Biographies of Hall of Famers
New England School Library Association Hall of Fame
Susan D. Ballard - NH Served twice as President and has edited/co-edited VIEWS for many years and is an active member of AASL serving on the Board, and as a member and chair of various committee’s and task forces. The Londonderry School District program, of which she has been the long-time Director, received the SLMPY from AASL. She is also a former NHEMA President and has represented her state and region as an AASL Affiliate delegate and is frequent presenter at numerous conferences.
Jean Battey - VT Worked tirelessly for NEEMA as a co-chair of NEEMA's Book Examination Day held
in Worcester, MA for many years and as Vermont’s long-time representative to the NEEMA Board.
Susan Bryan – RI Susan not only serve as the Library Director for the Cranston Public Schools but she has also served as an elementary school principal. Wearing two hats, she is constantly advocating for quality library programs. A former RIEMA and NEEMA President, she served on the board of AASL as the Region 1 Director.
Rheta Clark - CT A former President of AASL and member of the NEEMA Board as its Historian for
many years. Rheta was best known among Connecticut school librarians for the support and inspiration
given them through her work as School Library Consultant, Connecticut State Department of Education
beginning in 1944. She was one of the first to hold such a position in New England, as well as in all of the United States, and her reputation went everywhere. It has been said that while others talked, Rheta listened. Recipient of AASL’s President’s Award (now called Distinguished Service Award), author of many publications, and an involved leader, it is no wonder her name appears in a variety of Who’s Who and biographical dictionaries.
Helen Colby - NH A visionary from New Hampshire who established NEEMA Tri-Track -- school
librarians, teachers and students --- working together at several summer institutes held at the University
of New Hampshire and Rhode Island College to encourage talented students to become school librarians.
Bill Decker - Vendor New England's representative for BRODART who sponsored and paid for
NEEMA' Book Examination Day held in Worcester, MA for many years.
Valerie Diggs – MA Has served MSLA in many capacities including as the Chair of the Standards
Committee, Co-Chair of Learning4Life and delegate to AASL’s Affiliate Assembly. Has represented MSLA
as representative to NESLA and elected Director for AASL Region. Valerie is a frequent presenter at the
state, regional and national level and has written extensively on the subject of Learning Commons. She is
also an adjunct faculty member at Simmons College, Boston, MA.
Marion S. Dubrawski - MA A former President of NEEMA Marion served on many committees and
worked tirelessly for NEEMA throughout the years and was also very active in AASL and AECT.
Rolf Erikson – MA Rolf designed the NEEMA logo. He also co-authored a book for ALA with Carolyn
Markuson on library facilities planning, Designing a School Library Media Center for the Future. He has
worked world-wide as a consultant and presenter on library facilities.
Elizabeth Fast – CT A NEEMA Award was created to recognize Betty for her strong advocacy for
school librarians and school library media programs. Betty came to Groton, CT as a young mother who
became involved in her children’s school. Not surprisingly she found the library and its services of
interest. She designed a forward-thinking elementary school library program and won a Grolier Award
for the results. Ultimately, Betty served as Director of School Library Media Services for the Groton
school system. She became deeply involved in CEMA, NEEMA, and ALA/AASL serving on committees and
boards including the ALA Executive Board. She wrote numerous treatises for publication and was looked
to as a leader of the profession.
Audrey J. Friend - MA A past President of NEEMA and recipient of the association’s the Betty T. Fast
Award. She has served as Finance Chair and Historian for years. She has been a strong advocate for
school library programs in Massachusetts and New England and is noted for her efforts in the area of
school and public library cooperation. MASL has created the Audrey Friend Scholarship Award in
recognition of her enormous influence.
Dr. Carol Gordon - MA Carol is a past President of the association who has organized and presented
at many Leadership Conferences. She helped write NEEMA'S White Paper addressing the importance of
school libraries to student achievement for the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. A
former Board member of AASL and noted researcher she is also an Assistant Professor at Rutgers and
Co-Director of the Center for International Studies in School Librarianship (CISSL)
Margaret Hallisey –MA Peggy has served with distinction as President of the Massachusetts association.
