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Community pays tribute to retiring Bellevue Schools librarian
Several hundred people gathered at Cherry Crest Elementary on Wednesday to pay tribute to the 33-year career of retiring Bellevue Schools librarian, Joanne Furgason.
“You’ve set a gold standard for librarian professionalism in every school you’ve served,” said School Board member Paul Mills. “Every child enjoyed a richer elementary school experience because of your unwavering commitment.”
Furgason joined the Bellevue School District in 1974 as a newly minted librarian with a master’s degree from the University of Washington.
“My first job was at Three Points School where Bill Burton was principal,” said Furgason. “In those days we weren’t allowed to wear pants to work.”
In 1975, Furgason joined the staff of Somerset, the biggest and newest elementary school in the District.
“The new Somerset library was so impressive, photos were shared at the UW Library School,” said Furgason. “I was thrilled principal George McDonald took a chance on me to be the librarian.”
Furgason worked 14 years at Somerset, followed by part-time jobs at Phantom Lake and Medina.
For the past 15 years, Furgason has been the librarian at Cherry Crest under principals Greg Schell, Betty Hannaford, Mark Migliore, Marsha Golding and Michelle Carroll.
“It has been such a privilege to be a librarian for the Bellevue Schools,” said Furgason. “I’m a richer, fuller person for having worked in such amazing school communities.”
“Joanne is passionate about connecting individual children with perfectly matched books,” said Cherry Crest principal Carroll. “She’s an incredible librarian and will be hugely missed.”
Furgason has two grown children and lives in Medina with her husband Sam.
Marianne Berg Heywood is a free lance writer living in Bellevue.