Welcome to the memorial page for

Harriett Nalty Fargnoli

August 14, 1945 ~ August 24, 2017 (age 72)

     Harriett Nalty Fargnoli died peacefully at home on August 24th, surrounded by her loving family.  For twenty years, she fought breast cancer with ferocity and grace.  A resident of Rockville Centre for the past forty years, Harriett was born in Columbus, Ohio, on V-J Day, August 14, 1945.  After graduating from Bexley High School in 1963, Harriett earned a bachelor’s degree in history from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree in library science from Simmons College in Boston.  

     From 1991 until her retirement in 2007, Harriett served as a senior children’s librarian at the Great Neck Library in Great Neck, NY, where she was promoted to Assistant Head of Children's Services.  On several occasions, she served as President of the Great Neck Library Staff Association.  Harriett was a strong and forward-thinking advocate for her colleagues.  Her many responsibilities never conflicted with her immeasurable love to serve the public and her young readers.  With commitment and creativity, Harriett designed programs that engaged children and their families with books. Together with her library colleagues, she hosted Breakfast with Clifford the Big Red Dog, the Teddy Bears’ Picnic, and Teatime with Peter Rabbit.  While never one to play favorites, her celebration of Curious George’s Birthday Party may have sneaked up to the top of her list. 

     Harriett also served as liaison to Great Neck Public Schools and to a number of community pre-schools and Hebrew academies.  During the summers, she invited fifth and sixth graders to the library for Brown Bag Book Discussions.  Taking the time to get to know children and their families, Harriett was a careful and thoughtful curator of the children’s collection and lovingly guided her readers to find the perfect book to borrow.  One of these young readers was especially appreciative of her genuine commitment when he nominated her for the Librarian of the Year Award given each year by the New York Times.  To her surprise and delight, she was one of the recipients of this prestigious recognition in 2005.  Harriett was an insightful book reviewer for School Library Journal in which she evaluated and recommended children's books to librarians, teachers, and educators in the wider community.  For a number of years, Harriett was a Board Member of the Children’s Services Division of the Nassau County Library Association.

     Prior to serving Great Neck, Harriett was a school librarian at Oceanside School Number 5 in Oceanside, New York; at Covert and Watson Elementary Schools in Rockville Centre, New York; and a children’s librarian at the Oceanside Public Library.    

     Before moving to Long Island, Harriett was a volunteer in the Dallas Public Library, the librarian at Milwaukee Children's Hospital, a children’s librarian at the Stevens Memorial Library in North Andover, Massachusetts, and a grade school teacher at the Cassingham Elementary School in Columbus, Ohio.  

     For someone who started out typing and filing catalog cards as a part time job in college, she not only witnessed amazing changes in librarianship over the years but also embraced new technologies and ideas to ensure that public libraries remained a vital part of the community.

     While at The Ohio State University, Harriett was a member of the Kappa Alpha Theta sorority (Alpha Gamma Chapter) and continued to be an active member after graduation.  In 2014, she received her 50-year pin.  

     In 1972 while in North Andover, Harriett served as a precinct captain for George McGovern’s presidential campaign and would often quip that the only state McGovern carried was Massachusetts, a testimony to her hard work.  Her experience in campaigning did not end there.  It continued with Obama and Bernie. 

     A favorite saying of hers attributed to Cicero hangs on the kitchen refrigerator:  If you have a garden and a library, you have all that you need.  Harriett lived that saying, for she loved gardening and reading . . . among many other things!

     Predeceased by her parents, Frank and Viola Nalty, of Columbus, Ohio, and by her beloved aunts, Nellie Burnworth and Faye Harmon, of Bremen, Ohio, Harriett is survived by her husband of forty-four years, Dr. Nicholas Fargnoli, Dean of Humanities at Molloy College in Rockville Centre, NY, her three children Giuliana Fargnoli Chapman, of Roanoke, Virginia, Alessandro Fargnoli of New York City, and Gioia Fargnoli of Fairfax, Virginia.  She will be dearly missed by her son-in-law Joshua Chapman and her two grandsons Phineas and Jupiter, by her extended family of nieces, nephews, and in-laws, and by her many loving friends.  Harriett was a wonderful person, a loving wife and nurturing mother and she had the rare virtue of enriching the lives of those she touched. 

     In lieu of flowers, the family suggests sharing Harriett’s legacy and celebrating her life by donating a tree or a planting to your town or community garden, by contributing to your local library to support children’s reading programs, or by donating to one of the charities Harriett valued:  Doctors Without Borders, the Southern Poverty Law Center, Planned Parenthood, or Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

     A Memorial Service is planned for October.



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