Volunteer Spotlight: Bernice, Columbine Library

JCPL's April 2022 Volunteer Spotlight

Bernice — also known as Bernie — has the unique distinction of being the Library's eldest volunteer.

In fact, she recently celebrated her 89th birthday in early April! She joined the Columbine Library team two years ago after moving to Colorado to care for her daughter and has been a fixture at the Library every Tuesday since. Bernie is the matriarch of her family, with 15 grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, and has delighted in seeing the younger members of the family grow up and start families of their own over the past few decades.

A key to Bernie's health and longevity is that she seeks out ways to keep her mind and body active. Her volunteer shift at the Library gives her something to look forward to each week (not to mention busy) and on her feet. Pushing carts, lifting books and reaching down to the lowest shelf is great exercise — Bernie's Library shift keeps her so active and limber that she gave up her gym membership after she began volunteering! Her weekly shift also gives her a great feeling of satisfaction and purpose, knowing that she is helping people, contributing to her community and supporting others' love of reading.

When she's not at the Library, Bernie volunteers at her church food pantry. Her religious beliefs have been an important influence throughout her life; in her younger days, she was the secretary at her church office and taught catechism for 50 years.

Bernie has many hobbies that fill up the remainder of her free time. Some of her favorite activities are knitting, gardening, completing crossword puzzles and, of course, reading! Bernie has been an avid reader for most of her life and estimates she's read nearly 100 books in the past six months. She relishes stories that place a compelling character in a real point in time — so naturally, historical fiction is her favorite genre. She widely reads both classic and modern works of historical fiction and has noticed a recent trend in fiction to experiment with unusual writing styles and unexpected endings. She was very surprised when she got to the end of a novel recently and had the option to "choose her own adventure" from multiple possible endings! Though she enjoys exploring different types of storytelling, she wryly notes that she prefers a more "traditional" style novel with a concrete beginning, middle and end.

Bernie marvels that libraries have come a long way since she was a child and is amazed at how many resources there are in a modern library. She is particularly impressed with the Columbine Library's expansive music and movie collection. With close to 50,000 materials checked out every month, Columbine is one of the busiest locations at JCPL. We rely on Bernie and over 30 of her fellow volunteers to help serve the huge community that uses this location. Thank you, Bernie, for your hard work and dedication to the Library!