Karen Helmle – Page Supervisor and Public Service Associate

I have been working at the Boone County Public Library for almost 20 years. I am excited to celebrate my 20th Anniversary on February 2, 2019. I was recently promoted to Page Supervisor, but I also work as a Public Service Associate at the Main Library.
My first position at the library was as a Circulation Assistant at the Lents Branch. I visited the Lents Branch weekly with my kids. We became regulars, and the next thing I knew we had relationships with all the employees! They knew my kids names; I knew the employees names and what they liked to read. The manager at Lents soon learned that I was quite the fan of fiction and knew all the popular authors and what they wrote. The manager always told me that she would love for me to work there. Once or twice she suggested that I start with just a few hours, but I felt my kids were still too young for me to work. Finally when my youngest went off to kindergarten, I was offered 12 hours a week, and I started my journey at BCPL. I worked at Lents for 10 years before making the transition to the newly opened Main Library because I was ready for a different challenge.
My favorite thing about BCPL is the employees. Everyone is kind and helpful. If I ask someone for help, they go beyond the call of duty to help in whatever way they can. Recently I had a patron ask a reference question about a scientist. I can’t remember the exact name, but I looked through the resources at the Main Library to no avail. I called the Scheben and Florence Branches and they jumped on it scanning and emailing several items from the reference collection in their branch. That saved the patron from driving all over Boone County to the different branches to find what they needed. My 2nd favorite thing about BCPL is working the front desk and helping our patrons. Yesterday I had a patron tell me how much she appreciated my help at the library. She went on to tell me that sometimes, as an elderly person, that I might be the only person she talks to that week. I also feel immense satisfaction when I help someone truly in need. I once helped migrant farmers that didn’t speak English find their tax returns from a farm in North Carolina. They were so grateful because the language barrier was holding them back!
I have been married for 34 years. I met my husband, Mike, years ago when he noticed me at the movie theater in Florence. He was with friends and decided he must talk to me so they followed us home. We ended up hanging out every weekend with them and eventually he asked me on a date. The rest is history! If I had to give advice on a successful marriage it would be to never stop being nice to each other, even if you aren’t feeling so nice. We all are nice to our friends, but it’s so easy to speak in a sharp tone to the ones we love the most. Effort is important. Make it a point to spend time
together and know what is going on with each other.
I am the mother of 5 children and the grandmother to 4. My oldest daughter lives in Monterey, California with her husband. The rest live in Boone County which makes for a
rich family life. I am very family oriented and my family is my everything. One thing I think is important in a family is to spend time together with no phones! During the
winter we have a game night once a week where we like to play board games. This summer we’ve been playing badminton. When we first started badminton, I told my
granddaughter that it was time to make family memories which meant no phone time. She groaned but the next week, she was at the kitchen counter bugging me to hurry
up and get outside to play!
I grew up across the river in Aurora, Indiana and was within walking distance of the Ohio River. My friends and I would wade in the water and pretend the waves made by
barges were ocean waves. I now live in Petersburg, Kentucky, across the river from where I grew up! I must be drawn to water. We have 28 acres and have 6 cows. Right
now we are bottle feeding one because the mother isn’t doing well at nursing.

Karen with her husband Mike on a recent trip to Venice

I love to travel with my husband. I have been lucky to travel to Europe 3 times and we have taken 2 driving tours out west and one to the North East to name a few. My next goal is to hit the Pacific Northwest! Can’t wait! My favorite trip was Paris. I was completely blown away by the atmosphere. I was also fascinated by how all the people seemed to gather together at parks, on the river, walkways, etc. They would throw down a picnic blanket and have wine and cheese. The people would yell for others to come and join them.
I also am a big fan of reading. Since I learned to read there has never been a time that I haven’t had a book going. I love to read Urban Fantasy. The more supernatural the better. My favorite stories have a strong female character that deals with ghosts, vampires, and shapeshifters. I also enjoy books that center around folklore. I love crafting, cooking and outdoors. I enjoy kayaking in the summer. And last but certainly not least, I love chocolate!