June 12, 2024

City of Hoboken wins Library Champion Award

The City of Hoboken today announced that the New Jersey Library Association (NJLA) awarded the City the prestigious Library Champion Award for its unwavering support of public libraries and intellectual freedom. The City earned the award following the unanimous adoption of a resolution declaring the City of Hoboken as a Book Sanctuary City in September 2023. Hoboken Public Library Director Jennie Pu was also named the NJLA 2024 Librarian of the Year, making her the first recipient from Hudson County to receive the distinguished accolade, and the Library Board of Trustees won the Trustee Service Award.

“Being recognized as a Library Champion is a testament to Hoboken’s commitment to fostering a culture of learning and inclusivity,” said Mayor Ravi S. Bhalla. “Jennie Pu’s leadership has been instrumental in making our public library a beacon of knowledge and a sanctuary for diverse voices. This honor underscores the hard work and dedication of Jennie and the entire Hoboken Public Library team, and I offer them my sincere congratulations!”

“I am proud to have attended this year's New Jersey Library Association Awards Ceremony to receive the Champion Award on behalf of the City of Hoboken for being the first municipality in the state to declare itself a Book Sanctuary City,” said At-Large Councilmember Emily Jabbour, who sponsored the book sanctuary city resolution. “Since Mayor Bhalla signed an Executive Order declaring Hoboken a Fair and Welcoming City in 2017, this declaration is an extension of these values to ensure that no book will be banned or censored; in fact, our community celebrates diverse voices and stories to continue to enforce the message that we are a welcoming and inclusive community. Thank you to Hoboken Public Library Director Jennie Pu and the Hoboken Public Library Board of Trustees for being diligent stewards of these values."

“I am honored to be the first from Hudson County to be named Librarian of the Year by the New Jersey Library Association and could not have done this without the support of an incredible library board and strong city leaders,” said Director Pu. “This award rightfully belongs to the dedicated and talented Hoboken Public Library team who faithfully serve all members of our community day in, day out.”

“I'm so proud of all the hard work the Library has done to ensure it is a welcoming place for everyone,” said Library Board President Jerome Abernathy. “It is indeed a sanctuary in every sense of the word.”

Pu, who has been the director of the Hoboken Public Library since 2023, has revitalized the Hoboken Public Library, enhancing its profile both locally and nationally. She has implemented several community-focused initiatives, including pop-up libraries in schools and the installation of book lockers in collaboration with the Hoboken Historical Museum. Under her guidance, Hoboken’s first makerspace was incorporated within the sustainably restored Hoboken Main Library, blending the library’s historic charm with modern functionality.

Her commitment to intellectual freedom led to the declaration of Hoboken as New Jersey’s first book sanctuary, a model that has been replicated by more than 24 libraries and four municipalities across the state. Her contributions to the field of librarianship and her advocacy for the right to read have earned her the American Library Association’s 2024 Ernest A. DiMattia Award for Innovation and Service to Community and Profession.