Hundreds of volunteers of all ages together donate thousands of hours each year (over 6,000 hours to date this year) to Worthington Libraries. Without their commitment and hard work, the library could not do as much as it does.

Hundreds of volunteers of all ages together donate thousands of hours each year (over 6,000 hours to date this year) to Worthington Libraries. Without their commitment and hard work, the library could not do as much as it does.

From searching for missing books to registering children for the summer reading club, from repairing DVDs and CDs to suiting up as Winnie the Pooh, the work of volunteers gives staff members the time to do what they do best - help patrons.

For the past eight years at the Friends Foundation of Worthington Libraries annual meeting, the Sheila E. Vetter Volunteer Award has been presented. The award honors an outstanding teen and adult volunteer, who each receive a $200 U.S. Savings Bond and have their names engraved on a plaque displayed in the lobby of Northwest Library, where Sheila worked.

Winners are selected by Sheila's family from among library staff nominations.

Kevin Zhu

A volunteer since the fall of 2003, Kevin Zhu is the 2008 winner in the teen category. In those five years, he has donated more than 175 hours of his time and helped in every department at Northwest Library, from shelving materials for the Circulation Department to cutting scrap paper for the Children's Department.

According to his nominator, teen librarian Sarah Cofer, Kevin's consistency has earned him the admiration of library staff.

"Kevin has volunteered every Friday afternoon at 4:45 p.m. since he was in middle school. Everyone on staff knows they can depend on him to show up every Friday - even during the summer - to help.

Kevin's dependability and dedication to the library is evident. Although very quiet, Sarah says, he is always willing to do whatever needs to be done.

"Over the last five years, he has never balked at a single project," she said.

Virander Airi

The library's Homebound Service selects and delivers books and audio books to Worthington School District residents unable to come to the library.

As a Homebound Services volunteer, Virander Airi, the adult category winner, regularly delivers books to several different nursing homes in the library's service district, and has done so for many years.

One of Virander's greatest strengths is his understanding, says library associate Rebecca Wenden, who was his nominator.

"Not only does he patiently adjust to our (the library's) changing needs, he also has a deep understanding of the needs of our homebound patrons, thanks to his volunteer work with Meals on Wheels.

Mr. Airi's dignity and graceful generosity are an inspiration to us all."

Worthington Libraries staff appreciate the dedication of Kevin and Virander and everyone who volunteers for the benefit of the library and the Worthington community.

Hillary Kline