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Roxbury Chamber Public Librarian its 2022 Business Person of the Year

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At its upcoming luncheon on December 14, the Roxbury Area Chamber of Commerce will award The Earl J. Chrystal Memorial Business Person of the Year Award not to a business owner, but to the Director of the Roxbury Public Library, Radwa Ali.

“We think like a business,” said Ali.  “We might operate differently since we’re publicly funded, but it is how we manage our operations that gives us the opportunity to expand services and offerings to patrons.”

Ali and the Roxbury Public Library deliver on that.  Ali and her team are known for innovation, often being the first in the area to offer resources and services from passports to a bountiful Library of Things, to regular virtual visits from best selling authors, Paint and Sip events and the beginning of the Roxbury Library Foundation in 2021.

Degreed in Information Technology and Political Science, as well as a Master of Library Science degree from Rutgers University, Ali is a master of automation, and uses her keen skills to help patrons and businesses become more comfortable using technology that saves time and money.  She frequently coaches individuals and organizations in everything from website design, marketing, and automation.  A member of the Roxbury Rotary and Roxbury Woman’s Club, Ali often serves on local committees and initiatives from Home for the Holidays, Olde Suckasunny Day and more.

“The Chamber is grateful to acknowledge Radwa for all that she gives to the community,” said Linda Smith, RE/MAX realtor and President of the Roxbury Area Chamber of Commerce.  “I guarantee if you spend even a few minutes with Radwa, you will learn something valuable that you will use most days.”

Ali started her library career as a middle school volunteer at the Plainsboro Public Library. Through high school and college, she continued to work there, gaining experience at the customer service desk, reference and children’s departments, volunteer management, collection development, and the technological needs of a public library. After she obtained her BA in Information Technology and Political Science, as well as a Masters in Library Science degree from Rutgers University, Radwa worked at the Johnson Public Library in Hackensack as their Technology Librarian, then as Director of the Bogota Public Library. She has been the Director of the Roxbury Public Library since 2017. Radwa served on the Main Library Alliance Executive Board and has lent her skills to NJLA as Conference Technology Lead. In 2020 Radwa received the American Library Association Gale, A Cengage Company Financial Development Award for her work at the Roxbury Public Library.

The Roxbury Public Library offers professional development programs in partnership with the Roxbury Area Chamber as part of its monthly Business Beyond Basics series.  In 2020, the Chamber recognized Ali’s colleague Karen Cerreta as Business Person of the Year, for her innovation in beginning Business Beyond Basics and her leadership in navigating the Chamber’s programs through the pandemic.

“Radwa is a true visionary,” noted Cerreta.  “She has the technical skills to innovate as well as the personality to engage with individuals and organizations within the community to help make Roxbury a better place.  I can’t wait to see what’s next for the Roxbury Library.”

Ali will receive the Business Person of the Year award at the Roxbury Area Chamber luncheon on December 14 at the Asian Diner. Chamber members and non-members may register to attend at https://roxburynjchamber.org/events.

The Roxbury Public Library enhances the quality of life in the Roxbury community by connecting people to each other, to diverse collections and to transformative experiences.  Each year, Roxbury Public Library serves more than 23,000 residents and neighbors with more than 200,000 check-outs and engagements through offerings of educational and enriching programs, concerts, lending books and audiovisual materials, and offering a wide array of digital content that allows our community members to access a vast array of books, audio-books, music, and film on their personal devices via their library card.  Roxbury Public Library offers expanded digital services, virtual, in-person and hybrid programs, passport services by appointment, an inventive Library of Things, and an abundance of helpful resources.  Visit us in person or at www.roxburylibrary.org.

The Roxbury Area Chamber of Commerce is dedicated to serving the citizens of Roxbury by providing a forum for local businesses to exchange ideas and information as well as creating a voice for business owners in the local community.  Chamber initiatives and programs contribute to the economic success of our community.   A not-for-profit organization, the Roxbury Area Chamber of Commerce’s goal is to create a flourishing economic environment for local businesses.  Our purpose is to build a relationship between the town and businesses and our success is measured in the success of our members and affiliates.  Our mission is to create business opportunities, lead economic development, and provide an environment in which local businesses can network.

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