Volunteer Spotlight

Volunteers play vital roles in helping the Library further its mission of building an educated and vibrant community through access to information and opportunities.  Each month we introduce you to and highlight the work of one of these generous individuals.

Meet Dale Bussman

Dale Bussman, a twice-a-week volunteer at JCPL’s Library Service Center, wasn’t much of a reader as a kid.  A native of Cleveland, Ohio, Dale grew up blocks away from his neighborhood library, but remembers visiting the place only once as a child.  That fact alone makes it seem unlikely that Dale would have become such a dedicated library volunteer.

“It wasn’t until much later in life that I became a reader,” Dale reminisced.

In 1977, Dale’s family moved to the Denver area for an engineering job, where he and his wife Mycki have remained ever since. 

“One year my wife and I went on vacation to a resort called Tall Timber in southwest Colorado.  There were no phones, and no television.  However, there WAS a library with about 1,000 books – most of them brand new.  That’s when I discovered the joy of reading.”

Dale has volunteered on Mondays and Wednesdays at the Library Service Center for the past 6 years.  He handles a variety of tasks such as shredding, sorting Interlibrary Loan requests, opening and dispatching the mail, and packing up library materials for mailing to remote patrons or to their owning libraries. 

“What I like best about volunteering is being part of an organization that is so vital to the community.  This place is fantastic.  It’s amazing all the materials that go through here.  The library brings a tremendous value to the county,” Dale said.  “And then, of course, there are really nice people here.  They’re so good to me.”

Dale and Mycki currently live at the Brookdale Meridian near Lakewood Library and both are deeply involved in the library business, as it turns out.  Unlike Dale, Mycki has always been an avid reader.  She serves as the Meridian librarian, shelving, organizing, selecting and weeding the facility’s library collection, much of which is donated by the Jefferson County Library Foundation.

“If it weren’t for the library we’d have gone broke a long time ago from buying books.”

Volunteering is not new to Dale.  He volunteered for Lutheran Hospital for many years before moving on to the library.  Moreover, as a long-time teacher, Dale volunteered for many years for the Jeffco jail, teaching Algebra to incarcerated young men studying for their GEDs.

While Dale’s eyesight is failing, he continues to read with the help of an optical reader and talking books from the Library of Congress.  In his spare time, he also enjoys playing Bridge. 

When asked if he had any plans to “retire” from volunteering with the library, he shook his head and stated emphatically, “I will continue here as long as I can.”