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Shelter Island Reporter obituary: Jocelyn Ozolins

Jocelyn Ozolins, of Orient, N.Y., formerly of New York City, died in February 2024 from complications of breast cancer. She was 65 years old.

Jocelyn was a beloved librarian at the Shelter Island Library at the time of her death.

Born in 1958 in Newark, N.J. to Neale Wilke Clapp and Sandra Clapp (née Nachowitz),  Jocelyn was raised in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands and Chatham, N.J. with her sister Robin, and her half-sister Liz.

She moved to Michigan to attend the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she earned a B.A. in English and Art History, and then to New York City, where she lived until moving to Orient in 2001.

Later in her career, she attended Syracuse University, where she earned a Masters in Library and Information Science in 2014. Pursuing a mid-career change while managing her family and professional commitments was challenging, and Jocelyn became a valued mentor and model for others in the class navigating their own complex paths.

She loved living in New York, where she worked as a picture researcher and senior account executive for The Bettman Archive, later Corbis/Bettman. She was perfect for the job — not only because of her impressive and sometimes absurdly detailed command of the faces, names, and stories behind so many historical images, but also because of her legendary and ceaseless curiosity about any idea or event that stirred her imagination.

Jocelyn’s friends and relatives knew that even the most casual reference to a book, song or oddball historical figure that she found interesting was likely to elicit either a little-known fact that would expand your knowledge of the subject, or a thought-provoking question that would test it in the most good-natured way.

When she moved to Long Island, she became a librarian, first at Floyd Memorial (2005-14) and then, after earning her Masters, at Shelter Island Public Library where she was Head of Reference until her death. She also managed the Shelter Island Library’s Readers Advisory, Collection Development, Adult Programming and the Mystery Book Club. 

She loved these roles, in part because she loved books but also because she loved the patrons. She enjoyed matching people to the resources to satisfy their own curiosities, and she loved the stories, questions, and ideas they brought. She treated the library and its patrons as a learning community, and never stopped envisioning better ways to serve that community through her work.

Jocelyn married Helmars (Mari) Ozolins, in 1997, and they raised two sons: Evan (25) and Alex (22). She was a warm and loving mother who gave her sons her excellent sense of humor and appreciation for music and art. She appreciated their individuality and loved to tell  stories of their adventures in college, at work, or in navigating young adulthood. She was immensely proud of both of them.

Jocelyn loved gardening, and was an avid collector of gardening books. She volunteered a significant amount of time at her sons’ elementary school, where she successfully applied for grant funding to support her project — developing a butterfly garden which still blooms today at Oysterponds Elementary School.

One of Jocelyn’s favorite parts of living in Orient was the community of year-round residents and friends she found there. She especially loved the Country Store, and would make a point to bring out-of-towners in for their excellent baked goods and coffee, and of course, the Orient vibe. 

Jocelyn is survived by her two sons and her husband, as well as her sister Robin, her half-sister Liz and their children, Liam, Nora, and Peter. She is also survived by her uncle and aunt, Bill and Joanne Clapp, and many cousins on both sides of her family — all of whom miss her dearly.

A small family memorial gathering is planned for spring. Donations in memory of Jocelyn can be made to the 21st Century Fund of the American Library Association, ec.ala.org/content/21st-century-fund.