In particular, her work on coordinating efforts in Massachusetts to revise learner and program standards
for school libraries helped to improve practice state-wide. She has also served New England as the
Regional Director on the AASL Board and is widely regarded for her advocacy efforts for school library
Dr. Hilda L. Jay – CT Hilda not only ably represented Connecticut on the NEEMA board, she has also
served as AASL’s president. She is the author of many books and articles about school library media
services. She is the recipient of AASL’s Distinguished Service Award, NEEMA’s Elizabeth Fast Award,
CEMA’s Rheta Clark Award, and AECT’s DSMS Distinguished Service Award.
Irene Kwidzinski – CT Irene has served as President of CEMA, NEEMA and as Region 1 Director on
the AASL Board. An active delegate to AASL’s Affiliate Assembly, she has been at the forefront in bringing
forward issues of concern to both Connecticut and New England, and has had the distinction of serving
as Affiliate Assembly Chair.
Harriet Lapointe – RI A past President of RIEMA and NEEMA, Harriet has also served as Leadership
Chair for many memorable and significant conference events. A natural organizer, she has also served
and been the Chair of numerous AASL Committees and a strong voice for the region in the Affiliate
Assembly. She was also Library Power Director for Providence.
Louis Leveillee – RI Louis was the Director of the Woonsocket Public Schools library media program.
For years, graduate library students from University of Rhode Island sought out Louis for an opportunity
to train in his district under his leadership. Louis was well respected by administrators and leaders at the
Dept of ED in RI. He was always advocating for strong school library media programs. He manned the
AASL and AECT booths at New England conferences and was an active member of NEEMA.
Kathy Lowe- MA Kathy has served as President of MSLA and is their current Executive Director. Under
her leadership, the School library program at the Boston Arts Academy/ Fenway High School & Boston
Symphony Orchestra Education Resource Center was recognized as AASL’s School Library Media
Program of the Year in 2004. Kathy also served as Chair of AASL's Learning Standards Indicators and
Assessment Task Force which produced Standards for the 21st Century Learner in Action in 2009.
Virginia L Mackeen - MA Virginia was a very knowledgeable person specializing in history and
genealogy. Using these interests, Virginia -- on her own -- formed and chaired a committee for NEEMA to
promote the Bicentennial of the United States through the use history and genealogy. She exhibited at
several conferences dressed in historical costume promoting the Committee’s work. She was the librarian
at the Marblehead Jr. High School before retiring.
Douglas B. Maitland – MA Doug is the association’s longest serving board member and has been
Treasurer since 1976. Throughout that time, he has ably advised on all things financial in order to ensure
sound order. He has likewise always been the first to support new and progressive initiatives that
required seed money, knowing that dividends would be paid by providing improved school library
programs and opportunities for students. He is the association’s unofficial Historian and institutional
memory and is held in the very highest esteem by his colleagues.
Carolyn Marcato – CT Carolyn has served as President of both the Connecticut association and
NEEMA. She has been very active in AASL serving on many committees and as an Affiliate Assembly
delegate. Under her leadership as District Coordinator, an elementary school in Fairfield CT became the
recipient of the AASL SLMPY Award.
Sylvia Norton – ME Sylvia has served as President of NEEMA and as a very active participant and Chair
of a variety of AASL committees and Task Forces. She has also served on the AASL Board as the Region 1
Director, Divisional Director and member of the AASL Executive Committee and ALA Council. She is
the Consultant for School Libraries for the Maine Department of Education and has had enormous impact
and influence on improving the quality of programs and services throughout the state of Maine, New
England and the rest of the United States.
Dr. Carolyn Markuson - MA Carolyn has served association President as well as the Leadership
Conference Chair and is also a former President of the Massachusetts association. She helped to write the
NEEMA White paper stressing the importance of school libraries to student achievement for the New
England Association of Schools and Colleges. She has served on and chaired many AASL committees. Her
Book, Designing a School Library Media Center for the Future (w/Rolf Erikson), is an ALA best-seller. She is an international consultant and presenter and has helped to prepare many successful school library medi
specialists as a Professor in a variety of graduate programs.
Merlyn Miller – VT Merlyn has served as NEEMA/NESLA’s innovative Membership Chair and
Conference Registrar extraordinaire. She is an active member of AASL and has served on, as well as
chaired a variety of committees and represented both Vermont and New England as an Affiliate Assembly
Frances A. Nadeau – CT Frances made her mark as the long-serving Recording Secretary and the first
web master for the association. Likewise, she did outstanding work in coordinating a major revision to
the Constitution and By-Laws. An active member in Connecticut and AASL, she brought energy and
enthusiasm to all her efforts.
