People who knew Beverley Ann Howard still talk about her curiosity, her love of reading to children, her ability to turn children into readers, her sense of humor, her knowledge of children’s literature and her helpfulness.
Howard’s friends and family recently came together at Potomac Community Library to dedicate a patio bench and a piece of stained glass art in her memory. She worked at the library from the time it opened until her death, due to a sudden illness, in 2011.
Christine Cummings first met Howard when Howard started working for the library system in 1969 at the Leesylvania Branch Library, which was on U.S. 1 where the Garfield Police station now stands. The two later went to Potomac Library when it opened in 1974.
Howard and Cummings remained friends throughout Howard’s life, Cummings said. “She was a dear friend. She had a great sense of humor. We just had a lot of good times together inside the library and out. I miss her very much.”
Howard’s daughter, Amy Wilczynski, said her mother, a Children’s Librarian, loved working at the library where she read to children using props, voices and costumes.
“I think it gave her a sense of purpose. Mom loved to learn,” Wilczynski said. “She was very curious. I think coming to a place like this every single day just allowed here to live her experiences through helping others. It was like a dream job for her.”
Andrew Howard, Beverley Howard’s son, spoke of a mother who kept her own children interested in reading and of a woman who thrived on research before the age of the Internet. Back in those days — before online searches were possible — people called the library with questions, which Andrew Howard said his mother loved to chase down and answer. “It made mom the meanest Trivial Pursuit player you can ever imagine.”
The stained glass work, by stained-glass artist Jeanie Dunivan, hangs in a front window at the library’s front window and features an open book sitting on a bench in a park-like setting with trees, birds, butterflies and a frog. “It just depicts her life. There are some hidden messages in there. It just kind of marks that a reader is gone,” Wilczynski said.
The bench sits on the new patio at the library.
Potomac Community Library is located at 2201 Opitz Boulevard in Woodbridge. You can find out more about the library by visiting the website.