After 24½ years (to the day) at the Wyoming State Library, special projects librarian Venice Beske retired on July 15, 2015.
“It’s hard to leave, actually,” Beske said.” Everyone has a little niche, and when I was 35 and started working in libraries, that’s been my niche.”
Beske has worked in libraries for 33 years. In 1982, the day after she moved to Wyoming, she started in outreach with Campbell County Public Library System. She later worked at the Wright Branch, then from 1984 to 1987 as a genealogy librarian for Laramie County Library System in Cheyenne.
She earned her Masters of Library and Information Science in 1990 from the University of Oklahoma, then returned to Wyoming and accepted the federal documents librarian position at WSL in January, 1991. From 1994 to 2008 she was manager of statewide information services. Since 2008, she has been the lead worker on Wyoming Places, one of the Wyoming State Library Digital Collections.
Prior to working in libraries, and after graduating from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, she worked first in early childhood education and then in fish and raptor biology.
Beske said she was fortunate to be in at the beginning of several library digitization projects. In addition to Wyoming Places, she has also worked on the Wyoming Legislation, Wyoming Trademarks and Wyoming Authors Wiki digital resources. “The good thing about the State Library is that it provided the environment so that the projects would be sustained,” Beske said.
“Venice will be definitely be missed,” said Jamie Markus, Interim State Librarian. “Her work and dedication on the digital collections, especially Wyoming Places, have been a great contribution to the state’s history.”
Now that she’s retiring, Beske plans to spend time at her Hawk Springs home enjoying her friends, dogs and family, weaving, doing genealogical research, gardening, “and bringing all the extra zucchini to the state library.” She may even continue contributing to Wyoming Places. “It’s a project that extends beyond library interests.” Plus, “Once a reference librarian, always a reference librarian.”
When Beske worked for WSL, she loved connecting with others across the state. “The joy of working at the state library is you get to work with the people of Wyoming and the libraries of Wyoming. You’re not just focused on your own community; you’re focused on the whole state.” If Wyoming is a small town with long streets, she said, “Our long streets connect to our libraries.”