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Photos by Rachelle Klemme Library volunteers help themselves to coffee and snacks after hours Monday. From left: Clara Bauer, Karen Wallgren, Nelly Wegscheid and Don Niles.

Library volunteers wear many hats

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Wadena, 56482
Wadena PJ
(218) 631-1621 customer support
Wadena Minnesota 314 S. Jefferson, P.O. Box 31 56482

Several library volunteers were honored at Wadena City Library's first recognition event Monday, and branch manager Renee Frethem said there is always room for more helpers.

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Volunteers put in around 12 hours per week in the building, not including any research they may do at home, she said.

Library assistant Laura Spilman said volunteers do a variety of tasks, which include assisting with storytime, keeping shelves organized and helping out with other behind-the-scenes work.

"It kind of depends on what their abilities and strengths are, where they want to work," she said.

These behind-the-scenes library enthusiasts are led by the Rev. Cheri Danielson, who started in 2011.

"I love libraries. I think they are a very important part of the community," she said.

Danielson added that she took the coordinator position after surviving a bout with cancer. She was not ready to return to full-time pastoral work, but still wanted to be involved in the community.

Along with Danielson is volunteer Nelly Wegscheid, who has collected statistics and is working in the garden area, where a space will be designed in memory of Opal Forsell.

Frethem said Forsell was a librarian her entire working life, a regional library board member, a Wadena city library board member and part of Friends of the Library.

Another volunteer, Leanne Ries, holds storytime, which involves background research and organizing, as well as reading to kids.

Additionally, Barb Thoennes assists Ries with storytelling, and also specializes in craft projects.

Keeping the library organized is another necessary effort.

Ruby Lynk works with in-house cataloguing, DVD selection, cleaning and shelving, while Karen Wallgren makes sure books are in correct alphabetical or Dewey Decimal order, so patrons can actually find them.

Trina Roggenkamp just started volunteering, and was not present at the gathering. But Danielson said she will probably work on "adopt-a-shelf."

Other volunteers bring materials to patrons who can't access the library building. That is where Clara Bauer and Mike Snyder come in to assist with home delivery.

Don Niles, Wadena City Library board member and vice chair of the Kitchigami library board, was also present at the volunteer recognition event.

Niles and Frethem agree the Wadena city library has one of the highest circulation rates in the Kitchigami system, and there is more work than paid staff can do on their own.

Frethem also said library leaders are always looking for more volunteers, especially with "adopt-a-shelf", a program where each volunteer is to be in charge of keeping a shelf in order.

With school over, the library crew is also looking for volunteers to help with the summer library program.

The library can be contacted at 218-631-2476.

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