A Message from Library Board President Betty Carillo


It is with great sadness that I report the passing of long-time Library Board Trustee Phyllis Dain earlier this year.  Phyllis passed away at the age of 88 although her vitality belied her age.

Those of you who perhaps only knew Phyllis for her work in town should know that she brought a great deal of accomplishment with her.  Her career was dedicated to libraries and the important work they do.   She received her doctorate from Columbia University in Library Science and later served on the faculty of the School of Library Service, retiring as Professor Emerita.  She authored several books about the New York Public Library as well as on the American public library in the information age.  The American Library Association honored her with an award in her name as she was widely known as a supportive advisor and mentor as well as a rigorous scholar and thinker.

But for those of us in Leonia, she was so much more.   She served on the Library Board of Trustees from 1976 until close to her passing.  She helped us to uphold the principles of libraries.  She worked tirelessly on every task no matter how large or small.  She served several terms as President as well as Secretary.  She co-chaired the major fundraiser of the library for the renovation in 2001, raising about $300,000.

She also co-chaired the centennial events in 1994.  For those of you who were in town then you will remember those major events which celebrated the centennial of our town.  There was no task too daunting for Phyllis. 

Phyllis was also an avid supporter of Flat Rock Brook Nature Center.  She served on their board for three decades.  True to her nature, she served as President, Vice-President and Secretary throughout her tenure on the board.  Additionally, she was Acting Executive Director for a period when it was needed.  She provided leadership for their Capital Campaign which raised over $400,000 for their Endowment Fund.

But more than titles, she was sympathetic to the needy and fought for their rights of access to information. She was an avid reader with a voracious appetite for knowledge.  She was friend, neighbor, mentor, guide and support to all who needed it. She was all the best of humanity.  She will be greatly missed by us all.

We would also like to extend our sympathy to Phyllis’s son Bruce and her brother Bernard.  Phyllis’ beloved husband Norman predeceased her and she often said they were childhood sweethearts who grew up together.

There will be a Memorial Service for Phyllis at Flat Rock Brook on June 23, 2018 at 3 pm. We at the library will celebrate Phyllis at the Leonia Public Library on Sunday, June 24, at 2 pm.  Please join us to pay tribute to this very special woman.