Farewell to Beth Helstien

Submitted by The San Juan Island Library.

The San Juan Island Library is grateful to celebrate Beth Helstien’s 20 years of dedicated, innovative, and community-enriching service. Beth began at the San Juan Island Library back in 2001 and has held a range of positions over the years, from Bookkeeper to Outreach and Volunteer Coordinator. A true bedrock of our community, Beth has provided a vast array of services that have made our Library and community stronger. Beth is currently our longest standing library employee! Some of the highlights of Beth’s career include providing regular visits to the Life Care Center, Mullis Senior Community Center, and the Village at the Harbor, and initiating the Tech Tuesday, Aging Mastery, and Memory Café programs among many others.

Beth recounts that her work of bringing English Language Learning to the Library and working with ELL students and other volunteers has been the honor of her lifetime. She brought new life to our collections with the Aids for Better Living collection and our Event Equipment collection, and was always an advocate for adopting and sharing new technologies. Her enthusiasm and liveliness at the library County Fair booth with book crafts and extra pizazz with our entries in the annual 4th of July Parade was unmatched.

Beth’s care and love for islanders have shone through every day. She took complex technology quandaries and reference questions in stride and stuck with them until answers and solutions were found. She went above and beyond to meet the needs of patrons exactly where they were with creative resources, ideas, and support. Her presence and support of our aging populations on island were unrivaled, and she was a tireless and enthusiastic advocate for underserved populations.

“Beth has always developed close relationships with the patrons she served,” says Director, Laurie Orton. “She has been well-loved by many to whom she read aloud, found the perfect books for, and found new ways to bring reading into lives that were affected by injury or age. For many, she had been a lifeline. She will be tremendously missed.” Though we barely know how to wish Beth farewell, we are tremendously grateful for all that she has given to the Library and our patrons and wish her all happiness moving on to her future, retirement adventures!

As we wish a fond farewell to Beth, we are excited to announce the welcome of Wendy Waxman Kern as our new Outreach and Technology Coordinator. Wendy comes to the Library with a wealth of community and professional experience; she has served as the San Juan County 4-H Program Coordinator since 2017. Wendy has a robust history working with organizations, volunteers, and individuals, and is passionate about educational opportunities for all ages. She has a deep love of books and language and formerly lived in Germany for 13 years. She is excited to bring her love of outreach, literacy, programming, community connection, and more to the San Juan Island Library!

For more information, you can reach Rowan at rbuckton@sjlib.org or visit www.sjlib.org.