The accidental volunteers
When Bob Kraus walked into the Manlius Library one day last fall, he had a taste for a hot beverage. To his right, the Bookmark Caf (c) offers just what he was looking for -- flavored coffees, regular coffee, tea, various cold drinks and snacks. What it lacked, however, was someone manning it.
"When I came in I wanted coffee and couldn't get one," Kraus said. "There were no volunteers. Here's a great thing and it's not being utilized and that's when I said, 'Well, I'll volunteer.'"
Kraus later asked his 9-year-old daughter Nora what she thought of his idea. She liked it, and the two signed on as a team.
"I thought it would be fun to do it together," Kraus said. "I look forward to it every Monday."
The duo comes in once a week for about an hour to serve patrons looking to please their palette. Nora handles the orders and transactions while her father takes on closing duties.
"I'd say Nora does just about everything," Kraus said. "She really does the whole thing. I'm just kind of here."
Nora, on the other hand, credits her father for other essentials, such as cleaning the coffee machine and locking up the goods.
Whatever the divided responsibilities, the father/daughter duo has one certain thing in common: they enjoy each other's company.
"I like spending time with my dad," Nora Kraus said.
"It's fun to spend time together," Bob Kraus said.
Nora Kraus has also found that as a first-time volunteer, there are many benefits to helping.
"It's really fun and you meet a lot of new people," she said.
The library is a fun place," her father added, "and everybody who works here is just great."
More often than not, the Kraus' see people they know visit the library, which Bob Kraus said he welcomes.
"It gets us out and gets us around people and we enjoy it," he said. "Sometimes parents come by and say, 'Oh wow, why didn't I think of that?'
"Somebody's gotta do it, and I'm here."
Bookmark Caf (c) hours:
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Thursday
4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Thursday and Friday
10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday
1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday