Volunteer Spotlight: Dianne, Golden Library

August 2022's Volunteer Spotlight

The Golden Library has seen many changes since Dianne first set foot inside as a patron in the early '90s. As she recalls, back in those days, the Library only had a few computers, and they were in the front while the children's area was at the back of the Library — often causing mayhem when parents tried to quickly usher their kids past the computers without touching them or disturbing someone doing internet research!

Encouraging young inquiring minds was one of Dianne's passions in her work life. For many years, she worked in the Denver Museum of Nature and Science health education program, teaching elementary schoolers about the body — even helping them navigate their first dissection projects to learn how organ systems work. After leaving childhood education, Dianne continued to teach but switched to helping adult learners practice English as a second language. She fondly remembers her years teaching ESL, reminiscing about how eager her students were to learn and grow their vocabulary.

As a lifelong teacher and learner, volunteering at the Library was a natural fit for Dianne after retirement. She has been with JCPL for over eight years, helping with shelving, pulling holds, checking the holds shelves for errors, organizing the magazines by date and so much more.

Not that things have always been easy. Dianne first proved her adaptability and endurance during Golden's remodel in 2015. Joyce, Golden's patron experience supervisor, recalls, "Golden staff worked from the bookmobile and a pod in the library parking lot. Dianne spent her volunteer time transferring delivered holds into the temporary shelving in the tiny pod. Our patrons would walk up (often with their dogs… yes!), and she would hand them their items in the rain, hail and scorching sun. It was a time of challenge but great camaraderie, and we sometimes reminisce about how we really enjoyed our time by the creek."

Times of challenge invigorate Dianne — and she looks back proudly on how the Library was able to adapt to COVID, starting with curbside services and finally reopening the building.

"People were so happy to be able to come to the Library again," Dianne remembers. "Being able to help someone find a book is like finding gold." Adding that part of what has made her time at the Library so enjoyable is the relationships she has built with staff, especially two of Golden's managers, Jonathan and Joyce.

"Jonathan always thanks me for my time and is a very positive influence and role model for the pages and staff at the Golden Library. I would say the same about Joyce. Her enthusiasm and passion for serving the patrons are evident in everything she does. They both work every day to achieve the Library's mission and vision."

The Library is a major connection point for the Golden community, and Dianne loves seeing how people in the neighborhood use the Library — watching parents read to their kids, seeing friends and regulars come in for book recommendations and, occasionally, helping a new patron on their very first visit to the Library. These first-time visits are extra special to Dianne, and she always takes the extra time to show new patrons how the Library works and what services are available. Dianne remembers her own first experiences going to a library growing up in a small town in Nebraska. It was set up in an old church that still had a working organ, and she wistfully remembers how Clara, the sole librarian (who Dianne remembers must have been at least 100 years old), would let her play the organ when no one else was around. She found her piano skills didn't translate well to a new instrument — but she had fun trying all the same!

Dianne also volunteers at the Christian Action Guild — giving back to the community is a big priority for her — and she keeps busy by taking long walks with her terrier, Cooper, reading (historical fiction, mystery and nonfiction are her favorite genres) and gardening. One of her other favorite hobbies is cooking.

"I love cooking foods from all different countries," Dianne says. "Growing up eating mostly Scandinavian food, I had no idea how tasty other foods could be! I especially like experimenting with new Mediterranean and Indian recipes; the spicier, the better! The Library continues to update its cookbook collection, so the options are wonderful."

We are so grateful for Dianne's reliable, warm and friendly help over the past eight years. "Thank goodness for her presence in our little Golden Library," Joyce concludes. "We should try to clone her!"