April is National Volunteer Month, and the William Jeanes Memorial Library and Nicholas and Athena Karabots Center for Learning is very appreciative of the work of all of our volunteers.
Whatever the capacity in which they volunteer for the library, their work is helpful and allows us to continue to be a library.
Last year, volunteers gave over 2,800 hours in service to the library. That means that almost every hour we were open to the public, a volunteer was here. What were they doing?
• Cleaning books;
• Labeling materials so you (and we) could find them;
• Shelving them in their proper place so we all could find them;
• Organizing the thousands of book donations we receive each year so that the Friends’ book sales are a model of efficiency and presentation;
• Raising money to support most of the 1,000 programs we held last year;
• Sorting, cleaning and labeling jewelry for our first jewelry sale;
• Knocking on community doors to ask for donations for our first wine and cheese fundraiser;
• Decorating the library to make sure it is welcoming to all members of the community every season;
• Running, staffing or supporting programs that are informative, fun and educational;
• And guiding the library through the good and the challenging times.
They sorted, stuffed and stapled. They dusted, drained and de-newed. They cleaned, categorized and cajoled. They guided, gave and greeted. They wove plastic into sleeping mats for the homeless and sorted hundreds of Legos into bins for children. They signed up hundreds of kids for summer reading and sold books by the thousands.
Volunteers make the library run. They are as intrinsic to the library as the books our on shelves (which many of them put there, again and again and again).
There are more volunteers now than ever before, and their work is as important to our services as ever. For the sixth straight year, the William Jeanes Memorial Library welcomed more visitors than ever before, and we couldn’t do that without your help.
The Bureau of Library Development, under the state’s Department of Education, requires libraries to fill out an annual report each year, gathering key data on the size and circulation of our collection, income and expenses and program attendance and variety. They recognize the immense value volunteers provide to public libraries across the state by asking us to supply the number of hours worked and the number of regular volunteers each library has. I was very proud of all of the numbers the William Jeanes Memorial Library sent to the atate this year.
We held a volunteer recognition event on Tuesday, April 16, where our volunteers were invited to a light dinner and entertainment provided courtesy of Sam Sandler, America’s only full-time deaf illusionist. Sam has performed at the library for our children and CEP programs and will be back for them this summer, but he also has a wide range of tricks and jokes for adults, too. Sam had the audience in stitches, when we weren’t open-mouthed with, “How did he do that?!” Sam’s story of overcoming adversity and everything life could throw at him was truly inspirational, and Sam was happy to be part of this event to celebrate the work of the library’s volunteers. (Learn more about Sam at samsandler.com and watch some of his funny routines on YouTube.)
For more information on volunteering at the library, please visit our website at jeaneslibrary.org/about-us/volunteers.
On behalf of the staff and the community of users, I’d like to thank all of the volunteers from the library board of directors, Friends of the William Jeanes Memorial Library, fundraising committee, Connecting Exceptional People, access services, Twining Life Day Program, the Colonial School District, the youth advisory board and the weekly volunteers.
Our library volunteers wear name tags when they are working in the library. The next time you see one, please join us in saying, “Thank you!”