Nutley will dedicate children’s room to long time library board president

Anthony Iannarone Nutley Public Library

The Township of Nutley is set to honor Anthony Iannarone by dedicating its Public Library’s Children’s Room in his name, Sunday, Oct. 16 at 2 p.m., at the library.

Iannarone is one of the township’s most admired residents, the governing body says, and has served as a library trustee for 50 years. He is currently in his 36th year as library board president.

“Anthony’s long dedicated service to our community and the Nutley Public Library is inspiring,” Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli said. “It is such a fitting tribute to name the Children’s Room in his honor.”

Iannarone’s unprecedented service to the Township of Nutley — he has served longer than anyone in the history of Nutley as a member of any official municipal board, elected or appointed — speaks to his enduring commitment to the success of the library, Scarpelli says. Now in his 10th full term, he has been appointed and reappointed by seven different mayors.

“His stewardship has made the library a dynamic cultural center for Nutley and surrounding communities,” Nutley Library Director Michelle Albert said. “His foresight for the evolving needs of the library in the 21st century distinguishes his remarkable tenure as a trustee.”

Among Iannarone’s achievements, he:

  • Maintained relations with the mayor and four commissioners, so during the library’s COVID-19 closure and difficult economic times, the staff positions and services remained intact. Following CDC guidelines, Iannarone safely guided the reopening of the library to the public early — in June 2020 — with the full support from staff and governing body.
  • Collaborated with the mayor, trustees and director, he was an integral team member in applying, advocating for and securing a portion of the Library Construction Bond Act (LCBA) round two grant totaling $284,115 — including a 50% match agreement from the municipality — to be used to replace the library’s 30-year-old outmoded, failing HVAC system.
  • Devised a resolution procedure to establish permanent gift funds at the library now totaling more than $530,000. He personally dealt with the donors and prepared more than 30 resolutions covering the various components of the program. Each year, 80% of the interest is made available to supplement the library’s budget.
  • Was the prime mover behind a 9,000 square-foot expansion. This included obtaining municipal funding of $1.95 million and handling the contracting process.
  • Was a founding member of the Friends of the Nutley Library, who raised more than $110,000 for new furniture.
  • Was a pioneer in Essex County when he had library join the Bergen County Cooperative Library System (BCCLS), the in the county to do so, with added benefits to patrons, including access to more than 70 libraries, inter-library loans and valuable online databases.
  • Obtained a $40,000 legislative grant used to construct a handicapped ramp, an additional sidewalk and retaining walls to stop erosion and improve landscaping.

In addition to his tenure as a library trustee, Iannarone has served in a number of capacities for various organizations, including the Nutley Family Service Bureau, Virginius D. Mattia Memorial Committee, the Auxiliary Police Department and the Nutley Hall of Fame Committee.

In 2013, Iannarone was inducted into the Nutley Hall of Fame, himself. Among many other awards, he is a recipient of a New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award in the category of “Against All Odds,” and a “Seeds of Hope” award recipient from New Jersey Monthly magazine.

“What is truly remarkable about Mr. Iannarone’s service to the library is not necessarily his length of tenure, but that he approaches each year with the enthusiasm of a newly elected trustee,” Albert and retired Supervising Librarian Kiran Patel said jointly. “The result has been an amazing evolution of the Nutley Public Library as an institution and ideal, a transformation from a mid-size municipal library to a vital community center.

“It is by his guidance, his sagacity and his support for the endurance and relevance of the Nutley Public Library that we realize our mission of ‘reading, information seeking, and lifelong learning among all members of the community.’ He is and always will be our greatest ‘Library Champion.’”

Volunteerism at the community level has an important, positive impact on local citizens. Mr.

Iannarone is not only an exemplar of an ideal community volunteer, but he is also an inspirational individual who gives ample evidence the human spirit can transcend daunting physical adversity and achieve heights of excellence.

In May 1949, at the age of 18, Iannarone awoke in a hospital bed having lost both hands in a Rutgers chemical laboratory accident. He returned to Rutgers in September the same year and not only achieved his degree on time, but did so as president of the senior class with cum laude, a Phi Beta Kappa key and a host of other honors, including a Root-Tilden scholarship to New York University School of Law, one of just 20 nationally and two from the combined states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania.

He earned his law degree, achieved the highest grade on the New Jersey state bar examination and later earned a master’s of laws degree with an almost perfect average, also from N.Y.U.

Most of his legal career was spent in the Law Department at Hoffmann-La Roche, Inc., where he progressed to associate vice president, associate general counsel and assistant secretary.

He moved to Nutley in 1959 and within a few years, began his civic involvement.

Iannarone’s wife of 55 years, Ruth, died in 2010. He has three children, Brian, David and Lisa, all graduates of Nutley High School; and seven grandchildren.

Reservations for the Anthony Iannarone dedication will be on a first-come, first served basis. For more information, contact the library at (973) 667-0405.

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