Lackman Library Volunteers

This #ThrowbackThursday we're honoring our Lackman Library Volunteers!

My name is Linda, and I'm happy to have had the opportunity to visit with some of the Lackman Library volunteers during an appreciation lunch for them. Some of them will move to other volunteer posts within the Johnson County Library, and others are moving on to new opportunities as services move from Lackman Library to Lenexa City Center Library. From a woman with 34 years of library service to one who had just started, they all contributed in their own special way to the foundation and success of the Lackman Library.

Jo Ouseley, the 34-year volunteer, started at the main branch of the Johnson County Library then transferred to Lackman shortly after it opened in 1997. She and the Lackman branch have commendably served the residents of Lenexa and Johnson County ever since. Jo was the recipient of the Shankel Award for Outstanding Volunteers in 2009. I listened as she and other volunteers reminisced about sorting and re-shelving books in the children’s department. They concluded it was not the best time to wear new slacks, and as Jo pointed out, the amount of time they spent on their knees provided ample opportunity to catch up on their prayers.

Another volunteer, Donna Pray, shares special memories of the Lackman Library with her grandson. She was busy with her volunteer duties one day when a certain little boy caught her attention. She quickly recognized her three-year-old grandson who came in with his babysitter to attend story-time, a popular event for toddlers. He was surprised to see her and asked why she was at the library and not at her house where he had always seen her. For years he enjoyed visiting the library, not only for story-time, but for a smile and hug from Grandma as well.

Volunteering is not just something you do if you have time, it makes your time more valuable. Take Kathy Peters and Judy Carney, for instance. The time they spent volunteering became priceless when they found their best friend in each other. Kathy, a 10-year volunteer, liked to shelve books and Judy, a 9-year volunteer, liked to work on DVDs and audiobooks. They were so fast and efficient with their individual tasks that they always found time afterwards to talk… and a friendship was born! Kathy loves to read, so it’s understandable that her favorite day of the week was the day she spent at the library. Being a well-rounded reader made her a good resource for those looking for recommendations, and patrons grew to count on her as a resource for their next great read.

Janet Hall, a volunteer since November 2013, found an undeniable satisfaction in the hours she put in at the Library, but it’s the staff and other volunteers for which she is truly grateful. Their care and concern after her son passed away a few years ago will never be forgotten. She treasures their kindness and holds dear the wind chimes that were given to her in his memory.

Other volunteers I met that day were Lou Ann Carpenter, Lorraine Gerard, Fran Jaderborg, and Nikki Hollembeak.  They all confirmed what I easily sensed: the bond and camaraderie they shared was invaluable. It was also clear that a mutual appreciation existed between the Library staff and the volunteers. Each group seemed extremely grateful for the other. Like the pages of a book, they were all bound together. The pages have turned, and the book has been closed - but what a story it was!

Photo from left:  Nikki Hollembeak, Kathy Peters, LouAnn Carpenter, Lorraine Gerard, Fran Jaderborg, Janet Hall, Donna Pray, Judy Carney, Jo Ouseley, Volunteer Coordinator Rita Glick

Lackman volunteers not pictured: JoAnn Hadel, Elaine Scherder, Glenda Carden, Bill Hartel, Pat Veno, Deanne Belshe, Sandy Allshouse and Jan Hendrix.