How do you define an engaged resident? As the city of Durango goes through our community engagement process, I am continually encouraged by the level of participation of our residents.
At the library, we are surrounded by people who inspire us each day – in particular, our volunteers. Volunteering in your community is one way to give back to causes you are passionate about. The week of April 15-21 is National Volunteer Week, and I could not think of a better time to take a moment to give volunteers a shout out!
Each of our local libraries has a Friends of the Library group, all of whom are volunteers. At the Durango Public Library, our Friends contribute their time and efforts to give back to the library through serving as board members, running Lela’s Place Bookstore, conducting massive book sales throughout the year, sorting through the hundreds of donated materials we receive each week and simply through their general support of the library each day. I feel privileged to have such an amazing group of people managing the Friends of the Library.
We also have stellar volunteers who come in and assist us behind the scenes. They shelve materials, repair DVDs and CDs, prepare new materials for our shelves, work on special projects and more. At all three of our locations, volunteers contributed nearly 1,300 hours of their time in 2017 to assist the library. That is over 100 hours of volunteering per month. Wow. Just wow.
I could not speak about the spirit of volunteerism without also highlighting our Library Advisory Board (and truly, all Boards and Commissions). This group of people give of their own time to be the voice of our residents to the library, as well as the voice of the Library to City Council. They are always looking out for your best interests and the best interests of the Library. Thank you for your continuous work on our behalf!
While volunteers usually say they do not need any thanks, it is an honor to acknowledge their contributions. In 2017, the Library Advisory Board initiated the Library Community Champion Award, providing recognition to people nominated by community members for being a vital part of the library’s history and success. Our first recipients were Bev Darmour and Lynne Hardy. Bev, who passed away in early 2017, was a longtime member of the Library Advisory Board and a continuous advocate for the library. Lynne is a current volunteer who has given nearly two decades of her time to volunteer at the library. We are happy that Lynne continues to be an essential piece of the library team.
The Library Advisory Board has opened the Library Community Champion nominations for 2018. If you know someone who you believe should be recognized for the contributions to Durango Public Library, please visit our website at www.durangopubliclibrary.org or stop in the library and pick up a nomination form. Help us thank those who give so much to us!
Sandy Irwin is director at Durango Public Library.