Jacqueline Woodson. Credit John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

New Rochelle Public Library Foundation Guardian Gala Set for May 9th

The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation will hold its Guardian Gala on Thursday, May 9th at the Greentree Country Club in New Rochelle. The evening will include cocktails, dinner, dancing and  a silent auction; CBS TV reporter Tony Aiello will serve as the evening’s emcee. Tickets cost $185 per person and are available at or on the NRPLF website at

NRPLF’s Guardian Award will be presented to three champions in the fight against book banning:  Best-selling authors Jacqueline Woodson and Emma Straub, and publisher Nancy Paulsen, President of Nancy Paulsen Books, Penguin Inc.

“The NRPL Foundation is committed to drawing attention to the dangerous growth in book banning across America and the harms of censorship,” says President Chris Selin. According to PEN America, the national organization of writing professionals, “Books are under profound attack in the United States. They are disappearing from library shelves, being challenged in droves, being decreed off limits by school boards, legislators, and prison authorities.” The American Library Association reports that there has been a record surge of challenges in public libraries across America: In 2022 the ALA’s Office for Intellectual Freedom documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. 

The Guardian Award was created to recognize individuals whose careers and lifetime accomplishments exemplify the mission of public libraries: Providing free and open access to information and to a broad variety of ideas and viewpoints. Journalists Fareed Zakaria and Tom Goldstone were the first recipients in 2019.

Also being honored on May 9th are: Chris Selin, President of the New Rochelle Public Library Foundation for the past 9 years as well as a former member of City Council; Tom Geoffino, Director of the New Rochelle Public Library for the past 18 years who will be retiring in 2024;   and Business Honorees Donna and Bob Young, who head up the Young Companies and the JRY Foundation.  

The New Rochelle Public Library Foundation (NRPLF) was established in 1994 to support the Library and all that it provides to the city’s diverse community of approximately 80,000 residents. A nonprofit organization comprised entirely of volunteer members, the Foundation raises resources and provides advocacy to keep this vital institution vibrant, up-to-date, and able to serve the needs of the citizens of New Rochelle.  For more information visit the NRPL website at