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WCLS’s former Executive Director Joan Airoldi passed away unexpectedly on Saturday, December 3, 2022.
Joan led the county library system from 2002 to 2013. She will be remembered as a Library Champion on a multitude of counts: establishing theWhatcom READSprogram in collaboration with partners at Whatcom Community College, advocating for new libraries in Ferndale, North Fork, South Whatcom, Island and Point Roberts and encouraging all of us to “Be Curious” and to “Listen, Learn & Lead.” Joan’s courage in defending patrons’ rights to privacy earned her a national recognition with aPEN/Newman Award. She generously donated the prize money to start the Whatcom County Library Foundation.
We asked WCLS staff and friends who knew Joan if they wanted to share stories and we offer a sampling of the many stories that were recorded. Heartfelt thanks to the friends and coworkers of Joan who allowed us the privilege of capturing their stories.
All of us at the Whatcom County Library System extend our sympathy to Joan’s family and to everyone who loved and admired her. We miss her deeply and honor her spirit in the work we do on behalf on library patrons.
“I hope that in this year to come, you make mistakes. Because if you are making mistakes, then you are making new things, trying new things, learning, living, pushing yourself, changing yourself, changing your world. You’re doing things you’ve never done before, and more importantly, you’re Doing Something.”