It’s been a while since we profiled one of our awesome volunteers — not that we don’t have loads of them — but serving more than 1,000 Summer Reading Club members (plus the rest of our patrons) keeps everybody running all summer. We’re back with another great volunteer, though; but first, if you missed any posts in our ongoing series, you can find them here: Alan, Shirley, Debbie, Chris, Linda, Karen, Johnny, and Ricki.

Meet Kathy. She has a rich history of volunteering, including 38 years at the library alone (wow), and she’s seen a lot of changes during that time. Find out what she misses most from the library’s ‘olden’ days and all the places where her wanderlust has taken her.

How long have you been volunteering at the library?
About 38 years. I started out volunteering as reader for preschool story hour.

What do you do as a volunteer?
I work at the front desk, assist patrons looking for books, check in materials, check out materials, register new patrons and update library cards for current patrons.

What motivated you to volunteer with us?
My love of libraries motivated me to volunteer. I enjoy interacting with people, sharing my knowledge of the library resources, and like contributing to the function of the library. While volunteering, I learn about new books and have interesting conversations with people.

Have libraries played any special role in your life?
Libraries have played a big part in my life. My mother took us to the library when I was young. My local area did not have a library, so it meant a trip to the nearest large town. I still remember one of the first books I took out — Hitty, Her First Hundred Years, by Rachel Field — a story about the ‘adventures’ of a doll.  When a library opened closer to home, we were frequent visitors. While in college, I had a part time job working in one of the small reading libraries on campus, and I volunteered at the Jefferson School library while my children attended there.

It’s amazing that you’ve volunteered here for 38 years. I bet you’ve seen a lot of changes.
Wow, yes, many positive changes. The addition of the (Margaret Knoll) Gardner Room and the new children’s wing are obvious ones. I’ve experienced volunteering under several directors, from Elaine Timbers to Maryellen (Kanarr). Computers and online resources have changed the way the library is used. The Friends of the Library didn’t exist when I started, nor the book sale. The recent addition of the ‘Used Book Nook’ to recycle books is another positive addition. More library and community programs, as well as literary groups for all ages, now go on all year. In the past, there was only a summer reading program for children who could read.

I do miss the old card catalog files. Often while looking for a particular book, I would come across other intriguing titles, and that doesn’t happen with the online catalog.

It seems fewer patrons come into the library now that people can access books online, though that seems to have changed in recent years with the addition of more events.

Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from Long Island and went to college in Binghamton, New York. I completed my Medical Technology internship in Boston, and lived and worked in Amherst and Northampton, Massachusetts, prior to moving to Pennsylvania.

My professional career was as a medical technologist in various locations, mainly working in microbiology labs. Prior to retiring, I completed 30 years at Health Network Labs.

Other past volunteer activities included Crossing Guard, AAUW book sale committee, Junior Women’s Club, groups concerned about education and school board candidates in East Penn, and a number of committees at my church. Currently, I volunteer at Miller-Keystone as a Donor Aid and help in the Canteen, here at the library, and am on the organizing board for Valley Contra Dance.

What are your hobbies or interests?
Birding and contra dancing are two of my main passions in addition to reading, gardening, cooking, travel, museums, and attending theater and dance performances.

I’ve traveled to Greece, Ireland, Costa Rica, Mexico, Ecuador (including the Galapagos), Colombia, Czech Republic, Austria, Cuba and England. I enjoy getting to know people in other countries as well as visitors to the U.S. and hearing their stories, which show how much people are alike.

You’ve traveled pretty widely. Did you have a favorite country?
Each experience was unique, but if I had to pick, it would be the Czech Republic. I visited twice and got to see lots of the country, learned a lot of the history, and visited small villages where we interacted (and danced) with the local citizens. Our young tour guide was from Prague and had sought out local craftspeople in remote areas. We experienced many places frequented by locals and not foreign tourists.

It was interesting to talk to people who had grown up and lived through the transition of government from being part of the Soviet Union to independence, and from being Czechoslovakia to Slovakia and the Czech Republic. Neither of my trips there was the typical tourist experience.

Do you have a favorite book or author?
I’ve enjoying reading works by various authors, so it’s hard to pick a favorite. Barbara Kingsolver, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison and Anne Tyler are some authors whose works I have enjoyed.

Lightning round! Favorite TV show or movie:
I don’t watch much TV, but I enjoy Masterpiece Theater productions, plus Foreign and Independent Films.

Last book you read:
God Help The Child by Toni Morrison.

Place you most want to travel to:

…and your superpower?
Mother of two amazing adult sons!

Do you have a special interest or talent that you’d like to share with others? Would you like to lend your energy to the library in other ways? Stop in and ask for a Volunteer Interest form at the desk!

[Disclaimer: the views, information or opinions expressed in ‘Meet Our Volunteers’ interviews are solely those of the volunteers and do not necessarily represent those of the library or its employees.]