Monday, May 14, 2007

'Priceless' volunteers honored

The library's Board of Trustees, The Friends of the Fauquier Library and library staff recently honored library volunteers at a reception held in the John Barton Payne community hall in Old Town Warrenton.

Volunteers representing all of the county’s public libraries attended the reception held in the recently renovated hall, which was decorated for the evening’s festivities in red and gold.

Library staff adorned the serving table in keeping with the theme “Our volunteers are priceless.”

Library Director Maria Del Rosso began the celebration by thanking the volunteers for coming to the event. She then introduced Library Board of Trustee Chair Barbara Severin.

“We have a terrific core of volunteers and they are most certainly priceless,” Mrs. Severin told those gathered. Last year, she said, nearly 180 people volunteered more than 3,300 hours to the library. Their contribution, based on a formula used by Virginia Department of Social Services, is valued at nearly $60,000.

Of these volunteers, she explained, 31 were involved with day-to-day operations, donating approximately 2,400 hours at the Warrenton, Bealeton, and John Marshall libraries. More than 65 young people donated 685 hours at the libraries to ensure the success of the summer reading program for children, she added.

Mrs. Severin introduced a special guest, Angel, one of the four “very patient dogs” that donated many hours to the library’s Paws to Read program last year. Angel, a yellow lab attending the celebration with owner Jan Nelson, represented the four certified pet therapy dogs that listen quietly as children read to them during regularly scheduled sessions at all of the county’s libraries. Paws to Read, a popular program at all three locations, boosts the reading skills of children by allowing them to read aloud to the dogs, who listen with friendly nonjudgmental ears. The other canine volunteers are Gilli, a black lab owned by Mary Lou Snyder; Cordymay, a Bernese mountain dog owned by Molly Morgan, and Miles, a German shepherd owned by Nancy Anderson.

Mrs. Severin continued by telling the audience about The Friends of the Fauquier Library members who regularly donate time to work at the Friends’ Book Cellar, a used bookstore located in the basement of the John Barton Payne building. Proceeds from The Book Cellar help provide special items needed by the library and fund the majority of the library’s special events for children, teens and adults, including the summer reading programs, guest author visits, and events during Black History Month and National Library Week.

“As a matter of fact,” Mrs. Severin added, “the Friends of the Fauquier Library sponsor this annual volunteer reception.”

Mrs. Severin concluded her remarks by introducing the other Library Board of Trustee members saying library board members also volunteered “countless hours” to serving the county last year. Each member of the county’s Board of Supervisors appoints a library board member from his district to represent his constituents for a four-year term. Service on the library board is strictly voluntary, members receive no salary. Mrs. Severin, who represents the Scott District, introduced Alice Jane Childs (Cedar Run), Ann Martella (Center), Jack Whiting (Marshall), and Lawrie Parker (Lee), who was not able to attend.

Mrs. Severin concluded her remarks by saying, “It is very gratifying to be able to point to the volunteer’s contribution when the library board submits its annual justification for the library’s operating budget request to the Board of Supervisors.

“The strong support by volunteers in the various areas of library operations is very persuasive evidence of citizen commitment to the library,” she said.

Friends of the Fauquier Library President Tina Ross spoke briefly about the Friends organization spoke, giving a short Friends’ treasurer’s report. She also made a plea for more volunteers to work in The Book Cellar, which brought a chuckle to those in the audience.

Library Director Maria Del Rosso then introduced several library staff members who, in turn, introduced their department’s volunteers and presented each with a certificate of appreciation and a small gift. Book plates honoring volunteers are placed in new library books each year, and volunteers attending the celebration each chose a book in which to place their personalized book plate.

The remainder of the evening was spent by board members, library staff and volunteers visiting with each other and enjoying the refreshments provided by the Friends.