Attendance: Thanks to the focus on digital curation and the bookstore browsing model, the library's collection circulation saw a 72% increase. Program attendance also soared 147% over the years due to a concerted commitment to quality programming, strategic staff restructuring, and enhanced marketing efforts.

    Recognition & Service: Radwa received the 2020 American Library Association Gale Cengage Learning Financial Development Award, the 2021 Roxbury Rotary Club Service Above Self Award, and in 2022 was named Business Person of the Year by the Roxbury Chamber of Commerce. She held numerous leadership positions both in local organizations (Roxbury Rotary Club executive board, Roxbury Economic Development Committee) and in regional professional associations (New Jersey Library Association, Main Library Alliance).

    Innovative Fundraising and Community Programs: Radwa facilitated the launch of the Roxbury Library Foundation, which, through the collective efforts of its dedicated members, raised $450,000 in under three years. She also supported the Friends of the Library in initiating the "Paint & Sip" art classes and establishing the Novel Boutique Bookstore and Friendly Cafe.

    Passport Program and Library of Things: Under Radwa’s guidance, the Roxbury Library became an official US Passport Facility. The Roxbury Library has also curated one of the largest and most versatile Library of Things in the state.

    Community Engagement and Cultural Events: Radwa and the Library staff's collaborative efforts with various community groups led to the debut of Roxbury's first Juneteenth Celebration, Arts Festival, Pride Celebration, and Hispanic Heritage Festival, fostering a sense of inclusivity and cultural appreciation in the community.

    Strengthening Community Partnerships: Radwa worked closely with the Roxbury Woman's Club, Rotary Club, Chamber of Commerce, and Roxbury Economic Development Committee to foster strong community ties. Her efforts in encouraging a culture of collaboration and partnership extended to other Roxbury institutions such as Common Grounds, the Roxbury Arts Alliance, Art Association, Girl & Boy Scouts and Senior groups.

    Staff Development and Customer Service Excellence: Over the last seven years. Radwa hired most of the current library staff, fostering a team known for its outstanding customer service and active presence in the town. Her leadership and focus on staff development have created a welcoming and supportive environment for both staff and patrons.

    Pandemic Response and Community Support: During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Roxbury Public Library made outstanding contributions to the community under Radwa’s leadership. The library staff conducted wellness checks on the township's oldest residents, ensuring their well-being during isolation. The library organized volunteers to sew over 1,000 masks, which were dropped off at the library's book drop and personally delivered by staff during the critical periods when masks were scarce.

    The library also said Ali was "instrumental in enhancing the library's technological capabilities, from rebuilding the library's website to implementing the highly successful 'Book It!' initiative, which automatically delivers new books from patrons' favorite authors."

    Quoted in the announcement, Ali said she was appreciative of the support she received during her years in at the helm of the library.

    "Serving the Roxbury community has been one of the greatest honors of my career," said Ali. "I am incredibly proud of what we have achieved together and am confident that the library will continue to thrive and innovate. The spirit of collaboration and partnership we have fostered will undoubtedly continue to benefit the community."

    The Roxbury Public Library Board of Trustees will soon begin the search for a new director, said the statement. It pledged that during this transition, the staff will continue to provide exceptional service to the community.

    “I have had the pleasure of working with Radwa as the Town Council’s liaison," said Roxbury Councilman Bob DeFillippo. "Her contributions have helped transform our library into a vibrant community resource. She will be hard to replace, and we wish her all the best as she begins this new challenge.”

    Related TAPinto Roxbury coverage:

    Roxbury Library Director to be Business Person of the Year

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