The West End Civic Association (WECA) added sparkle to their holiday party by electing Helen Bender, Librarian, West End Branch of the Boston Public Library, to life-time membership in WECA, “without any obligation to pay dues – or attend meetings!” In receiving WECA’S Annual Award, she was presented an elegant – and elegantly worded – citation.
Helen’s contributions to the West End are extraordinary. Since 2009, she has offered space at her library for the West End Food Pantry, which each month feeds over 100 persons in need. She offers use of the library for workshops, provides computer instruction, resume training for new citizens, public lectures on thought-provoking topics, and free screening of cinematic treasures. She teaches the joy of reading to preschoolers with twice weekly readings and special child-oriented events.
In past years, she has been commended by Priscilla Foley, director of neighborhood services for the BPL. “The. Boston Public Library is extremely proud of Helen’s work with ABCD and her role as West End Branch Librarian, as she daily connects library patrons and community members with enriching educational services and programs daily.” In 2014, she received the Commonwealth of MA Senate Official Citation, recognizing “her outstanding contributions and service as librarian of the West End Branch of the Boston Public Library.”
Helen prepared for her career as a librarian at Girls Latin School, Salem State College, Simmons College and the University of Massachusetts and has been a professional librarian within the BPL system for thirty-six years. She serves the West End and Beacon Hill neighborhoods, which have the most highly educated residents of any branch, and residents speaking many languages. A lifelong resident of Boston, now residing in Hyde Park, Helen Bender has found a way to merge her career at the BPL with her desire to help serve those in need. Bravo, Helen.