Primary school library volunteers are ‘incredible’

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The Spruce Mountain Primary School library has a group of consistent, committed volunteers who are vital to library management. Kilee Lewis is seen being checked out by Terry Norris as Sophie Morton patiently awaits her turn. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

LIVERMORE — Spruce Mountain Primary School librarian Cheryl Mills has a volunteer crew that is consistent and committed.

“I believe it takes a village to raise a child and a great community to have good schools. We have that here at SMPS. The volunteers are vital to the management here in the library world,” Mills said.

When Livermore Elementary School went through the accreditation process years ago, more community involvement was recommended. Mills came up with the volunteer program then.

SMPS library volunteers Donna Groves and Pat Laverdiere talk with Ashlyn Toothaker Friday morning. Each weekday one volunteer assists Librarian Cheryl Mills. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

“These volunteers are incredible, unsung heroes. If someone can’t be here, a substitute is found. They build relationships with the students,” Mills said.

Through the years, the library’s volunteer program has suffered significant losses. Most recently, Mary Moulton moved to an assisted living facility in Auburn.

Each day of the week a different volunteer spends two to three hours in the library. The volunteers fix minor damages on returned books and check for extra papers or bookmarks. They check out books and also help decorate the library.

“We change what’s in the doorway with each season to make it more inviting,” Pat Laverdiere said.

SMPS Librarian Cheryl Mills has a dedicated crew of volunteers who come in each morning to help shelve return books, check out new books and decorate the library for the current season. From left Donna Groves, Gail Laverdiere and Pat Laverdiere check books for papers, bookmarks and needed repairs prior to putting them back on the shelf. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

She is a retired teacher who taught in a neighboring school district. Her children attended SAD 36 schools.

“I always wanted to volunteer, do things in their schools but I had other commitments. After I retired I got the chance to volunteer,” Pat Laverdiere said.

She has volunteered for 12-13 years. She did take some time off in the early 2000s.

Pat’s sister-in-law Gail Laverdiere has been volunteering for seven years after Pat finally convinced her.

“Pat told me I needed something to do. Seeing the kids. Oh my gosh! Being in the banking business, I never knew what it was to be a teacher,” Gail Laverdiere said.

Each morning at the SMPS in Livermore, a volunteer can be found helping in the library. Betty Wilkins is seen helping Lance Cunningham. (Pam Harnden/Livermore Falls Advertiser)

This is Betty Wilkins’ third year volunteering at SMPS. She started at the Livermore Falls Primary School working in the Book Nook in the late 1980s and was librarian at the Livermore Falls Middle School for two years.

“When my granddaughter started school here in 2015 I got involved. It’s just fun being around the kids,” she said.

Terry Norris has been at the school since it opened and her daughter, who is now 23, went to school here.

“It’s just amazing to watch Cheryl with the kids, promoting literacy. She’s an inspiration,” Norris said. “I love to hear Cheryl read a story.”

This is Donna Groves’ fifth year volunteering after retiring in 2014. It’s been wonderful.

“When you’re working, you can’t always volunteer. Working here is a great way to give back to the community,” she said.

“If everyone would take a turn volunteering, what a better world it would be,” Pat Laverdiere said.

“I can’t convey enough how truly blessed I am to have such an amazing group of volunteers,” Mills said.

pharnden@sunmediagroup.net