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Library Mourns Assistant’s Death: By SUSAN PARKER

Special to the Planet
Tuesday September 07, 2004

Staff members and patrons of the North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library have been devastated by the loss of Library Assistant Charlene Rochelle Agos, who was killed in a traffic accident in Oakland the night of Aug. 15. 

Her car was broadsided by an sports utility vehicle that ran a red light at the intersections of Foothill and Havenscourt boulevards. The occupants of the SUV reportedly continued driving for several blocks, then abandoned the car and ran. 

The four men had been drinking at a nearby bar where they had participated in a fight that resulted in a patron being badly beaten and hospitalized. Oakland police are still looking for the perpetrators of this crime.  

Charlene, born in Oakland in 1966, attended St. Benedict’s Elementary School and graduated from St. Elizabeth High School in 1984. A memorial service was held for her at St. Benedict’s Catholic Church on Aug. 23. She leaves behind Hoche Agos, her husband of 13 years, twin 3-year-old daughters, Kyelle and Arden, her parents, in-laws and a large, extended family. 

“It’s no surprise that the North Branch’s staff is reeling with shock, sorrow and anger over the unnecessary loss of our co-worker,” said Teen/Reference Librarian Debbie Carton. “We are a lively, active group and Charlene’s calm, easy, helpful, and serene presence was needed to pitch in at just the right moment to ease traffic at the circulation desk or solve a problem.” 

Vivian Vigil, Charlene’s immediate supervisor, said, “Charlene worked here for 10 years and was dedicated to her job and her family. Her girls would visit the library and use the computers like they were 7-years-old, not 3. They are very bright, curious, outgoing kids.”  

The North Berkeley Library staff is taking up a collection on behalf of Charlene’s daughters. Photographs of Charlene, her husband and children are displayed at the Information Desk, along with candles and flowers. 

A small book is available for patrons to write their thoughts and wishes for Charlene and her family. The donation box has collected over $2,000.  

“Patrons see the sign,” said Debbie Carlton. “Their faces lock and freeze as they read the news. They reach into their wallets and pull out bills, coins, and checks. They reach into their hearts and write the most wonderful things in the book for her family.” 

Indeed, many moving tributes to Charlene can be found in the journal. 

“I was always touched by her kindness and quiet containment,” writes one library patron. Another adds, “What is worse than staying behind? Watching a figure recede. Saying good-bye, remembering…” 

To make a contribution in Kyelle and Arden’s behalf, stop by the North Branch of the Berkeley Library during operation hours, (Monday, Tuesday, Friday, Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., Wednesday and Thursday, 12 p.m. – 8 p.m.), or send a check made out to Kyelle and Arden Agos, North Branch, Berkeley Public Library, 1170 The Alameda, Berkeley, 94707. For more information call 981-6250.›