Every year, the Fayetteville Free Library holds a special luncheon to recognize its volunteers. With more than 40 people in the bunch, it's the only time they get to see each other at once.
"They work in so many different capacities and so many different areas in the library," said Executive Director Sue Considine. "We're happy to be able to get the volunteers together and to thank them in a very visible, tangible way."
The appreciation goes both ways.
"There are good people here, and we work together," said volunteer Linda Raymond. "You have a sense of camaraderie even though you don't see the other 30 people. You still know that they're there because you see the evidence, what they've been doing."
The average time a volunteer puts in each week is only a couple hours, but the work completed in that short time is fundamental to the library.
"Something a volunteer can do saves time and money for the professionals," Raymond said. "Some tasks are very time-consuming."
Volunteer coordinator Barbara Craner takes great pains to create a working schedule that meets the needs of each helper. She's also responsible for identifying the best fit for each department.
"Skill level is all levels. If you've got sophisticated skills, we'll use your skills," Craner said. "Everybody has something to offer and we match them up."
Moreover, Craner doesn't disappear once a volunteer is assigned a job. She makes sure the person's needs are being met and that they're happy with their project.
"The value that the volunteers bring to every community library, public library, academic library -- whatever it might be -- is enormous," Considine said. "Those of us who are working within the libraries, we do recognize it and we do so much appreciate it. We understand that that brings us to the level that we need to be."
To become a volunteer, simply fill out the application form provided at the library located at 300 Orchard St. For further information, call 637-6374 or visit fayettevillefreelibrary.org.