There’s something about the word “volunteer” that brings a smile to my face. Having worked long enough to gain social security benefits and a retirement package from the University of Illinois, I packed up a household and along with my husband, Norm, trekked to Sedona for our long-awaited retirement. Now at last we would have time enough to relax, travel a bit and… I hadn’t completed the trilogy of things I would do when I had the time and opportunity. What was I going to do in those other hours of the day? Where was that “special something”?
My love of a good book found me often among the shelves of books in Sedona Public Library. Pulling one and then another from the shelf, I was aware that I really wanted to work with books. What better place to do that than in the Library? A conversation with Ginny Volkman quickly led to being put under the caring tutelage of Marlene Conklin in her domain of book donations. Week after week we sorted, evaluated, and handled books that had been shared by readers who no longer had space enough to house these treasures of information, instruction, and storytelling. Heaven was mine! Could there be anything more wonderful than being surrounded by books?
It was only a matter of time before I discovered the “hole in the wall” location of Sedona Public Library in the Village. In a few hundred square feet I found shelves of books and magazines, computers, people “shopping” for their next book, folks picking up books they had reserved, and Dotte Vande Linde overseeing it all. It didn’t take long to know that this was where I wanted to be…in the middle of this happy, busy community.
Time has a way of moving us down the stream of experience so that we barely notice how long we’ve been on the journey. A few months here, several years there, and soon Sedona Public Library in the Village had moved once, twice, three times under the careful gaze of Cheryl Yeatts. In each of our temporary homes we invited patrons of all ages and interests into our community of readers just as we do today. We continue to offer ideas for “the next book to read.” We listen as people share their current favorite authors and pass them along to other patrons. We invest in each other’s lives as we share conversations about families and vacations and things that matter. We enable a gathering of folks based on a love for books and reading and turn it into a caring community. We lift each other up.
What is “volunteering”? It is an opportunity for a second chance, for doing something you’ve always wanted to do but never quite had the time to do. It is investing your unique gifts and experiences in a new venture that addresses the passion that challenges you. For me, it is serving at Sedona Public Library in the Village.
Sedona Public Library
Column for April 9, 2021
Written by Janice LaDuke, Sedona Public Library in the Village Volunteer
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News.