Diaz Dumps Longtime Library Trustee

PERTH AMBOY — Mayor Wilda Diaz has removed former board president Barbara Sottilaro from the Perth Amboy Public Library board of trustees, a position she held since 1999.

Sottilaro, who has a master’s degree in library science, retired as a librarian after 25 years as a school librarian at Mauger Middle School in Middlesex Borough school district and her husband Robert, is a former city councilman. She also formerly served as a trustee for the Middlesex Borough Public Library. She is active in several professional library organizations and attends conferences as a volunteer.

Sottilaro, who was the library board’s president since 2005, had served as the mayor’s designee so Diaz pushed her off to take a seat on the board. Sottilaro was originally appointed to the library board in 1999 by former Mayor Joseph Vas, who like Diaz, never attended meetings.

Work has begun to replace the library’s windows with energy-efficient panels as part of a $10 million renovation and expansion of the historic structure built in 1901 is one of 2,509 Carnegie libraries

Perth Amboy’s is one of 36 libraries in New Jersey built from grants in excess of $1 million awarded by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie from 1900 to 1917.

There are 17 New Jersey municipalities with Carnegie buildings still in operation as public libraries and two that have become academic libraries.

A 1992 survey conducted by Dr. George Bobinksi, of the State University at Buffalo, found that 1,554 of the 1,681 original Carnegie buildings in the United States still existed, with 911 of them in use as libraries.

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