Kathy Sellers helps out every Saturday at the very busy El Cajon Library. Her warm personality makes her a joy to work with. She is a master of the library paging list, helping staff pull close to 100 books every single Saturday. She also shelves multiple carts of books each time she comes in. Kathy is a valued team member at the El Cajon library.
Described as "enthusiastic and gung-ho," the life of the party, or at least of the Friends of the Library board meetings, at the Descanso Branch Library is always JennyBelle Bowman. JennyBelle has volunteered at the Descanso Library for three years and consistently amazes staff with her fun outlook on life and love for history. As a volunteer, JennyBelle enjoys coming up with creative ways to earn money for the library as a Friends of the Descanso Library member. Born and raised in San Diego County, she worked for Qualcomm and as an aid at Descanso Elementary School for many years before volunteering her time at the library. When she isn't volunteering, JennyBelle enjoys reading, studying anthropology, and camping with her family. She sees San Diego County Library as an essential part of the Descanso community and is particularly fond of the "friendly customer service, Internet access, and children's activities." Branch Manager Peggy Machado nominated JennyBelle for this honor due to her commitment to bettering the library and her enthusiasm for making a difference in the Descanso community.
Kay Ewin is a retired pharmacist turned library volunteer who has been helping out at the Fallbrook branch library for almost six years. Staff describes her as a "true delight to work with" as she is always spirited and willing to perform any duty. While shelving is her favorite volunteer duty because she loves interacting with the customers, she has done just about everything. Kay was first in line to help branch staff make the move to their temporary facility while their library undergoes renovations. Kay grew up in Michigan, but has fallen in love with California and doesn't miss shoveling snow. She loves cooking, playing bridge, and reading mystery novels. One reason she loves San Diego County Library is seeing customers get all of the books they need, free of charge. She believes that "with the cost of books these days, I think it is neat that they can depend on the library being here for them."
Shelving, straightening, cleaning DVD cases, you name it—Encinitas library volunteer Nancy Mizrahi has done it all, and done it with a smile. "I really enjoy doing anything they ask me to do," she says. "I volunteer here because I want to do something for the community, and that includes helping with whatever the library needs." Nancy, a retired Administrative Analyst who worked for UCSD for 38 years, has been volunteering at the Encinitas library since 2008. Described by staff as dependable and conscientious, Assistant Manager Honey Notley nominated Nancy for the Volunteer of the Month because of her "constant enthusiasm and attention to detail." When Nancy isn't being an amazing library volunteer, she spends her time gardening, cooking, and enjoying all things fiction, especially the Harry Potter series.
Gerrie Stoll is the heart, soul, and memory of the Lakeside branch library. Having volunteered for 16 years, Gerrie does it all: shelving, book drop, request lists, and more for 20 hours every week. She loves volunteering because "Everybody here has been very good to me. They treat me like a member of the staff." "She is a member of the staff," says supervisor Erica Miller. "She's indispensable." Gerrie's experience in libraries dates back to her 23 years of experience working as a library clerk for the Lakeside area schools. She made the transition from working in a school library to volunteering at a public one in hopes of getting to know a different demographic. She sees the library's most essential service, aside from providing books, as being the programs designed for children and teens. When she isn't volunteering, Gerrie enjoys crossword puzzles, collecting, and frequenting local Ford V8 Club meetings with her husband. Gerrie was nominated for this honor by Branch Manager Charles Jarman due to her unwavering commitment to the Lakeside library and because "Gerrie is the best volunteer a library manager could hope to work with."
Nick is originally from Bakersfield, Calif., and came to San Diego after graduating from UCSB with a degree in Literature. Nick's contributions to the LEARN program are plentiful, as he created a Guide to Applying for Unemployment, which helps many LEARN members, as well as library customers. He also runs the Conversation Café at the Bonita Library, providing local adults the opportunity to practice speaking English in a comfortable environment. Nick's favorite part about LEARN is "seeing people succeed at things that they've been struggling with their whole lives."
Born in Texas, raised in San Diego, Desiree earned her B.A. in Communications from Oklahoma Wesleyan University. She joined AmeriCorps because she loves helping people and had positive past experiences working in a similar field. Desiree started a new round of computer classes at the Encinitas and Vista branches and teaches basic skills, such as mouse movement, clicking, and using the Internet. The most rewarding part of her LEARN experience so far has been "just having someone get it and seeing it click for them."
Sarah is a San Diego native who earned her B.A. in History at Claremont McKenna and her M.A. in American History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Sarah's big project this year has been organizing LEARN's Summer Reading Program, a program that provides adults with incentives to read and achieve literacy goals. She also teaches an English conversation class at the 4S Ranch Library that has over 20 regular attendees. Sarah loves to see how many people the program reaches and is amazed "by how foundational it is in people's lives."
Raquel is a San Diego native who earned her Sociology degree from UCI, then returned home when she discovered the AmeriCorps opportunity while at a graduate school function. Raquel organized a San Diego County Library team in the Race for Literacy, a two-day event with all proceeds going to literacy programs throughout the county. 57 people joined the team and fought for literacy, one kilometer at a time. Raquel is amazed at how big of a difference LEARN makes in people's lives, and loves that she has "never had a job that has challenged me so much" before.
The community of Lincoln Acres is devoted to education and family, and each day dozens of kids and teens crowd into the nearby Lincoln Acres Library to do homework, access the Internet, or just hang out. The library offers a Service Learning program to help give local teens volunteer work experience for school credit and personal enrichment. Three of the branch's Service Learners stand out as volunteer superstars, according to Branch Manager José Ocadiz. "We couldn't do it without them," Ocadiz said. "They bring so much energy into the library and use it to help out and really make a difference in our customers' lives."
Oscar started volunteering for the library in order to gain community service experience for school. His favorite part of the job? "Craft time," Oscar said, "because it's fun and creative and I help the kids with their projects." While he used to never read, he joined the Teen Book Club at the library and fell in love with The Lightning Thief series. He moved on to The Hunger Games and is one of the book club's best contributors. After high school, he wants to become a firefighter or prison guard.
Gabriel has been volunteering at the library since September 2010 and signed up as a way to give back to the community. He loves checking books in and out because he "gets to talk to the customers." He thinks the best part of the Lincoln Acres Library is how social the staff and customers are, he enjoys getting to know so many new people. After high school, Gabriel wants to go to UCSD or SDSU and eventually be a firefighter.
Andres has only been volunteering at the library for a few weeks but has already impressed Branch Manager José Ocadiz with his devotion to customer service. Andres loves shelving books, which is a duty many volunteers aim to avoid. When he isn't volunteering at the library, he's playing baseball and football or reading the latest sports title. After high school, Andres wants to go to college at SDSU and become a doctor.