February 17, 2018

Virginia Stanley | Movers & Shakers 2002

Bridge Builder

Librarians “are the cream of the crop, and they’re a book’s best friend,” says Virginia Stanley. “They feel so passionately about a book. They spread the word and don’t keep it to themselves…. If you’re an author, you want a librarian behind you.”

Strong words, especially since they don’t come from a librarian. Stanley, 40, is the associate director of library marketing for HarperCollins Publishers in New York, and she’s in charge of making sure librarians have the books–and the authors–to be passionate about. She works with editors and publicity directors to put books in the libraries and authors on tours.


Current position: Associate Director, Library Marketing, General Books Group, HarperCollins Publishers

Degree: B.A. English, Dowling College, Oakdale, NY, 1984, cum laude

Stanley has been with HarperCollins since 1988 and helped make it a corporate member of Friends of Libraries USA (she’s a board member). She is also responsible for the $10,000 FOLUSA/HarperCollins Award in honor of Barbara Kingsolver, given annually to a Friends group in a library with a small budget. The prize money goes to the library to be used solely for buying books and/or audios. This year’s winner, the Friends of the Crested Butte Library, CO, more than doubled the library’s book budget of $4000. Among their efforts, they raised over $15,000 and initiated a $5000 two-year college scholarship for a high school senior based on an essay contest. Contestants had to define the American democratic system and describe how a democracy might benefit and prosper from a well-educated and well-read society–and, of course, they had to use books they had read to make their case!

In her non-Kingsolver Award role, Stanley has also persuaded several WWF wrestlers, including Chyna, to pose for an American Library Association poster promoting reading and libraries. Stanley, who once worked briefly as a stand-up comic, says her current job is her favorite. And she leaves the impression that working with librarians is a perk of the job rather than a duty. “[Librarians]
are in it for the right reasons; they’re in it for the books.”