Mary Menzel Retires from California Center for the Book

After more than ten years at the helm of California Center for the Book, Mary Menzel is retiring in June. Extremely responsive, amazingly helpful, and invaluable are just a few of the accolades from librarians and colleagues Mary has worked with over the years.  Below are just a few statements about Mary that attest to the value she brought to the California Center for the Book.

The California Center for the Book has had some terrific leaders, including Natalie Cole and Mary Niles Maack, professor at UCLA’s Department of Information Studies. But when Mary was selected as director, it was as if she was made for the job and the job made for her. She is the most well-read person I know; plus her passion for programming and reading is absolutely contagious. She really brought the Center out to libraries and the people of California. Book-to-Action, in particular, remains one of the best programs the state library has ever funded.  Thanks, Mary, for all you’ve done to promote reading in California. Cindy Mediavilla, Library Consultant and Instructor

Mary brought a deep knowledge of books to her work as the Director of the California Center for the Book.  What may be less obvious if you haven’t attended any author events which she presented was her keen understanding of the writing process.  She was able to pose questions to authors that stimulated fascinating responses about how and why these creative people go about their work.  I recently heard Mary introduce Juan Felipe Herrera, the 2015-2016 U.S. Poet Laureate, at UCLA’s Sayers Lecture.  In under two minutes, she captured the essence of his work, made him feel appreciated, and made everybody in the audience want to read his work. – Dr Virginia Walter, UCLA

Mary is by far one of the most pleasant and hardworking colleagues I’ve had the opportunity to work with.  Her enthusiasm for all things book- and reading-related is infectious, and her “go-getter” attitude towards work made her an ideal colleague.  While she will sorely be missed in her present role, I’m sure we will still see her around doing what she does best – connecting good people with great reads. – Shana M. Sojoyner, Programs Manager, California Library Association

It has been a great pleasure to work with Mary. Her passion for books and reading is inspirational and truly enriched the Center’s work. –  Natalie Cole, Library Programs Consultant, California State Library

Mary is one of the friendliest people I have met and I have enjoyed working with her Mary. She is such an advocate for the Center for the Book’s programs and activities she will be missed. I wish Mary the best as she heads into another adventure. –  Beth Wrenn-Estes, Business Manager, California Library Association

Mary Menzel is a native Californian, raised in Napa and currently living in Los Angeles.  Mary has a Master of Library and Information Studies degree from UCLA and a B.A. in creative writing (poetry) from Stanford University. Before joining CCFB she was a librarian with the County of Los Angeles Public Library. Mary is an avid reader of just about everything.

Mary will be greatly missed!  If you would like to reach Mary to wish her well or say thank you, please email her at mmenzel@ucla.edu. Congratulations Mary and happy retirement!

~Julianna Robbins