This Is Rutherford
RPL Foundation's Gala 2023
Updated: Mar 30
By Jennifer Ersalesi
Photo credits: Sami Abuauad
On March 25th, at the sold out Gala event, the Rutherford Public Library Foundation honored Pat Wester at the Il Villaggio in Carlstadt, for her years of volunteer service with the RPL Foundation and the Friends of the Library.
Photographed above: Mayor Frank Nunziato and Pat Wester, Kim Bogosian and Pat Wester, and Gretchen Corsillo
A number of presenters spoke about Pat Wester and her dedication to Rutherford's thriving Public Library, including Senator Paul Sarlo, who was impressed with the amazing public turnout at the Gala and for the unwavering support of the community and volunteers, such as Pat. Kim Bogosian, President of the RPL Foundation, explained more about Pat's many years of dedication to the RPL Foundation. Director of the RPL, Gretchen Corsillo, also spoke about Pat's excellent, dependable leadership and determination. Mayor Frank Nunziato also commended Pat on her commitment and enthusiasm.
During Pat Wester's speech, Pat thanked many of those she had the pleasure to work with throughout the years. She congratulated Jane Tarantino on fifty-two years as the Children's Librarian and thanked her for always making the library a warm, welcoming place for her children when they were young and all children who enter the library.
Pat also spoke fondly of former Library Legal Counsel, Jamie McCarthy, who helped set up the RPL Library Foundation, assisted in the hiring of the new Directors and was pivotal in relocating the children's room to the first floor. Anne McCormack, who founded the RPL Foundation with Pat, was described as "a ninety-three year old who can run circles around all of us."
Pat also spoke of former RPL Directors Jane Fisher who brought positive leadership and Judah Hamer who was a hands-on, strong leader with unmatched energy and charisma. She thanked him and Jamie McCarthy for making contract negotiations an easier, more effective and more respectful process. "I thought we hit a home run when we hired Judah, but we really hit a grand slam," Pat said.
The RPL Foundation was formed thirteen years ago to help fund capital projects. The Friends of the Library also holds successful fundraising events that fund events and children's programming at the Library. Pat praised Jimmy Rizzo, Director of BCB Bank for being a tireless community leader, major Gala sponsor, and financial supporter. She spoke about how he helped her learn more about the importance of community outreach. Pat also thanked Wendy Armacost, former Board President, for stepping in as President unexpectedly a few years ago when there was a sudden vacancy and successfully leading the Board through transition.
Along with Wendy Armacost and Palmer Yale, Pat lead the search committee that ultimately found Gretchen Corsillo and welcomed her as the Director. She spoke about Gretchen's five year strategic plan, her forward thinking, her ability to look at where the Library is and where it needs to go, and her determination to find ways to support young adults at the RPL. She thanked Chuck Olivo for his rendering of the new teen space that will be created with the profits from the Gala.
Within her speech, Pat also congratulated Kim Bogosian on her leadership as this year's President, for pulling the Library and the Foundation out of the covid hiatus and for organizing the Gala. She also thanked the Mayor and Council for their support and specifically explained how Ray Guzman, former Council Liaison to the Library, always brought so much energy and enthusiasm to his work with the Rutherford Public Library. Former Council Liaisons, Martha Lozada and Maura Keyes, also provided support and encouragement to the Board in Pat's early.years. Rose Inguante was also congratulated for her leadership as President of the Foundation during the stressful RPL renovation projects. Additionally, she thanked Krista Vellis and Palmer Yale, who have been dedicated Trustees and Foundation members and always helpful and supportive. Finally, she thanked her husband Doug for always being smart and insightful and willing to listen to her stories about the RPL, her daughters, her family, friends, and colleagues at Westfield Plaza.