Library Director Named “Woman of Wonder”

Library Director Named “Woman of Wonder”

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Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar can add "Woman of Wonder" to her list of achievements over her career.

By MADDY VITALE

Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar already has a long list of accolades bestowed upon her for her work in the library and the community.

Now, the Ocean City mother of three can add one more to her list of honors.

Mahar, along with two other Cape May County women, were named 2019 “Women of Wonder” by the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation and Cape May County Women’s Commission.

The other recipients are Stormy Freese, of Cape May Court House, and Shirley “Becki” Wilson, of Seaville.

In honor of the awards, there will be a celebratory luncheon fundraiser Thursday, Nov. 14, at 11:30 a.m. at the Flanders Hotel in Ocean City.

Proceeds will support scholarships for students attending Atlantic Cape Community College.

“I am honored to say that I am one of three recipients of the 2019 Women of Wonder award,” Mahar said. “I want people to know about the event because that’s how they raise money to be able to send kids to ACCC and help them further their education.”

Mahar has a long tenure of dedicated service at the Ocean City Free Public Library.

She has been the director of the library since 2015. Prior to that time, she was the senior librarian from 2012 to 2015 and previously served as director from 1993 to 2004.

Some of her honors include the 2017 selection as “Working Woman of the Year,” presented by the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce at the annual “Salute to Working Women” luncheon.

Under Mahar’s leadership, the library staff works closely with the community. The library partners with the City of Ocean City, the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Ocean City School District and local businesses.

Among her credits, she served as director of the Miss New Jersey Parade under the Miss New Jersey Education Foundation from 2014 to 2018. She is also a member of a host of organizations and serves on the Board of Directors for Literacy Volunteers of America.

Throughout her career as library director, Mahar is responsible for all library programs and departments, helps establish and recommend policies to the Library Board of Trustees and prepares and plans the library budget.

In addition, she recruits, hires, trains, supervises and evaluates a library staff of over 45 employees.

And with all of her accomplishments and hard work ethic, she has earned the respect of her peers.

President of the Library Board of Trustees Jennifer Shirk said that she is proud of Mahar and all of her achievements.

“The Library Board of Trustees is already fully aware of what a wonderful leader Karen is,” Shirk said. “We could not be more proud that others outside Ocean City recognize her work and the value she brings to our community, particularly in literacy and lifelong learning.”

2019 “Women of Wonder” honorees. (Courtesy Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation)

Like Mahar, the other two award recipients also have extensive backgrounds, according to information provided by the Atlantic Cape Community College Foundation.

Stormy Freese is a microbiologist at the Cape May County Department of Mosquito Control.

Freese began her career as a laboratory assistant at the county’s Mosquito Control Commission in May 2014 and became a full-time employee in January 2015.

Since she began working at the commission full time, Freese has been involved with promoting STEM careers.

She organized a Super Mosquito Scientist class for the Girl Scouts and has attended several career and STEM days at Dennis and Lower Township schools.

Shirley “Becki” Wilson has been a commissioner on the Delaware River and Bay Authority Commission since her appointment in 2012.

She has also been active in a host of organizations and committees throughout her career.

Wilson serves as a member of the Atlantic/Cape May Supreme Court Committee on Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement, the Mid-Atlantic Center for Arts and Humanities, Center for Community Arts Board of Directors and is the co-founder of REUNITE.

She also worked as a realtor locally from 2013 to 2017, and prior to that, as a Child Study Team case manager for Cape May County from 2005 to 2011.

Wilson is also the president and founder of Everything Is Attitude, a New Jersey non-profit corporation providing funding for character education programs.

For ticket and sponsorship information, visit www.atlantic.edu/wow or contact Kristin Jackson at (609) 463-3621 or email her at kjackson@atlantic.edu.

Ocean City Free Public Library Director Karen Mahar, left, with author Lisa Wingate, and Jennifer Shirk, president of the Library Board of Trustees. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Shirk)