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Inwood resident Audrian Gray named Peninsula Public Library board president

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For new Peninsula Public Library Board of Trustee President Audrian Gray, reaching out to the community is what she wants to emphasize in her five-year term.

At PPL’s July 16 reorganizational meeting, Gray was elected by her fellow trustees to serve as president of the library’s five-person board. She previously served as the board’s secretary and vice president. The current board also includes Vice President Samuel Francis, secretary Jeff Leb, treasurer  Sarah Yastrab and Trustee Reva Oliner. 

Gray, who grew up in Inwood and graduated from Lawrence High School, spent 23 years in Alexandria, Va., before returning to the Five Towns in 2001, is a former executive director of nonprofit organizations who has also sat on the board of the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence and conducted evaluations of Girl Scout USA programs. 

Retired from paying positions, she applied her professional experience volunteering in the Hempstead office of the Urban League of Westchester helping 55 and older workers gain new skills and placing them with other nonprofit groups. Gray holds a bachelor degree from SUNY Old Westbury and a master’s in social welfare from Stony Brook University.

Gray ran unopposed for another five-year term in June. She received 3,296 votes. She noted her appreciation for her colleagues on the board for believing in her. “It’s great to have their support,” she said. “We all think alike in terms of our expectations in what we want to do for the community.”

 Leb, the immediate past president and current trustee said that he was elated that Gray was chosen to be president. “Audrian is an incredibly talented individual and professional, and her many strengths will help bring the library to be better than ever,” he said. “The Peninsula Public Library serves an incredibly diverse constituency and community, and our library board and president represent that amazing tapestry that makes our district the best area in Nassau County to live.”

Carolynn Matulewicz, PPL’s director, has worked alongside Gray for the past five years. She believes that Gray is a great fit to be president of the board. “Audrian has many years of professional board experience having been on the board of the Girl Scouts and other community organizations,” she said. “She has been a valuable member to the library during her time on the board.”

Peninsula Public Library, which is on Central Avenue in Lawrence, has long been the library that has the largest usage in one of the smallest library buildings in Nassau County. Gray noted that it is essential to reach out to other communities to keep the library relevant, especially during the coronavirus pandemic. 

“As a kid, I grew up in the library and I want kids to view our library as a place that they can escape to,” she said. “To increase the interest in the library, you can’t just serve one community, you have to embrace other communities and bring them into the fold.”