Volunteer Spotlight: Donna, Arvada Library

JCPL's Volunteer of the Month for January 2023

The Library has been an important space in the lives of many of our volunteers — but possibly none more so than Donna! Donna dedicated her career to literacy as a teacher librarian for elementary schools, spending 31 years in the service of libraries before retiring. She is a staunch believer that reading is the most foundational skill and opens up all the other doors of learning. Working with young kids, Donna loved watching the sequence of learning as their reading skills developed throughout their time at school. She relished teaching kids how to do research and find primary sources of information — and marvels at how much has changed since the days of the card catalog.

Despite a long and busy career, Donna reflects that raising kids was the most difficult yet rewarding thing in her life. She is proud and delighted that her two daughters love the library as adults and have grown up to share her passion for reading.

After she retired seven years ago, Donna quickly realized she wanted to keep her mind active and found herself drawn to JCPL. As a volunteer at the Arvada Library, Donna spends most of her time in the saleroom, where she takes charge of organizing and displaying donated books for purchase. Volunteering in one space for so long, Donna has been able to take a lot of ownership in the saleroom and has a great sense of pride in her work.
"Overachiever" is one word you might use to describe Donna — she is always seeking to identify trends in book sales to make each year more successful than the last! This role has also been a great opportunity for Donna to broaden her horizons in adult literature after working with children's books and media for so long. She has discovered many new favorite authors digging through the book sale stock and admits that cozy mysteries are her go-to guilty pleasure.

"It's like Christmas — you never know what you're going to get!" Donna laughs, thinking of the thrill of each new find.

Staff at Arvada are so appreciative of Donna's efforts in the saleroom.

"Our saleroom always looks great! Some patrons come in just to check out what's new or make it a regular part of their library visits. She's organized the shelves in genres for quick browsing. She even saves materials, especially for the December holidays, so people have some inexpensive gift options available," gushes Erin, operations manager at the Arvada Library.

Donna also volunteers at the Arvada Center for the Arts as the volunteer house manager and thrives on the challenge of working in a leadership role. As if that weren't enough, she also volunteers at her church. Retirement clearly doesn't mean resting for Donna!

One of Donna's primary hobbies is travel. She and her husband took their first extended trip in 1984 and spent four weeks abroad — in a time long before cell phones and laptops! Back then, Donna would tear out the pages she needed from the travel guidebook to make room in her suitcase. That first trip got her hooked, and since then, she's made a personal goal to plan at least two trips (one international and one domestic) per year. She recently returned from Europe, where she took a river cruise from Amsterdam to Budapest. A few months before that, she traveled to Alaska to see the untouched natural beauty of our most northern state. Donna reflects that travel has broadened her horizons, made her much more flexible and encouraged her to adopt a more holistic and open-minded view of the world.

In addition to traveling and volunteering, Donna facilitates a book club, where she gets to explore even more genres and authors. She also knits, crochets, sews, scrapbooks and spends time with her shy but loving cat, Luna. We are lucky to have a volunteer with so many talents on our team — thank you so much, Donna!