Volunteer Support Surges at Regional Libraries

St. Cloud, MN – April 2013: Volunteer support surged at Great River Regional Library during 2012, with increases in total volunteers and total hours of service.

The library system’s volunteer base increased from approximately 550 to 670 individuals. In addition, at least three volunteer groups who assisted on special projects. Together, they provided 19,657.5 hours of service at the library’s 32 locations. This is an increase of approximately 3,250 hours over the 2011 total.

The increase can be attributed to several factors, according to library Human Resources Coordinator Sunny Hesse, who oversees the volunteer program. “We’ve introduced some new procedures, which I think may be causing more accurate reporting of volunteer hours. We’ve increased our attention to volunteer recognition, which we hope is acting as an incentive and reward for volunteer service. And, there were major projects going on at some of our libraries that called for increased volunteer participation.”

Whatever the reason, Hesse said, the library welcomes volunteers. They can improve the library experience for others and help connect the library to its community. “When volunteers see what it takes for the library to function effectively, they are likely to become advocates for library services,” she said. “And we have many volunteers who find library service to be personally rewarding.”

The volunteer experience varies from branch to branch. In 2012, volunteers helped the Albany branch with renovations and the Clearwater branch to move into new premises. Volunteers have painted murals, presented storytimes, watered plants, put books back on the shelf and helped in many other ways. The largest contribution of hours by an individual in 2012 was 701.

People interested in volunteering at Great River Regional Library should contact their local library branch manager. They may also visit the library’s website at griver.org where they can link to volunteer information and an application form at “Support The Library.”

Great River Regional Library (GRRL) provides library services at 32 public libraries in Benton, Morrison, Sherburne, Stearns, Todd and Wright Counties. It provides Central Minnesota residents with nearly 1 million books, CDs and DVDs, 250 public computers, programming and information services.