For every workshop, class, story time, and bookshelf you see at Nashville Public Library, there are two sets of hands at work. One belongs to a Nashville Public Library employee. The other belongs to one of the library’s volunteers.
In 2018, NPL’s volunteers gave 23,205 hours of public service. In fact, while the library employs about 300 people, its volunteer force is even larger: 400-plus.
Additionally, since 2012, 98 students from 37 academic institutions have served as library interns in all parts of the organization—everything from interior design to rare film footage conservation.
That’s a village of volunteers, united in service to their public library and their community.
That’s eight hundred plus hands, working alongside NPL’s staff and library users.
That’s what we call library love.
Meet Myra LeBendig: 2018 Volunteer of the Year
Myra serves at Southeast Branch Library, where she helps out with day-to-day library needs ranging from shelving books to interacting with patrons. She became a library volunteer five months after the Southeast location opened.
LeBendig’s experience as a retired teacher brought value to her volunteerism, said Emily Sue Laird, volunteer leader at the Southeast branch library.
“I was originally placed in the Children’s section and have loved the librarians’ enthusiasm and creativity and addressing identified patrons’ needs. Who wouldn’t want to contribute to that? Whether shelving, setting up, or assisting during a program, the best moments are seeing enthusiasm in the children’s (and adults’) faces, and seeing my neighbors in our greater community!”
“Myra is a retired teacher with forty-plus years’ experience working in California public schools. She is always punctual, communicative, courteous, hard-working, and great to talk to,” Laird said.
“She not only does a fantastic job shelving books, organizing, and cleaning around the library, but is also a great listener who always has time to chat with patrons and staff in a friendly, professional, and empathetic manner.”
Meet Melina Nguyen: 2018 Teen Volunteer of the Year
Melina volunteers at NPL’s Bordeaux branch library.
“I admire Melina because she is so driven in all that she does. She goes the extra mile in her studies, as well as volunteering. She is very passionate about everything she does,” said Jill Trent, former volunteer leader at Bordeaux.
“Melina is such a great advocate for the library that she even got her sister Lindy to volunteer. They are both very sweet young ladies and hard workers. They volunteer on a regular basis, and they both do everything with a smile. Melina is definitely amazing!”
Nashville Public Library appreciates all the volunteers who contribute their time and talents here. Their love—for people, for education, for community—makes our library remarkable.
For Kathy and Phil Doss, Libraries and Love are Intertwined
After a mutual friend realized Kathy and Phil both enjoyed similar book interests, she set the two of them up.
Thirty years later, Kathy and Phil are still together. They’re also lifelong library users and advocates.
Before Phil retired, he and Kathy would ride downtown together on her volunteer days. He’d go to work, she’d go to the Main Library, and they’d meet for lunch in the Robinson Courtyard on the second floor.
Kathy and Phil still love to wander around the library’s book shelves, especially in the Special Collections division downtown.
For this couple, “the library is a great place to just be.”
Yes, love makes a library. And sometimes, libraries help make a love story.