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Knievel, Helen A.



  • Existence: 1923-


Rural Iowa librarian and author Helen Jean Anderson was born in Cherokee, Iowa, on November 28, 1923 to Adam William Anderson and Lillie Constance Tollefson Anderson. The Anderson family lived on a farm in Cherokee county, Iowa. Helen Anderson attended one-room country schools in Cherokee and O'Brien counties in Iowa through eighth grade, and completed high school in Paullina, Iowa. In 1941, she attended Northwestern Junior College in Orange City, Iowa, where she majored in library science and worked part time in the school's library. In 1942, she moved to Wichita, Kansas and then to Kansas City, Missouri, working on the electrical wiring for B-52 bombers at North American Aviation. In 1944, Helen Anderson moved to Minneapolis and enrolled in the library science program at the University of Minnesota, while also working in the chemistry library. In March 1946, Helen Anderson married William R. Knievel, who was majoring in psychology at the University of Minnesota. After her marriage, Helen Knievel left school to work at the State Law Library in St. Paul until 1949.

Helen Knievel returned to school at the University of Northern Iowa and earned her BA in school librarianship in 1969. Upon her graduation, she began working full time at the Cedar Falls Public Library in Cedar Falls, Iowa. She also earned her master's degree from the University of Missouri in 1973. In 1974, her husband Bill Knievel died due to complications following heart surgery. Helen Knievel then accepted a position as traveling librarian for the Northeastern Iowa Regional Library System, serving seventy-eight libraries. She held this position for six years.

Through her life, Helen Knievel worked at libraries in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota, Oregon, and California holding a variety of positions: clerk, reference librarian, interlibrary loan librarian, traveling librarian, director of libraries, library board member, and volunteer. She was also active in the American Library Association, presented papers at several conferences, and helped to organize networks for librarians in small communities.

Although she officially retired in 1984, Helen Knievel remained active in library service, volunteering at libraries in South Dakota, Oregon, and Iowa. Beginning in 1995, she served on the board of the Northwestern Regional Library in Sioux City, Iowa and continued to write editorials and articles about library work.

Found in 1 Collection or Record:

Helen Knievel papers

Identifier: IWA0718

Librarian from rural Iowa.

Dates: 1973-2000