NEWBURGH - The Newburgh Free Library has announced that Muriel Verdibello has retired after serving library director for 13 years. Under her leadership the library expanded its services with a Town Branch in the Newburgh Mall and created the Newburgh Library Collaborative which gives public access to the resources of the city’s major libraries: Newburgh Free Library, Curtin Library at Mount Saint Mary College and the SUNY Orange Library.
When Verdibello first took the helm, she coordinated the library’s 150th anniversary celebration, honoring the library as a cornerstone institution. She was a strong supporter of the first community-wide book discussion as well as other Orange Reads initiatives. In 2006 the Newburgh Library was named the Friend in Education by the Newburgh Teachers Association. That same year the library joined Hudson River Valley Heritage, a collaborative website offering digital access to historical documents and photos from Newburgh and other partners. To better utilize library space and upgrade the building, she oversaw the installation of handicapped-accessible doors and increased the number of public computers. In 2012 she welcomed Newburgh-native and prolific author James Patterson who spoke about the importance of reading to help revitalize the city.
Verdibello started her library career as a reference librarian at the Mid-Hudson Library System in Poughkeepsie and chaired the first Regional Interlibrary Loan Committee. She left to become head of reference and later director and interim director of the Poughkeepsie Public Library District. Before joining the Newburgh Free Library she was the director at the Millbrook Free Library. She served on a variety of boards including Orange Library Association, Southeastern New York Library Resources Council and the Ramapo Catskill Library System and was a member of the RCLS Directors Association and the New York Library Association.
The new director of the Newburgh Free Library is Chuck Thomas who previously served in the library’s Outreach Department, administered the library’s Information Technology Department and was responsible for job information services. Additional responsibilities included grant and fund development to enhance special resources such as Local History digitization projects, innovative business services, adult and child literacy and access to environmental information. As a member of the adult programming team, Thomas was responsible for a wide variety of programs including author lectures, symposia, educational forums and cultural events. Chuck was awarded his Library Degree from SUNY Albany and an Advanced Certification in Public Library Administration from the Palmer Institute for Public Library Administration of Long Island University.
Thomas is widely known for his community involvement and contributions and has served on the Cultural Affairs Committee of the Orange County Citizens Foundation, the City of Newburgh Waterfront Advisory Commission, the Newburgh Preservation Assoc., the Orange County Rural Development Advisory Corp., the Celebrate the Dream Committee, Inc., the Orange County Chapter, NYS Archaeological Assoc., the Advisory Board of the Historical Society of Newburgh Bay and the Highlands, the Quassaick Creek Coalition and the newly planned City of Newburgh Conservation Advisory Council.
Thomas is former president and CEO of BTK Associates, Inc., which provided and archaeological consulting services in the preparation of environmental impact statements for the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA).