Roger McDonough Librarianship Award

The award is named for Roger H. McDonough, New Jersey State Librarian from 1947 to 1975. Beginning in 2002 the NJSAA, along with the New Jersey Historical Commission, Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference New Jersey Caucus, and the New Jersey Library Association History and Preservation Section, has given an award to a librarian or archivist or manuscript curator for excellence in service to the New Jersey history research community and/or the general public.

Members of the Librarianship Award Committee are Karl Niederer, Laura Poll, Elsalyn Palmisano and Robert Vietrogoski (Chair).

Criteria and the nomination form for the Roger McDonough Librarianship Award may be found hereNominations for the 2017 Roger McDonough Librarianship Award are due  September 15, 2017.

Past recipients of the NJSAA McDonough Librarianship Award are:

2016        Gary D. SaretzkyMonmouth County Archive

Gary D. Saretzky has worked as an archivist for more than 45 years at the State Historical Society of Wisconsin, the ETS Archives, and the Monmouth County Archives. He has been County Archivist since 1994, when the Archives opened to the public. The Archives now has more than one thousand users annually and 280 web pages, plus online databases and digitized records. Gary has organized all twenty-one Archives and History Day events since 1996 and curated or co-curated the annual New Jersey history exhibits here that coincide with Archives Week. As the second Coordinator for the Rutgers Public History Internships from 1994 to 2016, he greatly expanded the program and placed more than 800 history majors at 149 archives, libraries, museums, and other sites. Gary is a former Chair of the New Jersey Caucus of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference (MARAC) and past president of the Preservation Section of the New Jersey Library Association. He served for 15 years on the New Jersey State Historical Records Advisory Board and, for the New Jersey State Librarian, 14 years on the State Library’s Committee on Preservation and Access. Since 1975, Gary has written more than 60 consultant reports for archives in New Jersey, including for MARAC’s CAPES program which began in 1989. He has taught numerous seminars and workshops on archival topics, including photographic conservation, for Monmouth County, the Society of American Archivists, MARAC, the New Jersey Library Association, and other organizations. As an adjunct professor, he taught the history of photography at Mercer County Community College from 1977 to 2012 and lectures regularly on New Jersey’s pioneer photographers under the auspices of the Horizons Speakers Bureau of the New Jersey Council for the Humanities. He has published more than 100 articles and reviews, including “Nineteenth-Century New Jersey Photographers” in New Jersey History in 2004 and his most recent on Charlotte Prosch, New Jersey’s first woman photographer, in Garden State Legacy.


2015        Ronald L. Becker, Head of Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University
 A career archivist, he joined Special Collections in 1974 after serving as cataloger and bibliographer for the New Jersey Historical Society.  During the past four decades, Becker has had an incredibly productive career and is widely respected and admired in the archives and library communities.  To organize and preserve Rutgers’ outstanding manuscript collections, he has obtained more than $4 million in awards from foundations as well as federal and state agencies.  He has served on more than a dozen editorial and advisory boards and commissions including the New Jersey State Historical Records Advisory Board and the Middlesex County Cultural and Heritage Commission, which he currently chairs.  Becker has played a leadership role in many professional associations, including a term as President of the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference and as a founding member of the New Jersey Studies Academic Alliance.  A past editor of the Mid-Atlantic Archivist from 1983 to 1992, he has published numerous scholarly papers, including his award-winning article, “Ethics in Providing Access,” in the journal Provenance.  As a model archivist, dedicated to public service, Ronald L. Becker is entirely deserving of the Roger McDonough Librarianship Award. 

2014        Janet T. Riemer, Head of Preservation Emerita, Rutgers University; and Corresponding Secretary, Genealogical Society of New Jersey
In the later capacity, Janet has answered hundreds of New Jersey history and genealogy inquiries and compiled a guide to New Jersey tombstone inscriptions.  She is an original CAPES consultant and as such has visited numerous repositories throughout the State and provided critical advice on preservation, collection description, and public service needs.  At Rutgers, she served as Professor of Textiles at Douglass for fourteen years before joining Special Collections and University Archives as head of preservation.  She set up the preservation laboratory in 1984 and oversaw its growth over fifteen additional years before retiring from full-time employment in 1999.  At Rutgers, Janet also provided (and continues to provide on a part-time basis) valuable reference service, support for exhibitions and public programs, and numerous other services in addition to to her preservation activities.  Her service to the New Jersey history and genealogy communities is legendary and much appreciated with the awarding of this honor.

2013      Bette Epstein, New Jersey State Archives
For nearly four decades, Ms. Epstein has served New Jersey’s history and genealogy communities with distinction, becoming something of a legend in her own career. After receiving her M.L.S. from Western Michigan University, Bette joined the staff of the former Bureau of Archives and History, then part of the State Library, in 1974. She worked as a librarian and then archivist in reference services until the Bureau was split off from the State Library as the Division of Archives and Records Management (DARM) in 1983. During her time in the State Library, she worked with and trained under several well-known reference librarians including Robert Lupp (the first recipient of the Roger McDonough Librarianship Award) who, with Bette, worked for Roger McDonough, namesake of this award. She acquired extensive knowledge of the State Library’s and Bureau of Archives and History’s holdings, including manuscript, microfilm, map and reference book collections. This knowledge has aided generations of researchers over the years, and is still an important aspect of the State Archives’ institutional memory.

In 1983, Bette assumed oversight of the Reference Unit of the State Archives Bureau, within DARM. In this capacity, she has trained dozens of young librarians, interns and volunteers, inspiring them to pursue careers in New Jersey libraries and archives. In 1986, she earned an Advanced Certificate in Librarianship from Columbia University. In the late 1990s, Following the relocation of the Archives to 225 West State Street in 2000, Bette was promoted to the Supervising Archivist title. She is personally responsible, in good part, for the excellent reputation New Jersey State
Archives has nationally as a service-oriented institution. She has aided thousands of historians and genealogists, always going the extra mile to help researchers find elusive information and/or plan their research strategy. Bette has also volunteered her librarian skills over the years to various organizations, including the Congregation Brothers of Israel and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference.

2012    Joseph DaRold, Plainfield Public Library

Ron Becker, Archives and Special Collections, Rutgers University Libraries presents Award certificate to Joseph DaRold, Plainfield Public Library, at Monmouth County Archives Day 2012

2011    Bonita Craft Grant
, Special Collections and University Archives, Rutgers University Libraries


l. to r. M. Claire French, Monmouth County Clerk; Lillian Burry, Monmouth County Freeholder; NJSAA Roger McDonough Librarianship Award recipient Bonita Craft Grant, Archives and Special Collections, Rutgers University Libraries; Ron Becker, Archives and Special Collections, Rutgers University Libraries; Mary McMahon, President of the History and Preservation Section of the New Jersey Library Association. Photo courtesy of Fred Pachman.


2010    Susan Gulick,
former Executive Director of the Morristown and Morris Township Library

Gary Saretzky, Monmouth County Archivist; Susan Gulick, former Executive Director of the Morristown and Morris Township Library; and Ron Becker,

Archives and Special Collections, Rutgers University Libraries; at Monmouth County's Archives Day, 2010.

2009    David Mitros

Ron Becker, Chair of the Award Committee, and 2009 recipient, David Mitros.


2008    Joe Klett

2007    Lois Densky Wolff

2006    Karl Niederer

2005    Joseph Felcone

2004    Charles Cummings

2003    Elsalyn Palmisano

2002    Robert Lupp


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NJSAA Membership,
Aug 7, 2017, 12:56 PM
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