Kay Piemonte – MA Before computers were being used to assist in publishing, Kay was editor of
VIEWS for over ten years and set the standard for VIEWS ever since. She was active in many professional
organizations and always advocated for strong school library programs throughout New England.
Leda Schubert – VT Leda was the highly-regarded Consultant for School Libraries at the Vermont
Department of Education. She was responsible for outreach throughout the state and the provision of
development opportunities for school library media specialists that created a culture of
excellence. An expert in the area of children’s literature, she was a highly-sought-after presenter on the
subject and her presentations were often SRO.
Harriet Selverstone – CT Harriet represented CT on the NEEMA Board, as President of CEMA,
NEEMA and ultimately as President of AASL. She was involved in the writing of Information Power. She was the editor and writer for a successful series on school library media practice for Greenhaven Press. She has been a tireless advocate for Intellectual Freedom and has written extensively on that subject.
Susan Snider – NH Former President who brought the association into the information age by
establishing Virtual NEEMA Board meetings. She was very effective as the School Library Consultant for
the NH State Department of Education and coordinated a wide variety of professional development
opportunities for NH and regional school library media specialists. Susan has served the association as an
innovative Leadership Chair and was active in AASL serving on a variety of committees.
Ruth Sullivan – MA Ruth worked tirelessly for the association while serving as Chair for the Intellectual
Freedom and Awards Committee for many years. She was a very effective school librarian at Witchcraft
Heights Elementary School, Salem, MA.
Walter Taranko – ME Walt was devoted to improving school libraries in Maine. He was instrumental
in encouraging school libraries to improve their programs through professional standards. He joined the
Maine Department of Education as a media and school libraries consultant for the Maine State Library in
1975. During his long career with the department, he was named media specialist of the year (1982) and
was influential in starting a distance education program for the master’s in library science degree. He also
taught at the University of Maine/Machias and at the University of Maine/Augusta. Walter passed away
June 26, 2001 and in honor of his accomplishments, the Maine Association of School Libraries instituted
the Walter J. Taranko Media Specialist of the Year Award in 2000. Walter was the co-initiator of the
Holocaust Human Rights Center of Maine, and active in MEMA and MLA organizations.
Dr. Lorraine Tolman – MA Tireless worker for NEEMA and school libraries in New England
She held many NEEMA Board meetings in her home with home cooked meals provided for all Board
members. She used federal money to run institutes through Boston University to allow gifted and talented
teachers to leave the regular classroom and become certified school librarians.
Katherine W. Trickey – MA A past president of NEEMA. Kay worked with Lorraine Tolman to
develop institutes through Boston University to allow exceptional teachers to become school librarians.
James S. Weigel – CT Jim always presented a workshop every year for NEEMA’s Leadership
Conference and always got rave reviews for this preparation and enthusiasm. He served as editor of
VIEWS for many years and likewise capably represented Connecticut on the NEEMA Board as well as
serving as NEMA President for a term.
Charles R. White – CT The long-serving and effective school library media consultant for vocational
programs in the State of Connecticut and hard worker to ensure the success of NEEMA’s Tri-track
Program. Charlie served as NEEMA’s President and Executive Director. Active in both AASL and AECT.
Served on the AASL committee to write Information Power and as President of AECT.
Bernice L. Yesner – CT A remarkable and gifted practitioner, Bunny served NEEMA as co-chair of
NEEMA’s Book Examination Day for many years. She was the recipient of AASL’s SLMPY Award for her
Connecticut school library program, the first program to be so honored in the region. Bunny was the
author of several books on school library issues; one of special note was targeted toward administrators
and had great impact. Bunny was active in AASL and truly a legendary figure in the school library world.
Connecticut has recently established a special award to honor her memory and to continue to promote
excellence in school library media services which she embodied.
Dr. Mary Frances Zilonis – MA A former Past President of the association, Fran served as the Library
Director for the Cambridge and Needham School Districts. She also directed the library media program
at Bridgewater State College. Fran worked diligently as an advocate for school library programs through
her involvement in a Library Power project, a privately funded national initiative to revitalize school