Margaret Atwood wrote in her 2003 novel Oryx and Crake, “After everything that's happened, how can the world still be so beautiful? Because it is."
After everything that’s happened in 2020, the world is still beautiful in part because of dedicated volunteers like the ones listed here. We are taking this opportunity to thank our volunteers who have already given 20 hours or more of their time this year. Their consistent support, week in and week out, cannot be measured in hours alone. They help us expand our reach by bagging meals for children, indexing genealogy materials, helping students with homework, reading with children, supporting Library staff, and so much more. Volunteers are the core of our community connection, and we are truly thankful for them!
It was an amazing summer of service by so many new and veteran volunteers! We're shining the spotlight on the entire team of people who are making our meal program and produce distribution such a safe success each week. Thank you to everyone who stepped up to help at our18 Library locations in the summer months. We couldn't have done it without you!
The program continues this fall, so if you'd like to help, let us know!
Judy began volunteering for Dayton Metro Library about 12 years ago, after her son graduated from high school. She started out at the Wilmington-Stroop Branch, and soon Chris Corba, Volunteer Coordinator at the time, asked her to serve on the Friends of the Library Executive Board. Judy calls her fellow board members “dedicated and passionate.” The Friends’ fundraising projects, most notably their book sales, provide support for Dayton Metro Library initiatives and programs.
A native of northwest Dayton, Judy grew up visiting the Ft. McKinley Branch every Saturday with her dad. She shared her father’s love of reading, and was especially fond of Nancy Drew novels. Judy retired a little over a year ago from her work as a computer engineer, but has stayed busy. I was excited to learn that in December, she traveled to the Cerro Pelon monarch butterfly sanctuary in Manchero, Mexico, to see tremendous numbers of monarch butterflies overwintering. She even showed me photos! The journey involved a great deal of hiking, which she enjoys both abroad and at home. She claims to like all the Five Rivers MetroParks equally, and her favorite author is fellow hiker Bill Bryson. She is currently taking a class at the University of Dayton called “Mystery Novels International,” which is introducing her to mystery authors from around the world.
If you can believe it, Judy also volunteers for the MetroParks, Heartland Hospice, and the Kettering Noon Optimists Club. She says volunteering is something she feels fortunate to be able to do, and she has an imperative for potential volunteers: “Try it, you’ll like it!” Some of her favorite things about volunteering for the Dayton Metro Library are meeting great people, experiencing all the exciting things the Library is doing, and seeing the joy on book sale customer’s faces when they say, “All this for $5!”
The next Friends of the Library’s sale will be a combined book and furniture sale, April 3-4 at the old Trotwood Branch Library building, 651 E. Main Street. (The new Trotwood Branch Library, located nearby at 855 E. Main Street, will be open by then.)
It isn’t easy to find Daunte Sanford at the Northwest Branch, because as a General Library Helper he could be nearly anywhere! I finally locate him in the Staff Area, cleaning audiobooks by the Automated Materials Handling System. A General Library Helper’s duties include shelf-reading, shelving, and cleaning.
“I enjoy volunteering,” Daunte says. “It makes me be a better person.”
Daunte is in 10th grade at Dayton Early College Academy, which allows students to earn a high school diploma and an associate’s degree simultaneously. He started volunteering at Dayton Metro Library in July, 2019, to fulfill DECA’s required 100 volunteer hours for the school year. He thinks this kind of stipulation is a good thing.
“It gives you time to be involved in the community,” he says. He chose to volunteer at the Library because he thought it would be an interesting and positive experience.
Daunte enjoys listening to music, including R&B and rap. He recently started appreciating jazz after studying the Jazz Age in a college African-American History course. He plans on seeking employment when he turns 16, and one day would like to be a CEO or a lawyer.
“I just like arguing,” he explains. “It’s interesting to see things from other points of view.”
Northwest Branch Manager Sharon Taste says, “It is our hope that Daunte is acquiring skills and knowledge that he can not only apply at school but in everyday life.”
I ask Daunte what he’s learned by volunteering at the Library. Recalling difficult interactions with patrons, his reply is quick and astute: “I’ve learned to be kind.”
When Raveena Parikh moved to Dayton from Mumbai, India, in January 2019, she wasted no time getting involved in the community as a Dayton Metro Library volunteer. Since beginning her volunteering adventure at the Main Library, Raveena has “branched” out to Southeast, Huber Heights, Kettering-Moraine, Electra C. Doren, and West Carrollton. She’s performed a variety of roles such as Greeter, Reading Buddy, General Library Helper, and Special Events Volunteer. She has the most fun when she gets to work with children, but she also enjoyed assembling goodie bags and making buttons for Rock Your Homework.
“I like organizing and production,” she says. “My background is in event management.”
Raveena says that India doesn’t have public libraries, and its academic libraries don’t cater to children. Spending time with kids is one of her favorite aspects of volunteering for Dayton Metro Library, and she is impressed with the children’s programming.
“Here, there are activities and books for children, and small rewards. It gets them interested in learning when they are young, which helps them when they are adults.”
Raveena began volunteering for DML in order to help people, but also to “get a feel for” life in the United States. She advocates for volunteer work in general, and says that volunteering opens doors. She mentions the practical benefits of volunteering, such as working on job skills and filling resume gaps.
The population of Mumbai is roughly 23 times that of the Dayton metro area. Raveena likes the size of Dayton, commenting on the good work/life balance, the nice people, and how peaceful it is. What’s her favorite Indian restaurant in the area? She recommends Heavenly, a recently-opened kosher and vegetarian restaurant in Miamisburg.
Raveena is recently married and lives near the Main Library. When she is not volunteering, she is a full-time MBA student at the University of Dayton. She enjoys dancing because it has “a lot of positive energy,” and thinks it would be fun to teach traditional Indian dance to children as a Library program.
We appreciate Raveena’s positive energy at the Dayton Metro Library!