2 locals chosen to serve on Palin Advisory Council

Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Governor Sarah Palin announced her appointments to the Advisory Council on Libraries on Friday, and two among them are local women.

Palin appointed Donna P. Huguelet of Kenai, and reappointed Jane E. Fuerstenau of Soldotna, as well as Cathy Boutin of Juneau, Patricia K. Kilmain of Palmer and Elizabeth R. Odsen of Anchorage to the council.

The 12-member council advises the Alaska State Library Administration on the federal Library Services and Technology Act plan for the state, and on the development and evaluation of library services throughout Alaska.

"I'm excited about it. I really am. If I wasn't a special education teacher, I would have been a librarian," Huguelet said.

Huguelet was appointed to a seat representing library users, and since she has been a special education teacher at Soldotna Middle School since 2004, she is hoping to use her experience in her knew position.

"This will be a good opportunity to discuss ways to encourage different people to use libraries, and things that can be done to make libraries more accessible to different people, such as those with disabilities," she said.

Prior to working for the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District, Huguelet worked as a tutor and coordinator in the Anchorage School District's migrant education program from 1997-2003. She has also worked as a regular education tutor and teacher's aide.

Before entering the workforce, she earned a bachelor's degree in history from the University of Alaska Anchorage, and a master's degree in special education from the College of William & Mary in Virginia.

Fuerstenau has served on the council since 2008, and was again selected by the Alaska Library Association for a seat reserved for the organization's immediate past president.

She has been a librarian and assistant professor of library science at the Kenai Peninsula College, a campus of the University of Alaska Anchorage since 2001, and she hopes to bring the perspective of an academic librarian to the council.

"I come from a university and college perspective of what's important, but also being from KPC -- which has a strong mission of educating non-traditional students who will go on to work in Alaska -- my focus is not just on providing library services for the public, but providing information to meet our workforce needs so that people can get training, certificates and diplomas to find work," she said.

Fuerstenau previously worked as an assistant at the Kenai Community Library, and as circulation director and learning resources aide at the University of Maine at Augusta. She earned a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Maine at Fort Kent, and a master's degree in library and information science from the University of South Carolina at Columbia.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at joseph.robertia@peninsulaclarion.com.

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