The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) Foundation provides critical philanthropic support to the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. It strengthens the Library’s capacity to innovate, adapt to change, and ensure our libraries remain a vital resource for all in Prince George’s County now and in the future. Our libraries are more than a place to find books; they are spaces–both physical and online–to empower individuals, strengthen families, and make our county a better place.
As residents of Prince George’s County, we acknowledge that we gather on the traditional lands of the Mattapanient, the Patuxent, the Piscataway, the Moyaone, the Pamunkey, and the Mattapanient, past and present, and honor with gratitude the land itself and the people who have stewarded it throughout the generations. This calls us to commit to continuing to learn how to be better stewards of the land we inhabit as well.
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Colin Byrd is a lifelong Greenbelter. Growing up, he fell in love with everything Greenbelt – the parades, the theater, the Community Center, the pool, the parks, the library, the people, and so much more.
Colin was first elected to the Greenbelt City Council in 2017, served as Mayor of Greenbelt from 2019-2021, and again serves on the council.
Colin is an alumnus of the University of Maryland, College Park, where he studied sociology, was inducted into the National Society of Collegiate Scholars and the OMSE Academic Excellence Society, and was a research assistant in the fields of psychology, economics and public health.
Colin is also an alumnus of the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance fellowship program, and he regularly attends workshops and conferences to learn new things about how to better serve Greenbelters.
Tracy Simpson has lived in Prince George’s County since age 3 when her father, a NFL player was traded to Washington. She attended Prince George’s County Public Schools, and continued higher education at Prince George’s Community College and The Catholic University of America. Her professional experience includes work as a corporate manager, trainer, marketing content developer, special events strategist and organizer, and her current role as HR manager for a local healthcare agency. Simpson served as a therapeutic licensed foster parent for 20 years until the untimely diagnosis of her late husband with early onset of Lewes Body Dementia. She remains focused on youth social development and the support of resources for caretakers and families affected by dementia. Simpson is an effective leader in uniting local nonprofit and religious organizations with municipalities to build partnerships that support the needs of our community. She serves Hemingway Memorial AME Church as its administrator and member of the Board of Trustees.
Christine Turner Jackson is an author, administrator, and educator. What began as an interest about her father's childhood playing baseball in 1950s Washington D.C., blossomed into her first children's book called Pitch Black. Chris earned her bachelor's degree from The George Washington University. After teaching elementary school, she began her 25-year career with the U.S. Department of Education. Married to Tim Jackson, they reside in Prince George’s County and have two young adult children, Tim II and Monet.
Vernon R. Ware is the Senior Pastor of Faith AME Church located in Laurel. Previously, he served at Pilgrim AME Church in D.C. and as the director of church life at the Reid Temple A.M.E. Church – North location. Before that, he served as the senior minister of young adults and College Students at Ebenezer AME Church in Fort Washington, MD, where he was also the chief financial officer for seven years before that. He also worked as an auditor for Destiny Management Systems where he conducted Financial Management Oversight Reviews of Federal Transit Authority grantees. Ware is also a licensed clinical therapist with 10+ years of experience in therapeutic counseling and community engagement. He holds a Master of Science degree in Pastoral Clinical Counseling from Loyola University, a Masters of Divinity from Howard University School of Divinity and a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from the University of Maryland – College Park. He is a member of the American Counseling Association and the Maryland Counseling Association and is a National Certified Counselor. Ware believes strongly in the importance, relevance and impact of the Prince George’s County Public Library System and is honored to serve as Treasurer on the Foundation Board.
Karen Anadol loves reading books and believes in their power to transform lives. She has worked in a variety of fields, from the Carpenters’ Union in upstate New York to raising sheep and goats while working on a dairy farm in Michigan, to volunteering with human rights and arts non-profit organizations. She started Interwoven Cultures, a non-profit dedicated to the preservation of traditional textiles in Turkey. A lover of travel, Karen has spent extensive time in Turkey exploring ancient sites and learning more about the history and culture of the region. Karen’s varied background has allowed her a greater appreciation and understanding of the world around her. She strives to expand her horizons and believes strongly in the positive power of volunteerism.
Damon L. Austin is a librarian with more than two decades of experience as a librarian and information sciences research consultant. He is a Trustee of The American Library in Paris and currently serves as Director of Library and Media Services for DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, MD.
Austin has librarian experience with the USDA National Agricultural Library, the University of Maryland College Park, and University of Florida Libraries. He is also a professional tennis coach and consultant who has worked with tennis tour professionals ranked in the top 100.
