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For Christmas, give the gift of time

Friends of the Lincoln library column
By: Lora Finnegan Special to The News Messenger
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Call me old-fashioned but I’ve always thought that the best gift is free — the gift of time. Gifts such as a friend coming over to help get that gi-normous granite boulder out of my garden so I can plant my rosebush; an afternoon with my sister for a walk around the pond; a little programming help from my niece’s husband (who spent half an hour setting various preferences on my phone). Those, to me, are wonderful gifts to receive. And one of the best gifts to give is time, whether you’re helping out a relative in need of a hand or lending assistance to your own town. Volunteering is a great way to connect with your community and both the Friends of the Lincoln Library (FOLL) and Lincoln Public Library at Twelve Bridges itself offer different ways to volunteer. What’s involved? Friends volunteers help sort, cover and stack books in preparation for our regular booksales or pass out fliers. The Friends also needs help at each sale, from carrying books to the car for patrons to manning the cash box. If you have specialized skills, such as in design, writing grant applications, using programs like Excel, or crafting a budget, we can use you. And there are a myriad of other chores for which the Friends could use your help. We train each volunteer and it doesn’t matter whether you want to come in on a set schedule or simply drop in when you have time. To volunteer for the Friends, call 434-2404. Inside the library, volunteers are needed (including members of the Friends) to do all kinds of jobs, from sorting and re-shelving books to tidying up the children’s books, to tutoring. And the library will train you. “I like the diversity of our volunteers,” said staffer Jill Loya, “and all their different gifts and talents are appreciated.” Jill said she can always use help with the summer reading and crafts programs, as well as with tutoring. Pearl Chang has been a volunteer tutor in the library’s Homework Help Center for four years. “I enjoy interacting with each child,” Pearl said, “and seeing them grow and improve.” Volunteer Sandra Thompson helped get the tutoring program going because, “I have four kids and I know about homework!” she said with a laugh. More volunteers to tutor there (especially those with math skills) are needed. Help Now, an interactive Internet software program (funded by the Friends) is also available for use at the library or on the student’s home computers. The Homework Help Center is open from 3 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. To volunteer for the library, call 434-2410, extension 6014. As the holiday approaches, consider giving the gift of your time. It’s an easy and immediate way of helping the Lincoln community. And the rewards you may get from volunteering with the Friends or with the Library are many. Of course, there’s the good feeling you get from selflessly helping others. But you may also find that you’ll learn a bit more about Lincoln, pass your skills on to others, even make some new friends. What’s certain is you’ll be a valued member of our team. Calendar notes Renae Mahaffey, library coordinator, tells us that the library will be closed for the holidays from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2. Any books due that week will default to a due date of Jan. 3. The Friends’ next major book sale is Jan. 14 (10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) with an Antique and Vintage Booksale on Jan. 21 (1 to 4 p.m.). Book donations are key to The Friend’s successful programs. When the library is open, bring donations to the service entrance of the Lincoln Public Library at Twelve Bridges, ring the bell and a volunteer will come out to help you. This column is part of a Friends of the Lincoln Library series. Have a question? Contact the Friends at 434-2404, at http://www.friendsofthelincolncalibrary.org or e-mail FOLL@live.com. Lora Finnegan is a Friends of the Lincoln Library member. This column may or may not necessarily express the opinions of The Lincoln News Messenger.