35 Years of Service: Cynthia Helms
Head of Information Services, Associate Professor of Library Science, James White Library
Cynthia Helms has served the Seventh-day Adventist Church for 50 years on three continents—Asia, Africa and North America. The last 35 years were spent as a reference librarian at Andrews University in progressively demanding positions. She retired as associate professor of library science and head of Information Services at the James White Library on Aug. 1, 2020.
Her exceptional leadership of Information Services will long be remembered for its effectiveness and efficiency. She supervised up to three faculty, two full-time staff, and a cadre of multinational student employees. With her team, she headed the automation and transformation from print-based to electronic reference services. Another important contribution was providing relevant professional development for staff, authoring the Student Employee Handbookand implementing a robust training program for student employees. As a result, employees interacted confidently with library patrons as they assisted in meeting information needs of every kind. She also served as the library’s assessment coordinator and copyright librarian.
Service to the University is a hallmark of her tenure. She served long-term on numerous campus committees including the Institutional Review Board, Institutional Assessment, General Education, Undergraduate Council, North Central Association of Colleges and Schools Self-Study, Adventist Accrediting Association Self-Study, Copyright, Faculty Policy Development Council, and in faculty leadership of Phi Kappa Phi.
Her services extended outside the University to include the Berrien Library Consortium, where she served as treasurer for nine years; and ASDAL, where she held the positions of president, secretary, editor, overseas libraries coordinator, chair/member of various committees and conference planner.
Cynthia has made scores of presentations at conferences hosted by ASDAL and the Michigan Library Association. She published in peer-reviewed publications, trade journals and books. Her scholarly publications and presentations were on topics such as assessment, reference and instruction, library transformation, resource sharing, user behavior, library services in the electronic age and the digital divide. Additionally, she contributed as librarian consultant to international libraries.
A role model of Adventist librarianship, Cynthia was admired for her competence as librarian, officer and committee member. She was recognized as Alumna of the Year by the Adventist University of the Philippines Alumni Association-Eastern North America Chapter. One of her joys is knowing that she gave her best in assisting students and colleagues to achieve success in life, attested to by hundreds of thank you notes/letters/cards she has collected throughout the years.
Thank you, Cynthia, for 35 years of devoted service at Andrews University!