Volunteers revamp library

By Ryn Gargulinski: QCS

The proverbial librarian who hushes the masses may have pulled her hair out at all the noise Saturday in the library at the Pioneer Senior Center.

But the noise wasn’t a bunch of kids wreaking havoc or belittling Shakespeare, it came from the Altrusa club and area volunteers who were revamping the place in honor of Make a Difference Day.

This nationwide effort was started 15 years ago by USA Weekend magazine, and Altrusa has long been jumping on its annual bandwagon.

This year’s project, headed by Linda Donwerth and the club’s literacy committee, included painting and primping and scrubbing – not to mention adding furniture, sold at a discount to Altrusa from Jennings’ Furniture Co., and hundreds of books donated by Dr. David Lazarus.

“It was really pretty sad,” said senior center regular Ricci Johnson of the previous state of the library. “I’m a reader. I used to get in trouble in high school when my mom would find me reading at night under the covers with a flashlight. I like to read almost anything except sci-fi – and there was nothing I wanted to read in there.”

Johnson was adding to the efforts of Donwerth, Altrusa President Glenda Reid, Barbara Cherry, Bernie Dodson, Catherine Bugg, Millie Compas, Jeanne Tipton and Deb Sloan – some of whom were even doing windows.

“When it came through that the library was going to be redone, the seniors were tickled,” said Pioneer Site Manager Patti Smith.

Although Smith said the library project is clearly making a difference for Pioneer, and they are approved to receive several new appliances from government funds, there is still much work to be done for the center. Smith said their kitchen is in bad need of an overhaul and parts of the roof leak.

Of course, Altrusa can’t do it all – although it seems as if they try to. Some of their past Make a Difference projects have included donations of art literacy books and a Georgia O’Keefe picture to the elementary school’s art program, give-aways and a dress-up parade for students, and counseling services for those affected by Sept. 11.

Donwerth said some of Altrusa’s ongoing literacy endeavors include their Happy Birthday Six-Year-Old program where they give away books to preschoolers, their baby book giveaways for the mothers of newborns, the summer reading program and a celebration in honor of Dr. Seuss held every March for his birthday.

Donwerth also mentioned a recent scholarship made available for Quay County teachers to use towards a literacy project. She said seven area teachers who met the criteria will be receiving $50 each sometime this week.