March 16, 2018

Nicole Cooke and Trevor Dawes | Movers & Shakers 2007

Team Power


When a posting on the electronic mailing list for black librarians inquired whether New Jersey should have a chapter of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), Nicole Cooke and Trevor Dawes said yes – and they made it happen.

According to Howard McGinn, dean of Seton Hall University libraries, South Orange, NJ, the duo ‘negotiated an agreement with an almost defunct organization of black librarians, then brought the remaining members of this organization into the new NJ BCALA.’

Dawes says they hadn’t quite anticipated all the red tape this entailed: ‘The bureaucracies we had to deal with were incredible – getting a bank account, getting registered with the state, getting the appropriate tax documents.’

Pulling in members of the predecessor organization was perhaps even more challenging. Connie Paul of the Central Jersey Regional Library Cooperative credits the team’s ‘exceptional leadership skills’ and their tireless labor to establish bylaws, create a scholarship program, and plan and market events. In its first year, the organization has already presented several programs, awarded its first scholarship, and attracted a sizable membership.

McGinn credits Cooke’s experience in public, special, and academic libraries and Dawes’s ‘superb political skills’ in helping engage and inspire others.

An evening reference librarian at Montclair State University, Cooke spends her off-duty hours coordinating New Jersey’s ‘Train the Trainer’ programs, planning and presenting at conferences, and reading and reviewing mysteries and consumer health books for LJ and young adult books on Writing reviews, she says, is the only way she can make time to read.

Once an ‘aimless’ student worker, Dawes found in Columbia University’s library a career and an academic venue he loves. As circulation services director for Princeton University Library, he’s in charge of circulation, reserves, and the periodicals and newspaper collection and budget. He’s also responsible for advising on copyright and patron privacy issues and serves as an instructor in Drexel’s Information Science and Technology program. (He describes his work life as ‘meetings, meetings, meetings.’)

Cooke says, ‘Our work styles and personalities truly complement and balance each other, and, as a result, we’ve been working together on other professional projects.’ To the great benefit of our profession.



Nicole Cooke


CURRENT POSITION Evening Reference Librarian, Montclair State University, NJ

DEGREES MLS, Rutgers University, 1999; Masters in Adult Education, Pennsylvania State University, 2006

SUM OF ITS PARTS Wanted to be a pharmacist but confronted ‘math incompetence’

Trevor Dawes


CURRENT POSITION Circulation Services Director, Princeton University Library, NJ

DEGREES MLS, Rutgers, 2001; M.Ed in Educational Leadership, Teachers College, Columbia University, 2002

PUBLICATION Marketing and Managing Electronic Resources (Haworth Pr., 2006)

HOME FOR THE HOLIDAY Cooks Thanksgiving dinner for 20+ friends and family members