Jarombek named to Newbery Medal committee

It has long been a proud tradition at the Perrot Memorial Library to have a member of the staff serving on the American Library Association (ALA) award committee.

Now Perrot librarian Kathy Jarombek will continue that tradition after she was named to the 2014 ALA’s prestigious Newbery Medal selection committee.

The Newbery Medal is given annually by the ALA to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children and is considered one of literature’s highest honors. It was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery in 1921, making it the oldest children’s book award.

Ms. Jarombek has been the director of youth services at Perrot since 2009 and will now be part of a committee of 15 distinguished colleagues responsible for reading and evaluating hundreds of books published throughout 2013.

The 2014 Newbery Medal winner will be announced at ALA’s National Conference in Philadelphia in January and Ms. Jarombek called this opportunity, “the culmination of a children’s librarian’s career.”

Ms. Jarombek actually has a personal family connection with the Newbery Medal. The first ever Newbery was awarded to Old Greenwich resident Hendrik Willem van Loon for his non-fiction book The Story of Mankind in 1922. And it was discovered that Mr. van Loon was a customer in the office supply department of Mead’s on Greenwich Avenue where Ms. Jarombek’s grandmother worked.

At the time, her grandmother was a widow in her 40’s and, according to family lore, Mr. van Loon had a “crush” on her and came into the store one day, presenting her with a vase full of candy. The candy is long gone of course, but the vase still remains in Ms. Jarombek’s family to this day.

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