Diane Kelly is a mystery author who moved to Hillsborough in 2018. A former tax advisor, Diane has served on many nonprofit boards over the years, including stints on the board of the Friends of the Mansfield Public Library (Mansfield, Texas), various PTAs, Romance Writers of America, Murder We Write, and the Triangle Sisters in Crime. She served as vice-president of the Friends of the Orange County Public Library in 2022 before taking over the presidency role.
Melissa Bourbon is the national bestselling mystery. A former secondary English/Language Arts teacher and Creative Writing teacher with Southern Methodist University’s CAPE program and the Osher Lifelong Learning Institution with North Carolina State University, she has applied her love of teaching to the creation of WriterSpark Academy, an online school for aspiring and new writers seeking to hone their craft. Her love of books and reading led her to the Friends of the library.
Shannon Turlington has always loved libraries, books and writing. As a teenager, she worked with her father, a dealer of rare and used books, and volunteered for her hometown library in Pittsboro, and as an undergraduate at UNC-Chapel Hill, she worked in Wilson Rare Books Library. After graduating with a BA in English and honors in creative writing, Shannon turned to writing full-time, publishing 18 nonfiction books on subjects as diverse as Internet technologies and voodoo. Her career then took a turn, and Shannon worked for IntraHealth International, a global health nonprofit in Chapel Hill, as a software development project manager. Shannon now applies her experience with technology and nonprofits as a freelance copyeditor and technical writer for nonprofit and academic clients. She has served on the FOCPL Board of Directors for many years.
Jen Tolliver moved to Hillsborough in 2018. She’s been in the Triangle region since 2009 after graduating from University of California Law, San Francisco (formerly UC Hastings.) With their three children grown, Jen decided to quit law and start a family farm with her husband Rob. She is an avid reader, gardener, knitter, and a newbie triathlete. In addition to farm work, she enjoys her job as an assistant baker at Sour Bakery in Graham, and is a recent grad of the Ballymaloe Cookery School in County Cork, Ireland.
The library was a sanctuary for her as a child and a critical resource when she was a single parent, which led her to the Friends. Jen is very excited to be a new member of the board!
Grace Johnston has lived in the Triangle since starting school at UNC in 2007. At Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, Grace spent ten years as a member of the fundraising team doing grant writing, data management, communications, and events. After earning her Master of Science in Accountancy, Grace switched roles and is now Vice President of Finance & Administration at Habitat. Grace lives in Hillsborough with her husband and their two sons, Calvin (five years) and Max (five months). In their free time, the family loves reading and taking walks around town, where they often end up at the library.
Mark Alexander and his wife retired in Hillsborough six years ago. Prior to that they lived in Vermont, California, and Massachusetts. After graduate school he worked in a bookstore, and has never left the book business. Most of his career was spent as a Sales Director for Random House (now a much larger behemoth, but then the largest trade publisher); since 2004, he has been the sole proprietor of Alexander Rare Books, specializing in modern first editions, mostly poetry. He has served on several boards including for more than a decade the Aldrich Library in Barre, Vermont.
Diane Decker still remembers a special story, fifty years or so later. Her second-grade teacher was young, beautiful, stylish, and very enthusiastic about reading. Diane’s mom decided it was time to start taking her children to the library. Diane found it magical, all those books and twin spiral staircases to the balcony. She’s never forgotten that library, and the magic. She chose Hillsborough as her retirement home three years ago, after spending her last sixteen years of employment at Duke Divinity School. She built a house here, and a real selling point of that empty lot was that it was only six blocks to Orange County Public Library. To Diane, it is a privilege and a pleasure to give back to the community in several ways, including serving on the board of the Friends of the Orange County Public Library.
Marc S. Miller has background is in words, having received a BS from MIT in history and literature and a PhD from Boston University in American history, minoring in historiography and African-American theatre. Marc has taught history but more often worked as a journalist and editor. Maintaining a side devotion to theatre over five decades, in 2007 Marc cofounded and was the longtime producer for Fort Point Theatre Channel, an arts collective centered on performance. He has written or been project director for about a dozen books (several won major awards) on theatre, history, health care, human rights, and technology policy.
Wendy Scott moved to Hillsborough from Chapel Hill in 2017. She joined the Friends of the Library Board in 2019, shortly before her retirement from the North Carolina State University Libraries where she served as one of the Libraries’ Associate Directors. She earned the Master of Library and Information Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before joining NC State, she served as a librarian and library administrator at the University of Florida.
Meg Stouffer started working at her local public library on her 15th birthday, and received her MA in Library & Information Science ten years later. She enjoyed her work as a University Health Sciences librarian in Maryland and later as a high school librarian in Virginia. Meg has served on various task forces, boards of non-profits and spent a fair amount of time volunteering in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Schools. Her four children recall that Meg’s first and second grade classroom story times always began with a demonstration of where to find the copyright date of the book. More recently, Meg has been teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages with CWS in Durham.
Linda “Tess” Tessier is a retired Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies from Youngstown State University who moved to Hillsborough with her wife, Tara, in 2016. She recalls a comment on her first-grade report card that read, “Linda is fairly well-adjusted in spite of her advanced reading level.” Having experienced first-hand how it feels to have books taken away, she is a passionate advocate for libraries and for kids’ right to read whatever inspires them. “Tess” is also a published writer, poet and animal lover (especially dogs and horses). She also serves on the Board of The Bummer Fund, an organization in Ohio that provides funds for emergency veterinary needs.