Spotlight On
  SIS Alumnus Boniface Wewe
  Press Contact: Valerie J. Geiss or Marilyn Oliver, 718.230.2767,  


  photo of BONIFACE NDEMPING WEWEBrooklyn, N.Y. December 19, 2003 – On Tuesday, December 16, Boniface Ndemping Wewe was one of 27 winners who received the 2003 New York Times Librarian Award. Wewe, who joined Brooklyn Public Library in 1993, is Senior Librarian, Children’s Services, at the Saratoga Library in the Bedford-Stuyvesant area of Brooklyn. Winners were selected nationwide from nearly 2,000 nominations by the general public honoring librarians who have provided outstanding public service. The selection committee was composed of leading library professionals from across the country and representatives from The New York Times.

“The New York Times Librarian Award marks a turning point in my life,” says Wewe. “For more than ten years, I have served library patrons from different races, religions, walks of life and neighborhoods. This afforded me the chance to grow and learn. I would never have made it in Brooklyn without the support of the children, teens and adults of the affluent neighborhood of Park Slope, the Jewish neighborhood of Midwood, the mixed neighborhood of Coney Island and the heavily African American neighborhood of Brownsville/Bedford-Stuyvesant where I live and work. The library profession has not traditionally received great public recognition for its contributions. We love our work, yet still it is nice to be acknowledged. Thanks to the New York Times for initiating the Librarian Awards!”

Wewe was born in 1961 in Cameroon, West Africa, where he grew up and studied until 1989. He was then awarded a Fulbright Scholarship and came overseas to attend the University of Pittsburgh to earn a Masters Degree in Library Science. When he graduated in 1991, he moved back to Carmeroon where he headed the Yaounde University Law Library. In 1993, he relocated to America and started his career as a children’s librarian at Brooklyn Public Library. During his public service at Brooklyn Public Library, he has worked at the Park Slope Library, Bedford Library, Coney Island Library, Red Hook Library, Flatbush Library, Midwood Library, Brownsville Library and Clinton Hill Library.

In addition to public library service, he is the author of two books Witches, Wizards, Ghosts and The Beast of Nyiragongo and Atungsiri’s Ghost and Other Tales, and producer of four videos on Africa including Akwaaba… Welcome to Alphabetic Africa and Pay the Dowry/Cameroon – The Africa In Miniature.

Wewe brings a rich scope of cultural as well as professional experience to his work at Brooklyn Public Library. Among his programs are readings for children from his book Witches, Wizards, Ghosts and the Beast of Nyiragongo which will be offered at select branches during February (information on these programs will be available at starting in January). His warmth, creativity, and value for different cultures bring a uniqueness to his interactions with patrons and children. A lover of travel, Wewe has visited France, Germany, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria and the Central African Republic. He speaks English, French, Bamileke, Ewondo, Kenyang and some Spanish.

“We are delighted that the work of this outstanding librarian has received public recognition in The New York Times Librarian Awards," says Brooklyn Public Library Executive Director Ginnie Cooper. "Every day, librarians make a difference in the lives of the people we serve. The New York Times Librarian Award is a great way to acknowledge those who excel in serving their community. Boniface creates a warm, welcoming environment at the Saratoga Library, encouraging everyone to come in, pick up a book, and read."

The New York Times reception and award ceremony held on Tuesday honored each winner with a commemorative plaque and award of $2,500. Baruch College and Thomson Gale sponsored the Librarian Awards for 2003. For more information on the Librarian awards, visit or

Brooklyn Public Library is an independent New York City library system serving the borough of Brooklyn. It is the fifth largest in the United States. Its Central Library, Business Library, and 58 branch libraries offer free information, programs and computer access to people of all ages. You can reach the Library’s resources of over 50 reference databases, catalog information and news 24 hours a day at

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