Dr. Richard Bell is a scholar, writer, and Professor at the University of Maryland in the Department of History. His research focuses on the history and culture of the United States between 1750 and 1877. His recent book is Stolen: Five Free Boys Kidnapped into Slavery and Their Astonishing Odyssey Home. Dr. Bell received his PhD from Harvard University and his BA from the University of Cambridge. He lives in University Park, MD, with his wife and two daughters.
A lifelong resident of Prince George's County, Karen Clark-Reddon is a proud graduate of the University of Maryland College Park. As a mentor and personal enrichment coach, she empowers adults and pre-teens to follow their dreams. Clark-Reddon is a serial entrepreneur who turned her passions into profits and founded Devonshire – A Perfect Events Company, LLC. She and her daughter Kaelyn co-own DBK Bath Bombs and soaps.
Dottie Meinhardt Crecelius has been the president of the Friends of the Baden Library for the past 12 years. She is a retired business owner of a building permit expediting company and very involved her family business, property management and investment group. She lives in Baden, on a farm in the southern part of Prince George’s County where she spends time with her husband, children, and grandchildren.
After more than 38 years of federal government service, Linda Washington Douglas retired from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). In her last position with the FDIC, Washington Douglas advocated at national outreach events for minority and women-owned businesses, which resulted in numerous firms obtaining multi-million dollar contracts. After retirement, she launched the Washington Douglas Consulting firm. She is married and has been a Prince George’s County resident for more than 40 years.
Ishraga Eltahir has been a lifelong lover of the public library. In high school, her first job involved roaming the local library‘s stacks as a page. Born in Sudan, growing up in Saudi Arabia, New York City, and Northern Virginia, she now calls Hyattsville home. Eltahir started her career working in nonprofits in Washington, DC and in West Africa. Today, she is the director of business execution at FORT Investment Management, a systematic hedge fund manager in Chevy Chase. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Political & Social Thought and African/African-American Studies from the University of Virginia and a master’s degree in International Commerce and Policy from George Mason University. Eltahir finds balance in reading, riding horses, and gardening.
Born in Busan, South Korea, Patti Kim immigrated to the U.S. on Christmas in 1974. Convinced at the age of five that she was a writer, Kim scribbled gibberish all over the pages of her mother's Korean-English dictionary and got in big trouble for it. But that didn't stop her from writing. The author of I'm Ok, A Cab Called Reliable, Here I Am, and It's Girls Like You, Mickey. Kim lives in University Park, Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and a ferocious terrier.
Antoine Lunsford is an elementary school educator with Prince George’s County Public Schools and a children’s book author of the Little Andy’s World series. He is the host of “Antoine and Friends: Local Children’s Author Series,” a weekly online program for PGCMLS.
Rick AmRhein has worked in library administration for more than thirty years and has brought innovative thinking and vision to the way information services and technology can be integrated into services and functions across multiple units. His most recent work at Valparaiso University (Indiana) began in 1999, where he served as Dean of Library Services for eleven years until his appointment as Chief Information Officer and Chief of Staff for the Office of the President in 2010. He was heavily involved in the vision, planning, construction, and fundraising for Valparaiso University’s award-winning Christopher Center for Library and Information Resources. Rick has consulted for program reviews and visioning for the effective use of library space/function and information technology at Elon University (NC), Duquesne University (PA), Calumet College of St. Joseph (IN), the University of Redlands (CA), the Culver Academies (IN), and the Sage Colleges (NY). He is particularly effective at assessing functions and services from the point of view of the user and determining the most efficient and convenient way for users to experience life on campus in achieving their goals. Furthermore, anticipating that social and technological change will be inevitable, Rick works to build flexibility into all designs so that adaptation over time doesn’t necessitate constant renovation of spaces and structures, but only a renovation of thinking about how to use them. Rick holds graduate degrees from Baylor University (TX), Eastern Illinois University, and Rutgers University (NJ) as well as a Juris Doctor degree from Valparaiso University. Rick has served as chair of the Editorial Board of Choice Magazine, and is published in American Libraries, College and Research Libraries News, Reference Librarian, and Computers in Libraries among others.
Brett Crawford heads a management consulting firm focused on strategy, governance and innovation in the nonprofit and emerging businesses sectors. He has extensive experience promoting small business development, community development and education policy.
Previously, Brett served as Louisiana’s Secretary of Revenue responsible for the state’s tax policy and administration. He also headed Louisiana’s economic development financing agency. He currently chairs the board of directors of Volunteers of America Chesapeake and is an advisor on strategic partnership and collaboration issues for Compass.
Brett has an MBA from Dartmouth, a law degree from Georgetown, and a bachelor’s degree from LSU. He lives in Clinton, MD.