It’s not easy to keep up with Tony Iovino. Depending on the day, you can find him trimming a bonsai tree, surfcasting on the beach, running a marathon, performing stand-up comedy, writing a novel, painting a picture, or practicing Buddhism. He also works full time as Assistant Director of Oceanside Library on Long Island. It’s a busy life, and Iovino loves it.
“I decided to become a lawyer after reading about Abraham Lincoln in second grade, but I always had a lot of other interests, too” he says. As the first person in his family to earn a college degree, Iovino pursued his dream and enrolled at St. John’s Law. “My best friend in law school, Erica Fine ‘82, kept my class close,” he recalls. “My relationships with my classmates impacted my life. We went through an iron forge together. When I graduated, I was as well—if not better—prepared than my peers, thanks to the Evidence and New York Practice courses that set St. John's Law apart.”
Iovino launched his own firm early in his legal career. While he found success and fulfillment as a trial attorney and partner at Bondi Iovino & Fusco, after 30 years in practice, he was ready for a change. “My wife was on the Board at Oceanside Library,” he explains. “I got to know the library as a community resource and saw its untapped potential. So, I sat down and wrote an eight-page paper on what a library should be.”
That initiative opened the door to Iovino’s new career as a library administrator. In that role, he has created programming and re-envisioned the library’s physical space. “We’ll have a 165-seat theater, a teaching kitchen, a STEM room, a podcast room, Zoom cubicles, a teen center, and a café,” says Iovino, adding, “I want to create a safe space for others. Much of our programming is within social contexts. We use social groups to develop small communities and start conversations.”
Iovino’s innovative library work taps his legal skillset. “As a lawyer, you’re playing chess, looking three moves ahead,” he shares. “That’s not often done in the library world. My background in the law helps to make things more efficient as we grow the library.” While he builds his second career, Iovino continues to pursue passions outside of work. “The key is to do things you find interesting. Whether you’re good at it or bad at it, you’ll be fulfilled.”