Volunteer Spotlight: Karin, Conifer and Evergreen Library

JCPL's Volunteer of the Month for February 2024

Karin has loved reading since she was a little girl. She grew up in a family of readers, and she got a hard-bound book for Christmas every year.

"It was a big deal," Karin remembers. "I always started reading the book as soon as I got it."

Her favorite book she received for Christmas was "The Human Comedy." Marguerite Henry's stories about horses were always favorites as well.

When she grew up, Karin became a Montessori teacher and continued to share her love of literature with young readers. She had a classroom library and always looked forward to reading to her students after lunch. 

"Teaching kids how to read is really the gateway to everything else," Karin says. "The world is in a book."

In addition to broadening her horizons through reading, Karin is a world traveler and has visited (and lived!) in many different countries. She lived in England — in Claygate as a child and outside Cambridge later on with her husband and son — and in Switzerland shortly after marriage. Her husband traveled for work, so Karin had the opportunity to come along for the experience. Currently, Karin is taking a break from volunteering while on a trip to the Balkans and a boat expedition to the tip of South America!

Karin found her way to JCPL almost six years ago. She dabbles in just about everything she can while volunteering: pulling holds for patrons, organizing the donation room, shelving media, collections management, "Really anything they'll let me!" Karin laughs.  

"Karen has volunteered at both Evergreen and Conifer Libraries," Sandy, Confier and Evergreen's operations manager, says. "When we were short volunteers after COVID and needed help in the donation room, Karin took that task on as well, adding an extra day a week to her volunteer time at Evergreen. 

"We look forward to seeing Karin and always miss her when she isn't in: 'What? NO Karin??!!' is the cry from the Pages!" Sandy gushes. "She is always a joy to work with — a truly wonderful person!"

Working in the donation room can be hard work. On some days, there are hundreds of books to review and organize. 

"The hardest part of working in the donation room is having to throw away books that are too damaged," Karin laments.

But even when the work is difficult, Karin handles her volunteer tasks with skill, grace and humor. 

"Karin is reliable, professional and thorough. Most importantly, Karin is a joy to work with!" Barbara, a page at Evergreen, says. "Her sense of humor is sharp, and she makes pulling picks a blast! It's always a good day when Karin comes to volunteer!"

Karin keeps busy with plenty of other hobbies when she's not at JCPL or traveling. She is a talented knitter and spends lots of time with her rescue mutt, Shay. Since retiring, Karin has also made a hobby out of restaurant-style cooking for her husband, cooking elaborate meals nearly every day and rarely the same thing twice! She gets her inspiration from cookbooks she finds at JCPL and the "New York Times" cooking section.  

What does Karin read after a long volunteer shift? "Mostly mysteries and historical novels for entertainment," Karin says. "And I make myself read a nonfiction book once a month."

It keeps Karin knowledgeable, well-rounded and able to converse on just about any topic.

"Our dear volunteer, Karin, exudes warmth, compassion and wisdom," Natasha, a page at Evergreen, says. "We are very lucky to work alongside her!"

Thank you so much for your service to JCPL, Karin!