Frederick Ruffner honored with National Friends of Libraries U.S.A. Award

For Immediate Release
Tue, 05/12/2015


Jillian Kalonick

Marketing/Public Relations Specialist

United for Libraries

NEW YORK -- Frederick Ruffner (1926-2014), founder of the Literary Landmarks™ program, was posthumously honored with United for Libraries’ National Friends of Libraries U.S.A. Award on May 4. United for Libraries Executive Director Sally Gardner Reed presented the award to Ruffner’s sons, Peter Ruffner and Rick Ruffner.

The ceremony took place at the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library in Harlem, which was being dedicated as a Literary Landmark in honor of Walter Dean Myers (1937-2014).

According to Peter and Rick Ruffner, “Our dad felt that the Literary Landmarks program was a way of honoring authors and perpetuating their work. Additionally he saw it as a way to encourage reading and to promote library usage by providing a more personal connection for readers. He believed the Literary Landmark sites could create a better understanding for the historical context of a character or story, and seeing where an author wrote might help us understand some of the motivations that influenced a book.”

Ruffner was the founder of Gale Research Company with his wife Mary Evans Ruffner. He helped to found Friends of Libraries USA (FOLUSA), and served as the organization’s president from 1984 to 1986. He was active in library advocacy at the national and state level, helping to mobilize campaigns in Florida and Michigan. He was founding president of Michigan Center for the Book and served on the board of the Detroit Public Library.

Ruffner founded the Literary Landmarks program in 1986 to encourage the dedication of historic literary sites. The first dedication was at Slip F18 in Bahia Mar, Florida, the anchorage of the Busted Flush, the houseboat home of novelist John D. MacDonald’s protagonist Travis McGee. The Literary Landmarks program is continued by United for Libraries (which was formed by the merger of Friends of Libraries U.S.A. and the Association for Library Trustees and Advocates in 2009).

In celebration of Children’s Book Week (May 4-10, 2015), United for Libraries dedicated five Literary Landmarks celebrating children’s book authors. This program was spearheaded by Rocco Staino, director of Empire State Center for the Book and was presented in conjunction with the Children’s Book Council. The five Literary Landmarks were the Carl Sandburg State Historic Site, Galesburg, Illinois; Westerly (Rhode Island) Public Library (in honor of Margaret Wise Brown); Norman (Oklahoma) Public Library (in honor of Harold Keith); the George Bruce Branch of the New York Public Library (in honor of Walter Dean Myers), and Hamilton (Ohio) Lane Library (in honor of Robert McCloskey).

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United for Libraries: The Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, is a division of the American Library Association that supports those who govern, promote, advocate, and fundraise for libraries. United for Libraries brings together library trustees, advocates, friends, and foundations into a partnership that creates a powerful force for libraries in the 21st century. For more information or to join United for Libraries, visit the United for Libraries website or contact Jillian Kalonick at (312) 280-2161 or