On the Shelves
I had just arrived at Kaltreider-Benfer Library the other evening to browse its collection of books and magazines when I noticed the adorable snowman ornaments on the library tree.
Youth Services Coordinator Gina Meinl briefly introduced me to a teen volunteer who had cut quite a few egg cartons to the precise size needed for kids to craft them into the ornaments I saw on the tree.
I say briefly, as the teen was already off and working on another task for the library as I was still admiring the uniqueness of each snowman. Some had earmuffs, jewelry, and even legs … too cute!
Volunteers play such an important and varied role at our 13 York County libraries. Their selfless dedication is integral in our delivery of library service to the York County community.
In 2011 alone, our teen and adult volunteers collectively donated more than 67,300 hours of their time to help their libraries and fellow community members. That’s a pretty impressive number! And we are so very grateful for their assistance.
You might be surprised to know that volunteering at the library is not just checking books in and out. Yes, that is one of the primary tasks needed, but many people create their own niche. So, in addition to the typical tasks like shelving books or “reading” the shelves to make sure the books are put away at the right location, you will find many folks putting their unique talents to work.
“One of our volunteers designed an Access database to help us keep track of library donors and donations,” said Debbie Van de Castle, branch librarian at the Dover Area Community Library.
Retired from a job with computers, the gentleman also helps the library keep track of volunteers and the hours they contribute through data entry.
In Hellam, Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center Branch Librarian Susan Nenstiel pointed out the volunteer activities at her library: Retired teachers assist the librarians with story time, experienced knitters and crocheters teach others their crafts, volunteer bakers bake up a storm for bake sales and special events, and the library garden is maintained by volunteers who weed, plant, spread mulch and even trim hedges.
“People with special talents can share that talent with others by offering a no-cost or low-cost program,” Nenstiel said. Another significant volunteer opportunity is for community members to become a member of the “Friends” group that plans and implements fundraising efforts in support of the library.
“This year our Friends have held two book sales, a ‘Fancy Nancy Tea Soiree,’ and have conducted a yearly, mail fundraising campaign,” Nenstiel said. “Creative ideas and more helpers are always welcome.”
Gina Mumaw, library director for the Arthur Hufnagel Public Library of Glen Rock said that she has two volunteers who are at the library every Wednesday to tutor those needing help getting their GED. The duo also offers general tutoring in all subject areas.
In addition, an all-volunteer committee orchestrates the library’s annual Taste of the Valley fundraiser; there is an art coordinator who schedules artists to show their work at the library, and a former teacher who has provided preschool story time for at least five years.
“The children love her and she always provides an exceptional story and craft,” Mumaw said.
A sampling of duties
Volunteer needs vary from library to library. These are a sampling of some of the more typical tasks.
- Work at the circulation desk
- Shelve books
- “Read” shelves to be sure the books are put away at the right location
- Empty the book drop
- Put together summer reading packets
- Help with crafts
- Look for books that have been placed on hold
- Sort donated books
- Add book covers and spine labels
- Conduct inventory
- Create displays
- Lead workshops
- Help patrons with tech gadgets and questions
- Secretarial assistance
- Handyman tasks
- Village Library: Help shift the collection, help with inventory
- Paul Smith Library of Southern York County: Help organizing “Year of the Book” activities and events
- Kreutz Creek Valley Library Center: Help maintain the garden throughout the spring, summer and fall