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Midland Park

Reference Librarian Retires

12/20/2013 05:34PM ● By Rebecca K. Abma

Library Director Sur Lazzari, Friends of the Library President Jennifer Triolo, Reference Librarian Tina Fadlalla and Circulation Supervisor Vivian Mattessich at Fadlalla's retirement party on Dec. 20.

Before Google, if you had a question, the library was the best place to find an answer. If the entry in the Encyclopedia Brittanica didn't satisfy your quest, Tina Fadlalla was your go-to girl. After 30 years of faithfully seeking answers to patrons questions, the reference library at Midland Park Memorial Library retired last week.

Fadlalla's library vocation began in high school, when she served as an after school page at the Moorestown Public Library. After high school, she attended Muhlenberg College, where she graduated with an English degree, then went on to Rutgers University to earn her Masters of Library Science. Prior to coming to Midland Park, she worked at the Englewood Public Library. 

An avid reader, Fadlalla said one of her favorite part of the job was helping patrons make book selections, along with leading the monthly book clubs, which she intends to continue doing. Helping people find answers to tough questions gives her great satisfaction, as well. One of the most challenging requests she encountered over the years was to compile a list of Jewish literature that was not about the Holocaust for a member of Haddassah. 

Over the past three decades, Fadlalla has seen a lot of change in the library. She's witnessed the increase in electronic and new media, which she said has served only to enrich the services provide at library and had not dimished away from the community's love of books. However, she also noted that fewer students use the library's services for research projects, choosing instead to research online from home. 

The tedious switch over from the card catalog system to the first computerized database in the 1990s was a key technological advancement during her career. (Note: For those too young to remember, the card catalog was a system of tiny drawers filled with an index-type cards for each book, record or cassette, or other type of media own by the library.) Today, the library catalog is housed online through the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, bccls.org or "Buckles", and can be accessed from anywhere.

She joked that learning how to use the latest round of new library technology — the fourth since she began her career — helped her to decide it was time to retire. Fadlalla plans to spend more time with her husband, children and grandchildren and looks forward to the opportunity to travel. And, of course, she has plenty of books she plans to read. 

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