How does one recognize, celebrate, pay tribute to and memorialize a person whose life gave so much?
The chapter of the Keystone State Literacy Association, Northeast Pa., had a very active member for years who gave as a teacher, a coach, a professor, a member and a friend. She served as a chapter president and then a Keystone State Literacy Association state president a few years ago but suddenly was no longer with us. Jane Helman died suddenly from a heart attack at age 67 while working with her co-teacher and dearest friend, Hollie D’Agata, on plans for the course they taught at Marywood University in Scranton.
The chapter spent time at several meetings attempting and discussing how the chapter could honor her memory. Prior to her passing, the chapter had already done one Little Free Library and when that came to mind, it was agreed that would be a perfect memorial which would serve the community, a primary goal of Helman’s.
A husband of one of the chapter’s executive board members, Eileen Giovagnoli, donated his time to build the library and the post.
The library pays tribute to Helman who was a Title 1 teacher and coach in the Tunkhannock Area School District. She was loved by her students and after she retired she continued to co-teach with D’Agata in the Reading Education Department at Marywood University for 22 years. She was a faithfully committed member of the Keystone State Literacy Association, Northeast Pa. She also served as the state president of the Keystone State Literacy Association in 2012.
Helman loved lighthouses and visited many throughout the United States. Her cottage at Lake Carey was like a lighthouse gift shop housing every imaginable lighthouse item throughout every room. So when she needed a logo and a theme as state president she chose “Read and Shine” and member Cindy Reynolds designed her lighthouse logo in an original watercolor painting. What better way to decorate the Little Free Library in her name than to have that lighthouse logo featured on three sides of the library? Her picture is on a disc over the door on the front. The association was pleased that Marywood University agreed to have the library installed near the McGowan Education Center on campus where Jane taught for so many years. The location is not only appropriate to Jane’s memory but also is accessible to the community. The undergraduate reading club will maintain the library and keep it filled with books.