Board of directors

The library district is governed by an all-volunteer board of directors who are elected by voters in the district.

The elected library district board governs all aspects of the library district, overseeing all library operations and finances. Board members follow public meeting law and meet regularly to conduct library business. Board members are volunteers who do not receive a salary or other payment for board services. They also may not have a financial interest in any library district contract. Board members live within the library district boundaries and serve four-year terms.

Beecher Ellison

Beecher Ellison, JD

Beecher Ellison was born in Texas but managed to escape when he was 17.  After a tour in the U.S. Navy, he attended classes at community colleges in San Diego, eventually graduating with a degree in history from the University of California at San Diego. He earned another history degree from the University of Texas at Austin. After a short career as a Coos County (Oregon) deputy sheriff, he graduated from Willamette University Law School. He has worked as a deputy district attorney, defense attorney, teacher, and truck driver. He is currently employed as the Josephine County law librarian, and does research and writing for Josephine County Legal Counsel. He promises that he will soon figure out what he wants to do when (if) he grows up.

Position
1
Term
July 2017 to June 2021
Current Affiliation
Paralegal, Josephine County Legal Counsel
Former Affiliation
Chief deputy clerk,
Josephine County Clerk’s Office
Laurel Samson

Laurel Samson, MBA, Vice President

Laurel Samson was born and grew up in northern California with two brothers and a sister. She graduated from Sonoma State College (as it was known in 1972) with a bachelor’s degree in biology. She married her husband, Scott, in 1979. Laurel and Scott spent five months traveling from Luxembourg to India to Tanzania to home before beginning an MBA program at Northeastern University.

 

After graduating, Laurel and Scott moved to Grants Pass. She worked as the interim finance director for Rogue Community College and then for the City of Grants Pass, where she remained for 28 years, retiring in 2012. She served in several positions including community development director, assistant city manager, and finally, city manager.

 

Laurel has participated with a number of nonprofit or civic organizations. She served on the board of directors with Siskiyou Project, KS Wild, Rogue Gateway Rotary Club, and Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. She worked on projects with the Frog O’Fare (tie dye booth), ASPIRE (for high school students), and spent 23 years as a Sunday school teacher. She has three children and one granddaughter. She enjoys hiking, sewing, spending time with their children, and traveling. Laurel was elected to the Josephine Community Library District in 2017 and has served two terms as president and one as vice president. She is very honored to serve the community and gives her heart to this library.

Position
2
Term
July 2017 to June 2021
Current Affiliation
City government consultant
Former Affiliation
City manager, retired, City of Grants Pass
Pat Fahey

Pat Fahey, President

Pat Fahey is a Grants Pass native and graduate of Grants Pass High School. Although he earned an accounting degree from Southern Oregon University, Pat refers to himself as a “garbage man by birth and by choice.” He’s the second generation in his family business, Southern Oregon Sanitation, a garbage company founded in 1948 and now serving more than 25,000 customers in Josephine, Jackson, and Douglas Counties. He retired in 2016, but retirement didn’t “take” for him, so later that year he purchased Sutherlin Sanitary Service, where he now works as general manager.

 

Pat has worked on behalf of his community for decades. He’s been a member of Grants Pass Rotary since 1987. He has served on the Grants Pass School Board finance committee, Three Rivers Community Hospital Foundation board, Josephine Community Libraries, Inc. board, and Josephine County budget committee. In nearly all of these, he has served in leadership positions. He currently sits on the boards of Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development, Inc. and Rogue Community College.

Position
3
Term
July 2019 to June 2023
Current Affiliation
General manager,
Sutherlin Sanitary Service
Former Affiliation
General manager,
Southern Oregon Sanitation
Gina Marie Agosta

Gina Marie Agosta

Gina Marie Agosta was born and raised in Grants Pass. She graduated from the University of Portland with bachelor’s degrees in English and Organizational Communication. After graduating, Gina Marie returned home and began her career in the nonprofit field, serving as the executive director of Coalition for Kids for 10 years. Since 2017, she has worked at Asante Three Rivers Medical Center as a patient experience coordinator.

 

Gina Marie has been a member of the Rogue Gateway Rotary Club since 2009 and has served as club president and assistant governor for the four Rotary clubs of Josephine County. Gina Marie grew up practically living at the Grants Pass branch of the library and is proud to serve on the library district board.

Position
4
Term
July 2019 to June 2023
Current Affiliation
Patient experience coordinator,
Asante
Former Affiliation
Executive director,
Coalition for Kids
John Harelson

John Harelson, CPA

John describes himself as a boy from Wonder. He attended grade school at Jerome Prairie Elementary School and graduated from Grants Pass High School with the class of 1961. Though not an Oregon native, he arrived in Oregon in the summer of 1944 along with seven brothers and sisters, moving onto a logged-over, 125-acre parcel on Highway 199 at Newt Gulch Road. His father’s Oregon dream house, which did not have indoor plumbing or a working water system, was not his mother’s dream come true. John’s mother struggled to feed, clothe, and keep her children safe, and she mostly succeeded.

 

Sometime around 1950, John learned to read and was good at it. Reading saved his life, giving him a view of the world beyond what was in front of his eyes. After high school, he attended Lewis and Clark College, married, and graduated from Southern Oregon University in 1968 with a degree in business. After achieving his certification as a CPA in Alaska, he returned to Josephine County in 1975, where he has been a banker, accountant, and community volunteer. He retired in 2013 after 16 years of service as Josephine County treasurer.

 

John is proud to be an inaugural board member of the finest small government in southern Oregon and proud to be associated with the best possible library serving all the citizens of Josephine County.

Position
5
Term
July 2019 to June 2023
Current Affiliation
Certified public accountant,

Cynthia Harelson, CPA

Former Affiliation
Josephine County treasurer

Contact information

To contact the board, email board@josephinelibrary.org. You can also mail a letter to the board at Josephine Community Library District, 200 NW C Street, Grants Pass, OR  97526, or call the library at 541-476-0571 to have your message relayed to the board.

Board meetings

See information about upcoming library district board meetings. Review past meeting notices, agendas, and minutes.