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Libraries booked with volunteers

Laura Sturza

With a boom in library use that library officials attribute to a

down economy and the interest generated by the new Buena Vista Branch

Library -- Burbank librarians can use all of the help they can get.

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Volunteers assist the city’s busy staff with duties that include

mending damaged books, delivering books to the homebound,

fund-raising, signing people up to use the Internet and restocking

audio-visual items.

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“In the new building, we have three to four times the business

that we had in the old building,” said John Coultas, the supervisor

at the Buena Vista Branch Library. The library system’s other centers

are the Central Library and the Northwest Branch Library.

With the new library’s DVD collection increasing from 100 to 900

items, volunteers are helping to get the materials back on the

shelves more quickly so they can be checked out again, Coultas said.

Volunteer coordinator Naomi Aronoff said the 52 volunteers at the

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city’s three branches worked 3,500 hours in 2001 contributed the

equivalent of 87 weeks of full-time work.

Lillian Saunders, 86, starting volunteering at the Central Library

more than 15 years ago. She began by entering books by subject into

the computer and tutoring in the literacy program. Now she checks in

books that were delivered by other volunteers to homebound people.

“Since I retired, I want to be useful as well as enjoy myself,”

Saunders said. “I enjoy to be among books, and the contact with the

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other people who work at the library.”

Other library volunteer opportunities are available. The literacy

program pairs tutors with people seeking help with their reading

skills. People also assist with fund-raising activities through the

Friends of the Burbank Public Library, which runs the bookstore at

the Buena Vista Branch.

Through membership fees of $5 to $10 annually, book sales and

other contributions, the Friends group raises about $25,000 each

year, President Howard Rothenbach said. The group helps the library

pay for special programs and materials. They contributed $75,000 to

the new library for books, and $45,000 to pay for the tree that is

the centerpiece of the children’s room.

For more information about volunteering or joining the Friends of

the Burbank Public Library, call 238-5580.


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