Friends of the
KenaiCommunity Library
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Meet Our Board Members

Dee Cassel (President)

Dee moved from the south Texas area to the Kenai Peninsula during 2014 and immediately became a strong supporter of the community. Dee in partnership with her husband, Lee, are of owners of The Home Gallery, which sells fine furniture and specializes in one of a kind pieces. Dee is loving and caring while she prides herself on customer service and building relationships with her customers. Dee serves as the Treasurer for and is an active member of the Kenai United Methodist Church. Dee and Lee enjoy travelling and visiting with friends and family. She is truly an asset to the Kenai Community Library and now serves as the President. Dee’s outgoing personality and her ability to help others is continually noticed.

Kathy Heus (Vice President)

Kathy has always thought libraries should be available to all to enjoy. She truly believes we need “free” libraries to enable us to remain a free society. She has been involved with the Kenai Community Library and Friends of the Library as a volunteer since arriving in Kenai in 1968. She has served the Kenai City Advisory Library Commission, American Library Association, Alaska Library Association, Alaska Association of School Libraries, and local chapter of the Alaska Library Association. Kathy was a Physical Education teacher and a school Librarian for a total of 31 years. Because of her devotion to the library most of her volunteer work has been through the auspices of Friends of the Library. She has volunteered numerous hours working on the Annual Friends book sale, records of membership for Friends, editor of Friends Newsletter, 4th of July parade, Industry Appreciation Day, and the Kenai River Festival.

Paul E. Turner, Ph. D. (Secretary)

Paul has been involved with the community of Kenai since he began as Director of the local mental health center in 1978. He has been a member of the Friends of the Kenai Community Library since 1995. He has served on the Kenai Planning and Zoning Commission, Cook Inlet Council on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, and the Kenai Big Brothers and Sisters Program. He has been named Outstanding Young Man of America by the Junior Chamber of Commerce, outstanding Service Provider by the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and has served on the Governor's Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities. He was named the Honoree for the Annual Kenai Peninsula Run for Women, Women's Resource and Crisis Center, and was the Light of Hope Nominee for Services to Children. He has had an active private psychology practice in Kenai since 1984. He has taught at Kenai Peninsula College and the University of Alaska, Anchorage. He has had written many professional papers about psychology relevant to Alaska.

Barbara B. Bogart

Barbara is well versed in many areas of communications including websites, social media, marketing, public relations, branding, promotions, guerilla/grass roots marketing, and event planning. She enjoys creating marketing strategies and the development and execution of integrated marketing communication plans. She is a great resource for researching and sharing many types of information. Barbara is also involved in the Kenai United Methodist Church Food Pantry and the Kenai Potters Guild. Barbara is married and has two children, Andrew and Mandy. Barbara enjoys fishing, pottery and walking on the beach. She is a recent addition to the Friends of Kenai Library Board.

Barbara Christian

Barb and her husband Mike moved to Kenai to teach at Kenai Central High School in 1970. Here they raised a daughter and a son. For 38 years, Barb remained active in local education, teaching at KCHS and SOHI until she joined the faculty at Kenai Peninsula College in 1988. At KPC she rose to the rank of Full Professor of English and became Chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities. For many years, she edited Driftwood, the KPC literature and art magazine. In 2009, the year after she retired, she was awarded the status of Professor Emerita of English by the University of Alaska Anchorage/Kenai Peninsula College.

Barb has authored two books: Creative Escapes, a composition lesson plan book; and Belief in Dialogue, a study of the religious motifs interwoven in literature by U. S. Latina authors. She also has had short stories, poems and articles published in professional journals. She is president of the Performing Arts Society, which brings classical and jazz concerts to the community and its schools, and she has been on the Board of Directors for the Friends of the Kenai Library since 2008. Barb has served two terms as vice president of the Board, has been membership chair since 2008, and has devoted many hours to successful book sales.

Jean Taylor

Jean has been involved in numerous organizations to help the Kasilof and Kenai communities including serving as a member and officer of Fraternal Order of Eagles #4317, member and officer of Pinochle Club, Director of Senior Citizens Bridge Club among others. Jean worked as a hairdresser for 45 years. She enjoys working with people and being a volunteer to see things get accomplished for the good of the community. As a child she was an avid reader and enjoyed her visits to the library. She has helped in the high school library filing and returning books to the shelves. She was Co-Chairman of the successful 2014 Kenai Friends of the Library Book Sale. She has 3 children, 9 grandchildren and 17 great grandchildren.

