The Newark Public Library has a new director -- Joslyn Bowling Dixon, fresh from a job as deputy director of the Prince William Library System in Virginia, outside DC.
Dixon recognizes the challenges of taking over a public institution during a pandemic, but got excited about the possibilities anyway. “I got that little spiny tingle when I saw it (the job posting). I really liked what the city was about,” she said. “It made me go look at some further research into the renaissance of the community and the great things that are happening in terms of industry and construction.”
She says she was attracted to the job by the state’s commitment to libraries. “New Jersey has a state, you know, there’s a state mandate for library services,” she noted, “all states don’t have that so just knowing that that support is there I think that’ll go a long way in getting us through this pandemic and the challenges financially that we’re gonna face.”
Dixon says one of the first orders of business will be reopening the library for in-person visits. Right now it is doing curbside service. “Our next challenge will be working together to reopen at a limited capacity as soon as we are able to,” she said. “We’re gonna be meeting this week and just talking about those next steps and how we continue what libraries always do in terms of programming, bridging the digital divide, et cetera.”
As for her long-term plans, Dixon says she hopes to implement programs at the library advocating racial and social justice. For now, she urges everyone to go to www.npl.org to take advantage of the library’s virtual offerings.