Library benefits from volunteer efforts

12 years ago

Library benefits from volunteer efforts

By Kathy McCarty

Staff Writer

    PRESQUE ISLE — Officials with the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library, located at 39 Second Street, recently recognized their many volunteers for countless hours of dedicated service to the facility and its patrons.

Photo courtesy Sonja Plummer-Morgan

    VOLUNTEERS HONORED — The Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library recently celebrated the many hours of donated time put in by volunteers in 2011. Pictured from left are: Jacqueline Goodine, library trustee; Deputy City Manager Martin Puckett; and volunteers Sharon Mahoney and Melanie Terrell.  FS-METLibraryVolunteers-cx-sh-17

    “In 2011, the Turner Memorial Library had over 70 volunteers come through the library. Volunteers included representatives from various groups as well as individuals,” said Sonja Plummer-Morgan, librarian. “They’ve contributed 5,316 volunteer hours.”

    Volunteers represented: ABLE/Senior Community Service Employment Program (SCSEP), Addison Point Program, court-referred community service, students, Work-Fare, ASPIRE, Job Corps and non-affiliated participants.

    “The library provides training to those over 55 years old, who qualify for the SCSEP program(s). They learn new skills, such as computers, dealing with the public, answering phones, etc. In 2011, we had about three workers through this program,” said Plummer-Morgan.

    Plummer-Morgan said the Addison Point Program “provides us with a volunteer and a teacher to work in the children’s section of the library, either cleaning or working on special projects like the monthly bulletin board.”

    Community service also provides a great deal of volunteer hours to the library.

    “Sometimes, in addition to or rather than pay a fine, some people choose to perform community service. Assignments are typically between 10 to 100 hours and they can do their service here,” said the librarian.

    Plummer-Morgan said the facility has had as many as five to six court-referred community service people working at one time at the library.

    “They do whatever they can. Cleaning is probably the easiest duty which requires almost no training. Others are trained to perform shelf reading, put materials back on the shelves, as well as any other assignments that we feel they are capable of doing,” Plummer-Morgan said.

    The largest group of volunteers, according to Plummer-Morgan, falls into the category of “non-affiliated.”

    “These are skilled volunteers who come in on a regular basis to volunteer because they have always loved the atmosphere at the library or who want an interesting and challenging volunteer position where they can meet new people or gain experience,” said Plummer-Morgan. “These are typically some of our best-trained volunteers, who as a group donate an average of about 200-plus hours a month.”

    Students also contribute many hours of service.

    “We see students who may be interested in a career in library science or those who need to meet requirements for the National Honor Society or earn community service hours for their resumes or college admissions,” she said.

    Library volunteers are also individuals needing to meet requirements to receive aid from the city.

    “Monthly we average about 60 hours of Work-Fare community service, which is administered by the General Assistance Office within the city of Presque Isle. Work-Fare volunteers are able to receive assistance through the city by working within a city department,” said the librarian.

    Participants of the ASPIRE program — which is overseen by the Aroostook County Action Program — also can be found at the library from time to time.

    “Over the years, we’ve also hosted ASPIRE volunteers, who receive assistance through the state of Maine. It is very similar to Work-Fare, and we are encouraged to provide training in hopes that the ASPIRE worker will leave here and find a paying job. They are usually required to complete an average of 25-35 hours per week,” said Plummer-Morgan.

    Loring Job Corps students have also contributed many hours to the library.

    “During our renovation/

expansion, Job Corps students volunteered to help move books, shelving, furniture, etc. A total of about 30 students worked with their instructor,” she said. “Over a period of about three days, they volunteered a total of 384 hours.”

    By hosting volunteers, Plummer-Morgan said staff are better able to perform the daily operations of the library.

    “Library services get more technical every day. Staff needs to keep up with all the new technical services, informational services, planning and programs, library management, as well as to carry out goals and objectives to better serve our patrons,” she said.

    She credited the work done by volunteers with allowing staff to focus their attention and time elsewhere.

    “Staff has more time to complete necessary training and build relationships with individuals, patrons and area organizations, thanks to our volunteers,” said Plummer-Morgan.