Strategic Planning

The BPL Compass

Profiles – Josephine Bruzzese, Friends of the Orient Heights Branch

by Gina Perille


When Josephine Bruzzese’s parents moved from Italy to the United States, they faced a challenge that is common to immigrants to this country: ensuring that their children become fluent in a language they themselves could neither speak nor understand. They realized that the best way to go about it was to have their children mingle with native English speakers. So, when Josephine was just four years old, they began sending her to the library.

That decision instilled in Josephine a lifelong love of libraries—in particular, her neighborhood library. “The neighborhood branch is the center of the community,” she explains. And as her neighborhood has diversified over the years with the arrival of Latino, Chinese, and North African Muslim immigrants, she has seen how the library helps others for whom English is a second language, just as it once did for her.

Because she believes so strongly in the importance of the library to her neighborhood, Josephine today is active in her local friends of the library group. “The requirements of one branch location are different from another, because the demographics are so different in different parts of the city,” she says. “There’s a lot going on with the library, all over the city.”