Nutley to honor Iannarone with library dedication

NUTLEY, NJ — The township of Nutley is set to honor Anthony J. Iannarone by dedicating the Nutley Public Library’s children’s room in his name. Iannarone has served as a library trustee for 50 years and is currently in his 36th year as library board president. The event will take place Sunday, Oct. 16, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Nutley Public Library, 93 Booth Drive.

“Anthony’s long dedicated service to our community and the Nutley Public Library is inspiring,” Mayor Joseph P. Scarpelli said. “It is such a fitting tribute to name the children’s room in his honor.”

Iannarone’s unprecedented service to Nutley — he has served longer than anyone in the history of Nutley as a member of any official municipal board, elected or appointed — speaks to his enduring commitment to the success of the library. Now in his 10th full term, he has been appointed by seven different mayors. 

“His stewardship has made the library a dynamic cultural center for Nutley and surrounding communities,” library Director Michelle Albert said. “His foresight for the evolving needs of the library in the 21st century distinguishes his remarkable tenure as a trustee.”

Among Iannarone’s many achievements are:

  • He maintains excellent relations with the mayor and four commissioners, so that during the COVID-19 closure and difficult economic times, the library staff positions and services remained intact. Following Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines, Iannarone safely guided the reopening of the library to the public as early as June 2020, with full support from the staff and the municipal government.
  • In collaboration with the mayor, trustees and director, he was an integral team member in applying, advocating for and securing a portion of the Library Construction Bond Act round-two grant, totaling $284,115, including a 50-percent match agreement from the municipality, to be used to replace the library’s 30-year-old outmoded and failing HVAC system.
  • He devised a resolution procedure to establish permanent gift funds at the library, now totaling more than $530,000. He personally dealt with the donors and prepared more than 30 resolutions, covering the various components of the program. Each year, 80 percent of the interest is made available to supplement the library’s budget.
  • He was the prime mover behind a 9,000-square-foot expansion. This included obtaining municipal funding of $1.95 million and handling the contracting process.
  • In connection with the expansion, he was a founding member of the Friends of the Nutley Library, who raised more than $110,000 for new furniture.
  • Under his leadership, Nutley was the first Essex County library to join the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, which provided added benefits to patrons, including access to more than 70 libraries, interlibrary loans and valuable online databases.
  • He obtained a $40,000 legislative grant used to construct an ADA-compliant ramp, an additional sidewalk, and retaining walls to stop erosion and improve landscaping.
  • Using $16,000 in accumulated funds donated by his former employer, Hoffmann–La Roche, he acquired a pre-owned Steinway studio grand piano, which allows the library to conduct high-level music programs. 

In addition to his tenure as a library trustee, Iannarone has served in a number of capacities for various organizations, including the Nutley Family Service Bureau, Virginius D. Mattia Memorial Committee, the auxiliary police force and the Nutley Hall of Fame Committee. In 2013, Iannarone was inducted into the Nutley Hall of Fame. Among many other awards, he is a recipient of a New Jersey Governor’s Jefferson Award in the category of “Against All Odds,” and a “Seeds of Hope” award recipient from New Jersey Monthly magazine.

“What is truly remarkable about Mr. Iannarone’s service to the library is not necessarily his length of tenure, but that he approaches each year with the enthusiasm of a newly elected trustee,” Albert said.

“The result has been an amazing evolution of the Nutley Public Library as an institution and ideal, a transformation from a mid-size municipal library to a vital community center,” retired supervising librarian Kiran Patel said. “It is by his guidance, his sagacity and his unflagging support for the endurance and relevance of the Nutley Public Library that we realize our mission of ‘reading, information seeking and lifelong learning among all members of the community.’ He is and always will be our greatest library champion.”

Volunteerism at the community level has an important, positive impact on local citizens. Iannarone is not only an exemplar of community voluntarism, but also an inspirational individual who gives ample evidence that the human spirit can transcend daunting physical adversity and achieve heights of excellence. In May 1949, at the age of 18, Iannarone awoke in a hospital bed having lost both hands in a Rutgers chemical laboratory accident. He returned to Rutgers in September of the same year and not only achieved his degree on time, but did so as president of the senior class with high honors, a Phi Beta Kappa key and a host of other honors, including a Root-Tilden scholarship to New York University School of Law, one of 20 nationally and two from the combined states of Delaware, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. 

He earned his Juris Doctorate, achieved the highest grade on the New Jersey state bar examination and later earned a Master of Laws with almost a perfect average, also from NYU. Most of his outstanding legal career was spent in the Law Department of Hoffmann–La Roche, where he progressed to associate vice president, associate general counsel and assistant secretary.

He moved to Nutley  in 1959 and within a few years began his involvement in many civic activities. Iannarone’s wife of 55 years, Ruth, died in 2010. He has three accomplished children, Brian, David and Lisa, all graduates of Nutley High School, and seven grandchildren.

Reservations for the Anthony Iannarone dedication will be on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information on this event, contact the Nutley Public Library at 973-667-0405.