$500 runner-up

Gainer worked hundreds of hours at Westerville library

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Lorrie Cecil/ThisWeek
Westerville 16-year-old Glen Gainer has logged more than 500 hours of volunteer time at the Westerville Public Library.

Glen Gainer has volunteered hundreds of hours to the Westerville Public Library, mainly helping to carry out children's programs.

"We tried to add up his lifetime hours, and we got up to 500, which is way more than anyone else," teen librarian Becky O'Neil said.

Though he's only 16, Gainer has been volunteering at the library since 2005.

The Westerville North High School junior has been selected as a runner-up in the Amazing Student Volunteers contest, sponsored by ThisWeek Community Media and Columbus State Community College.

As one of two runners-up, Gainer will receive a $500 scholarship.

"I used to attend the programs (at the library), so I kind of new all that was going on. I had fun doing it, and I wanted to pass on the experience," Gainer said of his decision to start volunteering with the library.

Gainer began as a volunteer to help register children for the library's summer reading program. When the sign-up process went online for the program, O'Neil said, Gainer, who hopes to get a degree in computer science, was instrumental in making the transition work.

Gainer serves as a volunteer for a variety of children's programs at the library and has been named a lead volunteer, helping to mentor new volunteers and making volunteer schedules.

O'Neil said that in addition to having a lot of knowledge to share with the children who come to the library for programs, Gainer also is great with the children.

"He's kind of a natural teacher," O'Neil said. "He's good with the kids and helping them find their own way."

Gainer said he enjoys what he does at the library. He said he gets to work with many of his friends and that he he's learned a variety of interesting skills, such as making balloon animals.

"It's a fun place to be," he said.

Gainer said he has become a familiar face for many of the visitors at the library.

"The question I get a lot is: 'Do you have a job (at the library) yet?'" he said.

Gainer seems humble about his work at the library, but O'Neil said volunteers like him make the many programs the library offers possible.

"(Volunteers) are indispensible," she said. "In the summer, we literally couldn't have something as big as the summer reading program without the volunteers. (Glen) is really exceptional, and I'm really glad he's getting this recognition."