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Long-Time Children’s Librarian Passes Away, Served Whitestone Community for 18 Years

Susan Scatena and Whitestone Library (Photo: Queens Library)

Jan. 24, 2020 By Kristen Torres

A beloved Queens librarian passed away unexpectedly earlier this month, the Queens Public Library announced Thursday.

Susan Scatena, also known as Miss Susan, worked as a children’s librarian at the Whitestone Library—located at 151-10 14th Road—for nearly two decades before she passed away on Jan. 10.

“During the 18 years she served the Whitestone community, Susan became an institution because of her creativity, thoughtfulness and total devotion to children,” said Dennis Walcott, president of the Queens Public Library.

Scatena was known for hosting an annual summer reading contest, which she ran for 14 years with hopes of getting children to read during the summer vacation.

She would reward the kids participating in the contest if they reached a collective goal of 2,000 books by acting out scenes from popular children’s stories, such as eating a plate of green eggs and ham—inspired by Dr. Seuss.

Scatena began her career as a teacher before first joining the Queens Public Library system in 1981. She held librarian positions at the Poppenhusen and Mitchell-Linden branches before settling at the Whitestone location in 2002.

Scatena was born on Jun. 14, 1958 in College Point, N.Y. She received her bachelor’s degree in early education and a master’s degree in library science at Queens College, and won the prestigious James Patterson PageTurner Award in 2006 for her efforts in inspiring children to read.

Scatena also volunteered at several different performing arts organizations throughout her life, including the Village Light Opera Group, the New York Caledonian Club and the New York Scottish Pipes and Drums, working behind the scenes of their productions.

“She was a remarkable librarian who was beloved by many people in the community,” Walcott said. “We are deeply saddened by her passing and will miss her a great deal.”

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