New York Library Association. - The eBulletin

Here's to Library Love

In honor of Valentine's Day we called on all our library couples to share their library love stories!


Mike Sullivan & Elaine Cowin

Mike Sullivan, Director. Richards Library Warrensburg NY 2013- present
Elaine Cowin, Retired.  Warrensburg Central School Librarian 1981-2011

Your partner has recently celebrated his 40th birthday complete with a piercing and a tattoo when he asks the most shocking question of all.  "What would you think if I returned to college?"  You are secretly rejoicing but play it cool and respond "You are going to be 50  someday anyway, why not be 50 with a degree?"  Fast forward ten years and he has an Associate's Degree in Art and a Bachelor's Degree in Art History and is considering graduate programs.  It's not a stretch for you to assume the degree would be in an art related field.  He informs you he has made a decision and makes you promise not to laugh.  Your reply "I would never laugh at you."  His next utterance is "I want to be a librarian."  You immediately burst out laughing.
He graduates with his MLIS in May and you retire in June.  Now he is the director of our local public library and I am his number one volunteer.


Jimmy & Marie Trapasso

My husband, Jimmy and I have known each other since we were little. My father and his father played on the same softball team together for years when we were younger but we never went to the same schools so we never really interacted with each other much. One day, in 2005, that all changed when we started talking after church and we then started dating after that.
I was already employed as a clerk at the Ossining Public Library at the time and the library was looking for a page. So he applied and was hired! We were married on June 27, 2010, in the same church that we started talking outside of, and many of our OPL co-workers were in attendance.
Over our many years working at OPL we have both been promoted several times. I am now full-time Principal Library Clerk and I work in the Circulation and Technical Services departments where I schedule a staff of over 20 people and catalog over 200 items a month.
Jimmy is the full-time Program and Events Coordinator at OPL. He schedules, books and attends all of the adult programs that come into the library as well as writes press releases, writes and sends a weekly electronic newsletter about the happenings at the library, books artists for the art gallery and so much more. So, yes we still work together and we find that it works for us!  We have always been best friends and what’s better than being able to see your best friend at work and at home?
On October 7, 2013 our family grew when we welcomed our daughter, Emily Christina who is now 3. We are also eagerly anticipating our second child who is due July 5, 2017.
Jimmy and I were raised on the importance of the library in our lives and we look forward to raising the next generation to value libraries as much as we do.


Sarina LaTorre-Sicurella & Timothy Sicurella

When I was a library clerk at the Longwood Public Library, I heard all of the ladies of the library talk about Tim, the cute new librarian in adult reference. He would mysteriously end up in my department looking for something and we coincidentally end up having our breaks at the same time. It was on one of those breaks that we talked about music. I mentioned an obscure band and to my surprise he not only knew the band, it was one of his favorites. The band in question was the Pixies. Pretty soon we were seeing each other outside of the library. We decided to be professional and keep our relationship private. However, we soon realized everyone knew! Some of those co-workers even took credit for matching us up. Turns out those break dates we had weren't always a coincidence.

Eventually he got a full-time job somewhere else and I went from clerk to librarian at another library. Although we both left Longwood, our relationship became more serious. Just before we moved in together he asked me to be his wife and we have been married for almost seven years. In 2015, we welcomed our baby girl, Julia. She just happens to be quite the reader!

Many go into the library just looking for a book, I ended up with an amazing life.



Lydia Wiloughby & Amber Billey

Lydia Willoughby, Research and Education Librarian, Sojourner Truth Library, SUNY New Paltz
Amber Billey, Metadata Librarian, Columbia University Libraries

Married (to each other) for 5 years.

We met in a bar in Brooklyn in June 2010. Amber was handing out fliers for the first Que(e)ry -- the party for LGBTQ Librarians and those who loves them, when she gave a flier to Lydia. We hit it off right away, and have been together ever since. We married September 24, 2011 -- just months after marriage equality passed in New York State.

Lydia works as a reference and instruction librarian (front of the house), and Amber is a technical services/metadata librarian (back of the house). Together we make a complete library. Our different perspectives in the library inform each other's work. Amber’s research area is linked data and social justice in cataloging, while Lydia’s research focuses on critical pedagogy, information literacy and access to information as a civil and human right.

Our passion for each other ;-) and library and information sciences have lead us into leadership, scholarship, and direct political action. Amber served as the President of the Vermont Library Association, and Lydia served as the Vice-President of the Public Libraries Section of the Vermont Library Association. During their time on the VLA board, they organized an action at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum Library in response to unfair layoffs of the entire library staff. Lydia and Amber continue to organize Que(e)ry parties with a dedicated group of volunteers. Que(e)ry has raised nearly $20,000 for LGBTQ libraries and archives through professional networking events since 2010. Lydia was a Library Journal Mover and Shaker in 2013, and Amber was one of Seven Days VT Seven Women to Watch in 2015. We currently live in New Paltz with our two dogs, Rebel and Ziggy Stardust.


Steve Barbato, Lisa Armstrong Barbato & Daughter, Kellie Barbato

Kellie Barbato: Once a Library Baby, Now a Librarian!

One might say that I was meant to be a librarian from the womb, and quite frankly, I’m surprised that my parents never once suggested librarianship as my career path; they wanted me to blaze my own trail. So I did – and lo and behold, I wound up going to library school right after finishing my undergraduate degree in music. The reason I call myself a library baby is this: my parents worked together in Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester when I was conceived. My father, Steve Barbato (1955-2009, RIP), was the library bookkeeper, and my mother, Lisa Armstrong Barbato, worked in the interlibrary loan department. I currently work as Outreach Librarian at Golisano Library at Roberts Wesleyan College, and shortly after beginning this position, I found out about a crazy coincidence: our Operations Manager, Beth Specht, not only worked with my parents at Rush Rhees Library, but threw my parents’ work baby shower!  So, I may not be a part of a library couple, but I certainly am the product of one!





