Audrey Jane Wolfinger knew early on that she wanted to pursue studies in either music or library science. Her brother, a science teacher, helped her settle on library science and recommended the library school at the Kutztown State Teachers College, now Kutztown University. Graduating with a Bachelor of Science in education, library science and English in 1955, Ms. Wolfinger embarked on her career that same year with the Neshaminy School District in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. Ms. Wolfinger’s first role was as a librarian and audiovisual coordinator for Neshaminy Junior High, where she remained until 1976.
During this time, Ms. Wolfinger furthered her studies, earning a teacher’s license from Temple University in 1957 and a Master of Science in library science from Florida State University in 1970, and she remains affiliated with the Kutztown University Alumni Association and the Florida State University Alumni Association. Furthermore, she was among the first teachers to go on strike in the early ‘60s. The strike she was involved in lasted for three weeks as they fought for written contracts and the ability to elect a teacher representative to the school board in order to have a voice to discuss the problems they were facing in the school, such as unmanageably large class sizes. In 1976, Ms. Wolfinger joined Neshaminy High School, where she served as a librarian until her retirement in 1984 after more than three decades in the field.
When she first joined the Neshaminy School District, the district was in the process of consolidating several smaller school districts into one larger district. Leveraging her expertise in library structure and organization, Ms. Wolfinger was instrumental in the establishment of four school libraries throughout the newly expanded district. Early in her career, she also put considerable focus on teaching students how to use libraries and access library resources for research and continued to help students develop research and information science skills through her years as a librarian. She considers seeing children’s eyes light up with understanding as they learn to be among the most gratifying aspects of her career.
Attributing much of her success to her ability to create organization out of chaos, Ms. Wolfinger notes that she has been continually motivated both by the children she has taught and by her own innate curiosity. She credits her father, who was an avid reader, with encouraging and instilling in her a love of knowledge and continued learning. To that end, Ms. Wolfinger completed additional graduate coursework throughout her career at a local university, taking courses in a variety of different areas, including music and fine arts. She would advise young and aspiring professionals to find what they love to do and stick with it, keep learning, and maintain their curiosity.
Alongside her primary responsibilities, Ms. Wolfinger continued cultivating her love of music and the arts. She performed as a piano soloist while studying at Kutztown University and served on the board of directors of the Neshaminy Valley Music Theatre from 1964 to 1965. In addition, she has long been active in the study of genealogy and previously held membership with the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution, the National Society Daughters of the American Colonists, the National Genealogical Society and the Genealogical Society of Pennsylvania. A former member of the Bucks County Genealogical Society as well, Ms. Wolfinger contributed to the group in numerous roles, including vice president from 1990 to 1994, president from 1994 to 1998, resource center director in 1998 and president protem in 2001.
Ms. Wolfinger’s current genealogical work is regarding her family’s immigrant ancestors from Germany and the Netherlands who came to the United States on a British ship in the 1700s. Her hope is to investigate their travels as they made their way from their countries of origin to the United States. Previously, she parlayed similar information via the Wolfinger Family Newsletter, which she was the editor of from 1988 to 2004. In her retirement, she has also had time to cultivate her love of literature, particularly British mysteries. For her excellence, Ms. Wolfinger has been presented with the Albert Nelson Marquis Lifetime Achievement Award and named a Marquis Who’s Who Top Professional.