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Mary Belin Rhodes of Waverly Township, a community leader and volunteer, was named the William W. Scranton Library Laureate by the Lackawanna County Library System.

The award will be presented at the Library System’s American Masters Lecture Thursday, April 18 at 7 p.m. at the Scranton Cultural Center at the Masonic Temple.

Colson Whitehead, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award-winning author of “The Underground Railroad,” will deliver the American Masters Lecture immediately after the presentation ceremony.

The award honors the memory of the late Gov. William W. Scranton, a man known for his love of libraries and reading.

“Mrs. Rhodes is being honored for her deep commitment to the community and her dedication to lectures presented by the Library System,” said Mary Garm, system administrator, in a news release.

A teacher for more than 40 years, Rhodes has been an active community volunteer throughout her life.

Since retiring from the Abington Heights School District, where she taught high school math, she has pursued many volunteer activities including therapy dog training and involvement with the Abington Heights Educational Improvement Organization and the Abington Heights Student Aid Fund.

She is a former member of the board at Wilkes University and the Waverly Community House and is currently a member of the board of Outreach.

She also devotes time to teaching basic math skills to people incarcerated at the Lackawanna County Prison.

“It is also fitting that Mrs. Rhodes should receive this distinction since she knew Governor Scranton well,” Garm said. “In fact, as a little girl, along with her parents, she attended the 1942 wedding of Bill and Mary Scranton. She describes the former governor as one of her heroes.”

Rhodes is the third person to receive the award. Previous Library Laureates are James W. Reid, Esq. and Brian Cali, Esq.

Tickets for the American Masters Lecture can be obtained at any Lackawanna County library or online at