Kristen Comeaux, manager of the Bellevue Avenue Branch Library since February 2022, is the 2023 recipient of the Margery Quigley Award. This award is given annually to a Montclair Public Library staff member who has demonstrated the same dedication, innovation, and passion for the mission as Margery Closey Quigley, Montclair Public Library’s longest serving director, from 1927 to 1956. Quigley was a forward thinker, establishing the reputation of the Montclair Public Library as an innovative library that responds to community needs.

Comeaux received the surprise award at a library reception on July 20 that also recognized the other nominees, and the hard work and dedication of the staff as a whole.

Kristen Comeaux

Comeaux’s peers, who nominated her, had this to say:

“Kristen’s reimagining of how a Carnegie Library can function has greatly inspired her colleagues to be daring with the use of the public’s library spaces and has even spilled over with her initiative to launch a Library of Things at both buildings. Kristen is also freely kind and caring with the public and her colleagues, and is always welcoming and supportive in collaborative endeavors and in mentoring Bellevue Avenue Branch staff.”

“Kristen has made the branch a destination! She tries new program ideas and takes the feedback of parents and children to inform her decisions. She is full of ideas, good cheer, and has the initiative to follow through until fruition.”

“Kristen is happy to go where the people are: Brookdale Park, for example. Her librarian skills and her commitment to public library values are deep: those early literacy kits, the seed library and the Library of Things are reflections of what she thinks a library should be. Besides being smart and creative, she maintains a positive attitude and good humor.”

Comeaux exemplifies the spirit of Margery Quigley who, with the publication of her book “Portrait of a Library” (1936) and later a documentary film of the same name, helped make the Montclair Public Library one of the best known American suburban libraries in the world. The Margery Quigley Award has been organized and sponsored annually by the Montclair Public Library Foundation since 2021.