Who We Are

Verona residents committed to building community through supporting our 21st century library

Our Purpose

The Verona Public Library Foundation:

  • Provides additional funds to supplement public funding in support of the library’s goals of enhancing and expanding the library’s capabilities as a center of learning and technology
  • Furthers the mission of  Verona Public Library as a hub of literacy, opportunity, and community support
  • Sponsors, underwrites, and/or conducts programs, activities, and enhancements outside the scope of the municipality-funded budget that promote literacy, life-long learning, and the expansion of knowledge of the general community
  • Provides financial support, funds capital improvements, and engages in activities that support and enhance the library’s ability to offer programs and activities for the community
  • Promotes free and equitable access to information, resources, and opportunities for all people
  • Solicits, receives, invests, manages, distributes and uses donations, contributions, gifts, bequests, and grants of money, securities, and other assets from individuals, businesses, governmental agencies, charitable organizations, etc.
  • Aims to establish a library endowment to ensure long-term financial stability

When you invest in Verona Public Library, you invest in critical support for free literacy programs, life-long learning, technology skills development, and access to meaningful resources for Verona’s adults, children and youth. Since 2022, the Foundation has been a nonprofit partner providing a way for our community to support excellence in our library and enhance our quality of life.

Meet the Foundation’s Trustees

Gale Berninghausen


Gale Berninghausen has 15 years of experience working in higher education and fine arts. Gale develops and leads educational programs for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and teaches art history at New York University. She is a graduate of Columbia University and Middlebury College. 

As a fourth-generation educator and the granddaughter of a prominent library administrator who co-authored The Library Bill of Rights, Gale believes that excellent public libraries are the heart and soul of society. 

Since moving to Verona in 2017, Gale and her husband, Arjun Thakur, enjoy raising their three young children – Indira, Rohan and Kabir – in this vibrant community.

Chris Barrows

Vice President

Chris Barrows is a digital marketing professional of over 14 years with working experiences in higher education, not-for-profit, consumer and retail, and presently, public accounting. He has served as the architect of social media strategy for multiple universities including Wilkes University and NYU.

He has also served in a training capacity in a working environment for more than two decades and has a Master’s Degree in Instructional Technology as part of the Discovery Education Program through Wilkes University.

In addition, Chris serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for the Verona Public Library and previously served as the chairperson of the eduWeb Digital Summit, and as trustee for the Verona Foundation for Educational Excellence (VFEE). He has also been an active member of the Verona community since moving here in 2015 including co-leading a collaborative parents group to help bring Full Day Kindergarten to Verona Schools. He is a proud father of two children and husband to an active member of the Verona Juniors.

Jennifer (Zimmerman) Quade


Jennifer (Zimmerman) Quade is an accomplished client relationship and investment professional with over twenty years of experience in the fixed-income financial services sector, including client relations, investment management, quantitative analysis, and research.

Jennifer worked for Prudential Investment Management for seventeen years, where she held a variety of positions in fixed-income portfolio management, strategy, and credit analysis. She joined MEAG New York Corporation in 2009 and is responsible for the company’s largest global client relationships. Her role involves facilitating information flow with clients on all issues related to their assets under management, fielding questions on investment strategies and performance, and presenting results to both internal and external parties, including Boards of Directors and Client Investment Committees.

She received her Bachelor of Science degree in Management from the State University of New York at Binghamton and her MBA from Rutgers University.

Sarina Rivera


Sarina Rivera is Associate General Counsel at Genentech where she has been providing strategic healthcare and FDA regulatory counseling to global and U.S. research and development organizations for the last 14 years. She received her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law and her B.A., summa cum laude, from New Jersey City University. She is committed to serving her community via active participation on various school SCAs and as a Board Member of the Verona Field Hockey Parents Association and Vice President of the Verona Foundation For Educational Excellence. Sarina is an army veteran who has lived in Verona, NJ for 14 years with her husband Lou and four children: Sarah, Logan, Luke, and Stella.

Will Battersby


Will Battersby is a partner at Reno Productions, a film, TV and theater production company. He has been producing and directing documentary and scripted features for over 15 years. His documentary Trumbo received the National Board of Review Freedom of Speech Award and his feature-length animated film The Spine of Night was shortlisted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

His other credits include the documentaries Salt in My Soul and Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room and the features Stephen King’s A Good Marriage, They Remain, The Bleeding House, and Runoff.

Will has lived in Verona for 17 years with his wife and two kids. He is currently president of the HBW Music Parents Association and a board member for the Girls Varsity Soccer Parents Association; he has served on the board of Verona United, on the school Curriculum Committee, and was a member of Sustainable Verona for two years.

David Hildebrandt


David Hildebrandt attended Northern Illinois University and majored in Business Administration.  He was offered an opportunity with Carpenter Steel/Carpenter Technology Corporation as an Eastern Region sale representative and moved to New Jersey.  After 18 years with Carpenter, David started his own small steel company, Lahill Steel Corporation.  Unfortunately, he had a heart attack at work and was blessed with successful open heart surgery. But shortly afterward, he sold Lahill Steel. At the turn of the Century, David became a Gift Counselor for the New Jersey District of the Lutheran Church. In David’s ten years of employment, gifting of Ministry Funding was over $3,000,000. Currently, David is active in two important Verona roles as a Verona Crossing Guard and a Staff Member of the Verona Community Center.  David’s other Verona activities included Manager of Little League and Girls’ Softball as well as the President of the Verona Baseball League, the Verona Jaycees, Calvary Lutheran Church, and the Verona Lions Club. 

Joshua Lax


Joshua Lax is an accomplished trial attorney focusing on criminal law, constitutional law, civil and human rights, and government affairs. In addition to representing clients in private practice, Joshua served as a senior counsel in the Special Federal Litigation Division of the New York City Law Department for more than a decade. He has taught for the last several years as an adjunct professor at Fordham Law School, and serves as an instructor in trial skills for the Federal Bar Council Access to Counsel Program, and the New York City Law Department’s Civil Trial Advocacy Training. 

In addition to his work in the legal field, Joshua is an internationally recognized expert in fountain pen repair and maintenance. Joshua has lived in Verona since 2020. 

Claudine Pascale

Library Director

Claudine Pascale joined the Verona Public Library as Director in 2019. She leads the development of transformative services for residents of Verona through strategic initiatives and partnerships, including developing a new strategic plan for the Library.

Before joining VPL, Claudine was the Director of the Caldwell Public Library and the Fairview Public Library. She has served on numerous committees including the NJLA Scholarship Committee, BCCLS PR Committee, PALS Plus Policy Committee, and PALS Plus PR Committee. She is the past president of the PALS Plus Executive Board.

She received her bachelor’s degree in English Education from New York University and her MLS from Rutgers University. She lives in Verona with her husband, two children, and pup Lulu.

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