The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local News

January 2, 2011

Getting Together: Library volunteers unite in love for books

ANDERSON, Ind. — Enthralled by leaping headlong into a book and escaping into a faraway world, a group of dedicated volunteers is working hard to share that experience with the community.

“I have felt indebted to the library because when my mother was alive I took her to the library every Saturday, and the books — she read one a day — kept her enjoying life into her 70s and 80s,” said Bob Hackler, president of Friends of Anderson Public Library since 2007. “She also made friends with some library staffers and I learned what fine people they were and still are. I felt that the library was one of the outstanding institutions in Anderson and it was natural for me to help them as a volunteer.”

Raising money for library programs primarily through monthly book sales, the organization has donated over $434,106 since 1992. In addition to the sales, operated by approximately 35 volunteers, membership fees are paid by 350 individuals and some corporations.

“I’ve always had an interest in the library since I was a little girl,” said Kitty Tilton, who has been a volunteer since moving to town in 2008. “I thought it was fun to be around books and I like to help people get access to books.”

Most of the books for sale have been taken out of circulation from the shelves of the library while about one-third are donated from the public. The Friends have such trouble getting over the great deals that are offered that they are often their best customers.

“We buy as many books as the public does,” said Phyllis Smith, retired elementary teacher. She began volunteering eight years ago while homeschooling her grandson and seeking a community service project for him. “If the community knew what bargain prices we had, we’d do even better than we do.”

“People don’t know what a good deal our sales are,” agreed Hackler, retired from General Motors and president of Edgewood Travel for 16 years. “What new people we get at our monthly sales are amazed at our low prices and our large variety. Our median price is one dollar.”

In addition to being around good books and scoring some major deals, the volunteers enjoy spending time with one another.

“This is a fun, close-knit group,” said Tilton. “I have been a volunteer ever since I can remember and this is the most dedicated, hard-working group I have ever worked with.”

“Several of my teacher friends work with me and that’s a lot of fun,” agreed Smith. “We work hard but really enjoy it.”

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