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Volunteering Becomes a Thursday Tradition

On July 11th, the Allen County Public Library recognized Connie Blanton for 5,000 hours of volunteer service.

Connie outside the downtown library

Connie began volunteering in 1982.  She is a reader of non-fiction, loves to travel, enjoys local productions, and has artistic talent.  She loves basketball and football, and has an adventure story to tell every time she returns from the Indy 500.  Connie enjoys being with fellow volunteers and interacting with the library staff.

Connie became known as one of the ‘Fabulous Four’ who received the library’s 1989 Volunteer of the Year award.  Here is an excerpt from the Allen County Public Library newsletter, July 1990:

“A ‘Fabulous Foursome’ shares the title of our 1989 Volunteer of the Year.  Connie Blanton, Marilyn Hudson, Zo Matson, and De Ette Rondot, affectionately known as the ‘Fabulous Four’, received this award at Volunteer Recognition Day, May 19.  The four met at the library during one of the very first book sales, did follow-up work on the master shelf list together, and decided that they enjoyed working together so much that all their library volunteer time would be as a team.  During 1989, this team decided to become part of our labeling and linking project that will boost ACPL into the automated age.”

As time went on this group expanded, changed members, and became known as the ‘Thursday Group’ as described in this excerpt from the Fort Wayne News Sentinel, Wednesday, March 30, 2005:

“The women known as the ‘Thursday Group’ at the Allen County Public Library have volunteered there for years.  While the group has grown and changed members over time, their reasons for staying involved have not: a shared love for books and finding friends in unexpected places.   The original volunteers, Connie Blanton and Zo Matson, have been faithful attendees since fall of 1982.  They met after signing up to volunteer for the same week.  Blanton originally came in on Tuesdays until, one day, a commitment caused her to switch to Thursday.  She liked it so well, she decided to change permanently.  She and Matson found they had a lot in common and have been friends ever since.”

Library volunteers work on many projects from putting pockets in books to discarding books.   In the summer of 2010 they had a special storage weeding project in which they discarded over 70,000 items in 3 months.

The ‘Thursday Group’ always takes time for lunch in which they are joined by some library staff members that have built great friendships with the volunteers.  They enjoy sharing stories of travel, activities, and family.  All of the volunteers enjoy traveling and it has become a tradition around the table to bring back a small gift for everyone in the group.  Over the years travel trinkets have included pens, bookmarks, tea, candy, refrigerator magnets, note pads, and other things – a small sharing of a travel adventure that always includes a good story for an eager audience.

thursday volunteers

Pictured above are some of the volunteers who work on Thursdays.  From left to right are Connie, Zo, Kate, Corene, and Barb.

There are many volunteers that have been serving the Allen County Public Library for many years and accomplishing many tasks.  The library understands how valuable free time is and truly appreciates the generosity of all our  volunteers.  If you are interested in volunteering with us, check out our current opportunities online and fill out an application.

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