All three Worthington Libraries locations are busy places where staff members would be unable to provide the kind of service the community expects and deserves without a corps of dedicated volunteers.
This past year, 100 adult volunteers donated more than 3,220 hours. A third of those hours was spent reshelving the almost 4 million items the library circulated among all three branches. Another third was spent assisting students in each location's homework help center.
The remaining time was spent at library programs, delivering materials to residents who don't have transportation and attending to other tasks, such as washing the puppets in the children's departments.
One of the ways the library thanks volunteers -- both adult and teen -- for their exceptional work is with the Sheila E. Vetter Volunteer Award.
Established by Vetter's family after her death in 2000, the award honors an outstanding teen and adult volunteer, who each receive a cash prize and have their names engraved on a plaque displayed in the lobby of Northwest Library, 2280 Hard Road, where Vetter worked.
At the library's recent Volunteer Appreciation Party, it was announced that Eleora Adams is the volunteen award recipient and Neera Gupta is the adult volunteer recipient. Both were selected by Vetter's family from among library staff nominations.
Patient and kind, Adams was an invaluable addition to Northwest Library's homework help center, where she volunteered during her senior year at Worthington Kilbourne High School.
According to Josh Nickler and Tin Cheung, the librarians who nominated her, Adams had a knack for relating to students visiting the center, building a rapport and encouraging them to work through difficult assignments.
She also coached students through long-term academic problems.
"Last year, Eleora regularly worked on reading proficiency with a student by listening to the child read aloud," Nickler said. "After reading together, she asked the child questions to ensure reading comprehension skills were being built."
Nickler said not only did Adams see improvements, but the student became a more confident reader.
Northwest Library's homework help center is also where you're most likely to find Gupta, who's been a volunteer there almost exclusively since 2012. In that capacity, she has worked successfully with many students, volunteers and three different help center coordinators.
Her long-term assistance in the center means students see a familiar face when they stop in – an asset when establishing trust and a comfort level that leads to productive work.
Efficient and dependable, Gupta takes her work as a volunteer and role model seriously, said nominator and Northwest Library manager Jeff Regensburger. "She is adept at keeping students on task and reminding them of the value and importance of the work they're doing.
For more information about volunteering at the library, call 614-807-2626 or go to worthingtonlibraries.org/visit/services/volunteer-opportunities.
Hillary Kline is a communications specialist for Worthington Libraries.