Marj Wiley

Marj has lived in Alaska since 1976 and was a Special Education teacher for 32 years. She is now retired and enjoys volunteering in her community. She has cooked and served breakfast in the area schools with Love, Inc. She serves as the treasurer of her church. She enjoys quilting and is a member of the Kasilof Quilters Club. And it comes as no surprise that she loves to read. She is originally from Chicago, Illinois. She earned her teaching degree at the University of Alaska in Fairbanks. Marj has been married since 1972 and has two daughters.

Holly Flynn

Holly is a native of Massachusetts and moved to the Kenai Peninsula in 2003. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Biology from Framingham State College (now University) and works in Health and Social Services. She serves on the Worship Team and Finance Committee of her church fellowship, in the Kenai Peninsula Singers community choir, and as a Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) member. She has previously served as the AmeriCorps member for the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, and is an Alaska State Troopers Citizen Academy Alumnus (ASTCAA). 

Her passions include literacy, education, music and the arts, nutrition, languages, and walking out her faith as revealed in the best-selling book collection of all time, the Bible. A life-long learner, she appreciates the value and underscores the importance of free access for all to the endless variety of tools and rich opportunities the library provides.

Paul S. Morin

Born and raised in Kenai, Paul remembers frequenting the Kenai Community Library as a youth.  His parents would take him there for hours on end, and it was there that Paul’s appreciation for the written word was first fostered.  After graduating from Nikiski Jr./Sr. High School, Paul completed his undergraduate and law school studies in Virginia.  He then returned to Kenai for a year and served as a judicial law clerk.  At the conclusion of that year, Paul went on to work for the Alaska Department of Law in Bethel.  Presently, he now serves as an Assistant District Attorney with the Kenai District Attorney’s Office.  Whether for work or pleasure, Paul remains convinced that the written word bears an important ontological connection to the human experience.  Indeed, “a room without books is as a body without a soul.”  Paul is honored to serve as a member of the Board and looks forward to working with the Friends to provide ongoing support to the Kenai Community Library. 

Virginia Walters

Virginia Walters had lived on the Peninsula since 1981, she came here from the northern area of the state to teach at KCHS. She retired from teaching in 1990 and had volunteered at the Kenai Library since then. Originally from Idaho, she and her family moved to Alaska in 1971 to commercial fish in Cook Inlet. They spent their summers at the fish site in North Kenai, then returned to various Interior villages over the years to teach.
She is active in many local organizations, including the Kenai Historical Society and Pioneers of Alaska as well as Alaska Retired Educators. She also facilitates the Central Peninsula Writers group and is a board member of Kenai Totem Tracers Genealogical Society. The latter two organizations are directly affiliated with the Kenai Library. She had always been an avid reader and writer, and currently writes a monthly column for the Peninsula Clarion. In the past she has had articles published in various magazines.
Her family consists of her husband, four children and seven granddaughters. Her three sons and families live in state. Her daughter is in Hawaii. The grand daughters are in Alaska, Washington State, Oregon and Texas.

Jane Fuerstenau

Jane moved to Alaska from Maine with her husband and two small children in 1998. She worked as a volunteer and part-time clerk at the Kenai Community Library for her first two years in Alaska. For the past 15 years she has been the Library Director at Kenai Peninsula College, where she teaches Library Science courses as well as managing the everyday functions of the library. Jane has served as President of the Alaska Library Association, Chair of the City of Soldotna Library Advisory Board, and is a past member of the Governor’s Advisory Council on Libraries. She enjoys a close relationship with public libraries on the Kenai Peninsula, and considers it important that libraries in our community work together to meet the needs of local residents. Jane was elected to the Friends of the Kenai Library Board in fall 2015.

Eileen Bryson

Eileen has always loved books. When she along with her sisters and brother were little, both her mother and father read to them and then helped them use their imagination to extend those stories to their own rendition of Wind in the Willows as they went on a wild ride with Mr Toad (her father at the wheel). Then there were Cinderella and Hansel and Gretel backyard plays with her producer mother. The public library was also an amazing place and just a bike ride away. Books continued to be a part of her education as she chose to graduate from the University of California with a degree in English literature. Her elementary teaching credential and 25 years of teaching provided more opportunities to share her love of books with children. When she first moved to Kenai with her husband Phil and children, she had the great opportunity to be The Kenai Community Library's volunteer "Story Lady" for twelve years. In recent years she has been a part of the Kenai Library Commission and is now a part of the Friends of the Community Library. Never fear. She still has chances to read as she substitutes, reads with her 6 grandchildren, and reads to herself.