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Library News

By: Karen Greenwood, Volunteer Coordinator
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 16, 2010

Library Celebrates National Volunteer Week

April 18-24 is National Volunteer Week. The week’s theme, Celebrating People in Action, captures the meaning behind this signature event – honoring the individuals who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown each year, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week.

e love our volunteers at Sedona Public Library (SPL), and we’ve scheduled a luncheon to celebrate their contributions on Sunday, April 18. A special honoree will be Val Hirsch for 35 years of service to the Library.

What does it mean to be a Library volunteer? Here are thoughts from a few current volunteers:

Marlene Conklin is in her 20th year as an SPL volunteer. She started as a shelver at our Jordan Road location, putting books that have been checked in back in their proper places. She was on the board of Friends of the Library (FOL) when funds were being raised to build the current building on White Bear Road.

“When my husband and I moved here, the first thing we did was get a library card,” Conklin said. “Patricia was at the desk (Patricia Lowell, reference librarian), and she told us how important volunteers are to the Library. I filled out an application, and within a month I was called to help during the Christmas break. Then I started working with Betty Pepper processing donations.”

Conklin said she is continually awed by the generosity of residents of Sedona who donate books, videos, DVDs and CDs to the Library.

“Their donations increase our collection and make successful book sales in support of the Library,” Conklin said. “The Library is such a friendly place. Everyone who comes in is cheerful and happy to be here. Our community should be proud of what we’ve built.”

Charlene Lipka moved to Sedona because she wanted to live in a small community where she could get involved. As president of FOL and chair of the book sale committee, she devotes more than 100 hours each month to the Library.

“All the years I worked, I had no time to volunteer,” Lipka said. “I’m a voracious reader and have always used a library. That’s where I wanted to put my time and effort when I retired.”

Since the book sale committee acquired a scanner that helps determine the value of books and cuts down on research time, getting ready for the book sales isn’t as labor intensive as when Lipka started six years ago. In addition to the two main book sales each year, mini book sales are now held during certain weeks, and the committee has started online book sales, which are booming, Lipka said.

“It’s exciting to see how things are evolving,” she said. “So much has changed in the six years I’ve been involved. FOL is more active, there are more Library programs and more people are using the Library every day.

“Sedona Public Library has truly become the heart of our community. It’s someplace everyone can go. It has a friendly atmosphere. So many people volunteer here, and we have great camaraderie.”

Joyce Murphy started her volunteer career with SPL nine years ago in the Children’s Room. She moved into Circulation a couple of years later, joined the Volunteer Advisory Council the next year and started the volunteer mentoring program in 2005.

“After I retired, I had plenty of time and wanted to be of service,” Murphy said. “I love books and I love people, so the Library is the logical place for me to be.

“Our Library volunteers truly are unpaid staff. We provide an invaluable service to both library patrons and regular staff members. Without us, the Library couldn’t operate like it does today.

“The Library is the bastion of democracy,” she said. “It’s a place where people can search for all kinds of information. They can expand their knowledge, appreciation and joy. And if they don’t know how to find something, there are people here who can help.”

What Murphy likes best about volunteering at the Library is interacting with people.

“It’s wonderful to see the joy on their faces when they read a good book or see a good movie,” she said. “The best part of volunteering is being of service to people.”

Sedona is blessed with a wealth of people willing to devote their time and energy to helping make the community a vibrant place to live. As an institution created and sustained by volunteers, the Sedona Public Library is well aware of their value. Our volunteers contribute nearly 50 percent of our work hours each year, fulfilling duties both behind the scenes and in the public eye.

Erma Bombeck summed up the value of volunteers when she said, “Volunteers are the only human beings on the face of the earth who reflect this nation’s compassion, unselfish caring, patience and just plain love for one another.”

Most SPL volunteers work one shift per week, but many work more. Some volunteers work for more than one department. Other volunteers prefer to be on-call only and substitute for volunteers who are away. Regular shifts are 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 1:30 to 5:30 or 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Evening shifts are Wednesdays from 5 to 8 p.m.

If you would like to work with others who share a passion for our Library, please call Volunteer Coordinator Karen Greenwood at 282-7714. After you fill out an application, we will call you for an interview and in-depth Library tour.

Join the millions of people who find fulfillment in working with and helping others in their communities. Become a volunteer today.

Karen Greenwood
Karen Greenwood, author of this week's article,
is Volunteer Coordinator of the Sedona Public Library.

Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News
and is also presented on: Gateway to Sedona and Sedona Biz.