Library thrives due to volunteer support

By Nicole Bannick, Camrose Canadian Lifestyles Contributor

The Camrose Public Library runs on volunteer-powered energy and dedication to run their many community outreach programs. Supplied

The Camrose Public Library runs on volunteer-powered energy and dedication to run their many community outreach programs. Supplied

“Volunteering is the ultimate exercise in democracy. You vote in elections once a year, but when you volunteer, you vote every day about the kind of community you want to live in.” – Anonymous


April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week in Canada. We take time at the library every year to celebrate and thank all of our volunteers, whether they be at the forefront of library service, or in the background, making sure your library is neat and well organized. Here are a few of the amazing things our library volunteers accomplished in 2018.

We have a dedicated crew of volunteers who help is provide library services to people who, for various reasons, cannot make it in to our library to borrow items. Outreach by six volunteers to care facilities and private homes made it possible for over 600 people per year to access library materials and programs who otherwise would not be able to do so.

Our library collection is always under repair and reorganization. Our 37 volunteers who help with library operations spent a total of 850 hours in 2017 making sure the DVDs and CDs remain scratch-free, that those board books you read with your children and grandchildren are clean and safe to read, and that the item you are searching for is in its proper place on our shelves. Likewise, our volunteers donate their time to clean bookshelves, wash furniture, and disinfect toys, and unpack and check in a multitude of items on interlibrary loan arrival day, which leaves paid staff free to spend more time providing programs and services to the public.

Library programming has become a huge part of what we do on a daily basis, and we are able to do so much more thanks to people who volunteer their time. Whether they were assisting with program preparation or clean-up, piloting the Life Cycle, planning and running special events like our annual Christmas party or knitting programs, or volunteering on a weekly basis to run our French Conversation Circle and Reading Tails, we have 20 awesome volunteers who spent 421 hours helping provide programs which entertain and educate people in our community.

Last, but definitely not least, we would like to recognize the members of the Camrose Public Library Board. Our library board is made up of eight dedicated volunteer trustees who spent almost 320 hours in 2017 charting a course for library services based on our Vision and Mission statements and our Plan of Service. Through monthly board meetings, sub-committees, meetings with funders, and public engagements, our Library Trustees not only set goals for our library, they also are vocal, every-day advocates for libraries.

Our volunteers at Camrose Public Library become as much a part of the library space as our staff does. We are sad to have lost one of our longest and most well-known volunteers early this year. Connie Burfield was an enthusiastic and dedicated volunteer who had been with us since, well, we don’t know the exact date! She’d been a volunteer since before we started keeping formal volunteer records, but some of our long-time staff think she began with us around 1986; that’s 32 years ago! Staff and patrons alike will miss her help, her community spirit, her fantastically wacky holiday outfits, and mostly, her stories.

In 2017, our 73 volunteers spent a total of 1,675 hours of their time helping library staff, library patrons, and our wider community, and for that they deserve huge accolades. Generosity of spirit is not something to be taken lightly. Please stop a volunteer in our library and tell them how much you appreciate what they do here every day! We’d also like to invite you to join us in the library as we raise a cup of thanks to all of our volunteers on Sunday at 2 p.m.

Nicole Bannick is the Program Coordinator of the Camrose Public Library. Outside of work, she enjoys time with her family, baking, comic-cons, and cheesy 16-bit role playing games.  

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