Frank & Donna McKenna

Frank McKenna (Director of the Seaford Public Library) and Donna Romano McKenna (Director of the Williston Park Public Library) met at the Queens College Graduate Library and Information Studies School in the early 1990’s. Among the classes they shared was Dr. Art Friedman’s Library Management course.   Both worked as librarians at various branches of the Queens Library System before becoming branch managers – Frank at the Douglaston/Little Neck branch and Donna at the Arverne branch.  They considered naming their four-year-old twin daughters Paige and Rita (not really) but decided on Maeve and Kate instead. The girls both love being read to and visiting their parent’s libraries as well as “Maeve and Kate’s Library” in Levittown. 


Heather & Deric Gorman

Deric and I met when he was a customer shopping at a health food store I used to work in. He would come in (frequently) and buy groceries and bulk items. We would banter back and forth- 'Do you need a basket for all that?' or 'Looks like you got a shipment of milk today.' And one day I got up enough guts to ask him about the powder he was buying. "Fenugreek," he said. Then he gave me his number. But I never called. Not until about a month later. When I finally called it went to voicemail, but I didn't leave a message. When he came into the store the SAME day I called, boy did I get a cold shoulder. At the end of me checking him out and giving him his receipt, I told him I tried calling. He didn't believe me at all. And he left. Risking loosing my job, I ran out into the parking lot after him. I told him my shift was over at 8 and maybe we could meet at the diner down the road.

The rest is history. We've really been inseparable ever since. Deric and I moved up to Albany together and got graduate degrees in Information Science (Magnum Cum Laude and Cum Laude respectively). We both work at the Newburgh Free Library as Reference Librarians which we love! As we were attending grad classes we dreamed about getting jobs at the Newburgh Free Library.



Natalie & Tim McDonough

It all started in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California.  No?  Actually we met in a young adult training class when we were both working for the Queens Library.   Tim had moved to New York from Connecticut and Natalie had moved there from Nova Scotia.  We never worked in the same library, which may be why we are still married.
Tim first asked Natalie out at an engagement party for another Queens colleague, Nick Buron, and we dated for two years before getting married in 1999.   One great thing about being married to a librarian is a shared love of reading as well as having someone there to talk to at the end of the day who understands what you are dealing with every day.  

When we met, it was a great time to be living in New York, and we really enjoyed access to everything that the City had to offer.  After a few years, we decided to move upstate and have been here ever since then.  Tim is the Director of the Waterford Public Library and Natalie is the Manager of Programs and Community Outreach for the Bethlehem Public Library.

As they say, you never know what you’ll find at the public library.


Christina Rivera & Fabio Montella

Submitted by Christina and Fabio’s Friend, Bruce Seger

Christina and Fabio first met at the Long Island Library Conference in 2013, which involved a very short and awkward conversation. Fabio asked for some swag at the LILRC table and Christina told him he would have to attend LILRC Seminars and also join DASL (Division of Academic and Special Libraries, Christina is the treasurer). Seriously, they initially discussed just a few topics like libraries and volleyball (a favorite sport of Christina). They next met at a library fundraising bowling event. There, they had their first significant conversation. They realized that they had many things in common, love of family, sports, library and even their bowling shoes matched. In fact, they found out that they had both registered for Library/Bowling That connection led to a series of unique dates including paddle boating, bird feeding and line dancing. They also realized that their favorite online travel site was, that they both liked to play reference desk trivial pursuit and they even exchanged Cutter numbers. Since that initial meeting Fabio and Christina have been circulating together.

Here is hoping that this now open book relationship will continue to grow like the Library of Congress Collection. And for those people who say librarians can’t find romance at library events, I say all you need is a library card and a dream.


Sarah & Kabel Stanwicks

We first met in December 2004, when Sarah was interviewing for her position as Map & Geospatial Data Librarian at the University of Connecticut. At the time, Kabel was the Access Services Supervisor in the Music & Dramatic Arts Library at the University of Connecticut. She got the job and moved from Wisconsin to Connecticut in early 2005. That spring we went out to eat with some friends after a program at the library; this was the first time we actually spent time getting to know each other. A month later we were engaged, and 1 1/2 years later we were married. (A funny thing, there were numerous library couples at UConn!)

We moved to Albany in January 2008, when Kabel got his job as Head of Circulation and Media Services (now he is Head of Access Services) at the University at Albany Libraries. Later that year Sarah became one of the Youth Services Librarians at the Washington Avenue Branch of the Albany Public Library. We have 2 sons (6.5-years-old and 13-months-old), and we celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in October.


Steven & Tina Nabinger

My wife, Tina, and I met on our first day of library class back in August of 1992.  Our professor led off each class with a theoretical question on library management, and we were on the opposite side of every issue!  Week after week, we were guaranteed to be arguing with each other about whatever question the professor posed.  And week after week, I noticed that Tina would sit closer and closer to me.  I finally worked up the courage to ask her out on the last class of the semester, and the rest is history.  We were married in October of 1994, and we have two beautiful daughters.  Tina works as an elementary school librarian, while I work as a librarian in a jr./sr. high school in another district.  I taught an educational technology class at SU for a while, and she teaches a maker class that combines reading and cooking after school two nights per week.  Not only is she my best friend, she's the best librarian I know.  It's amazing to have somebody to bounce ideas, lesson plans, discipline strategies, et. al. off of each night.  Wouldn't trade this life for the world!

You can read more about Steven and Tina here.




Did we miss you or a library couple you know? Let us know so we can include them next time!