IN PRAISE OF VOLUNTEERS
You might have noticed the bench by the entryway of the Library dedicated to the memory of Anne Johnson. But who was Anne Johnson? She, like many others who oftentimes go unheralded, was a volunteer at the Cross’ Mills Public Library. A woman of keen intelligence, Anne spent her life in service to others. After years of raising her children and working in school libraries, she brought her many talents to the Cross’ Mills Public Library. She performed all types of library tasks and was also an active member of the book discussion group who purchased the bench in her honor.
When I first started as Director/Librarian here at the Cross’ Mills Public Library, friends in the Rhode Island library community raved about how lucky I was, since Cross’ Mills had such a dedicated group of volunteers. I, in my usual cavalier way, dismissed this characterization as an exaggeration, assuming that the volunteers were minor role players, helping but not really responsible for anything vital. How wrong I was! The volunteers at the Cross’ Mills Public Library are not just background support, they are oftentimes the leaders. We rely upon them for all aspects of the library’s functioning—from working at the circulation desk to preparing materials for the children’s program, from seeking items for the holds list to shelving books, from rearranging materials to cleaning windows. However, most importantly, they bring life and laughter. The students from Chariho and Prout bring their energy and irreverence; the retirees their experience and wisdom; the community service workers their practical skills. Without our volunteers, the Library is only books and mortar. With them we are a community in the best sense of the word. Our volunteers are our lifeblood and I have been truly humbled by their hard work, dedication and love.
Ulla M. Virks, Director/Librarian, Cross’ Mills Public Library
Email Ulla or call her 364-6211.
Cross' Mills Public Library | 4417 Old Post Road | Charlestown, RI 02813-0909 | (401) 364-6211