STAR OF BROOKLYN: Rita Meade

Community involvement: Rita Meade joined the Bay Ridge family in 2008, and although new, her imprint is just as strong as any Bay Ridge native. Explaining that her involvement with Community Board 10 and her profession as a Brooklyn public librarian were ‘intertwined,’ Meade makes any and all effort to advocate for New York City’s public libraries and the community itself.

It was in 2009 that Meade became involved with the community board by speaking during the public segments. Encouraged by Councilmember Vincent Gentile, Rita began speaking monthly and applied to join the community board. Meade is also involved with working with New York State Libraries’ youth services and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation.

Career and Education: For her undergraduate degree, Meade attended Mary Washington College, now the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, Virginia. Attending Stony Brook University seeking a master’s in Secondary English Education, Meade soon realized teaching was a passion but not for her.

She then went on to receive a master’s degree in Library Science from Queens College. Working in libraries during her summers while still in high school, Rita continued to work in her library throughout college and explained that she “liked helping people answer questions and talk to kids about books.”

Personal: Growing up in Northport on Long Island, Meade was drawn to Bay Ridge thanks to a cousin of her fathers, and instantly thought “this is good.” On a mission to break the stigma of libraries being perceived as obsolete, Rita exclaims that you can see the importance of your local library through the interaction with the community.

Involved in programs for teens, adults, senior citizens, the library meets the needs of all as well as providing ESL classes, Meade stressed. “It’s always been important for me to interact with the public and help the community get the things that they need, information that they need,” she said.

Rita and eight or so other librarians and community members formed a band that not surprisingly advocates for libraries, calling themselves “Lost in the Stacks.”

Biggest Accomplishment: Meade cites her blog, Screwydecimal.com, a place where Meade can talk about the ups, downs, hopes, future, anything and everything pertaining to ‘Tales from an Urban Librarian.’

Recently winning an award for her blog, Meade continues to write, sharing thoughts her day reading to children, or cheering how “Today the City Councilrestored$25 million dollars of a potential $27 million dollar cut to BrooklynPublic Library.”

Rita is also a member of Urban Librarians Unite, a non-profit organization which recognizes and fights staff shortages and reduced hours in New York City libraries.

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