Friends and Neighbors: Salem Library Friends president honored by state library association

Carl Nawrocki, president of the Friends of the Salem Free Public Library, recently received the Edith B. Nettleton Award from the Connecticut Library Association.

The award is given annually to a person with “an outstanding record of volunteer service to his or her library,” and he was honored at the association’s annual conference in April.

Library Director Vicky Coffin said she nominated Nawrocki for the award for his nearly three-decade service record for the library. He was a founding member of the Friends group, serving as president for 24 of the group’s 28 years and spearheading fundraising and advocacy efforts, including the opening of the library’s current building in 2004. The Town of Salem awarded him the Unsung Hero Award in 2005.

Nawrocki also serves on the board of directors for the Friends of Connecticut Libraries and the Friends of the Connecticut State Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

“I have been a librarian in both public and academic libraries in Massachusetts and Connecticut for nearly 20 years,” Coffin said in her nomination. “In all of that time, I have never seen a more active, friendly, generous, and inspiring Friends of the Library group as I have here in Salem, Connecticut. As President of the Friends, Carl never sits on his laurels — he is constantly striving to make our local library the very best it can be for the community.”

Nawrocki said his library service was an easy transition from his military service, since both help their communities. He credited a full suite of volunteers for helping him along the way; he said his wife, Carole Eckhart, deserved at least half the award for her work.

Friends and Neighbors is a regular feature in The Times. To submit, email times@theday.com.

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