2010 Winner of the DCLS Dottie & Henry Swartz Volunteer Excellence Award
Joyce Grubb volunteers for the Dauphin County Library System (DCLS) at the Marion C. and William H. Alexander Family Library in Hummelstown. She learned the value of volunteering from her father, a professional banker who volunteered at church and the Salvation Army, and stressed that “you give back to the community!” She inherited her love of reading from her mother a teacher and avid reader who would suggest books she read based on “good vocabulary”. Joyce remembers walking a mile home from the local library with books tucked under her chin and stacked as high as her arms were long. And she remembers the thrill of being allowed to select from the “adult” collection for the first time when she was thirteen. Rex Stout was one of her first favorite characters and Robert Parker now rules as her favorite author. Joyce is literally a walking reference for murder mysteries and detective series authors; her list is not only long, but also culturally diverse. “We’re teachers “ Joyce said referring to her extended maternal family –“ my mother, aunts, uncles, cousins, my sister, and my daughter have all chosen that profession. I taught before I started a family. My background provides me with the knowledge of books, and I read extensively. I keep up with book lists of even my non-favorite genres, and can share particulars even if I will never read it myself. ”
A community volunteer most of her life Joyce began volunteering with DCLS at the Library on Johns Street in Hummelstown in 2006. When her children were young she served at the Elizabethtown Library until it moved downtown, and she served the Hershey Public Library in the days that parents did story times. Her first opportunity at DCLS was re-shelving books when she returned her borrowed items in the evening. She volunteered for three different Library Managers and always enjoys helping new staff become familiar with the Collection. “There are a great many new corners now, and sub-divisions to make the Collection more patron friendly. At the old location, you usually bumped into whatever you were looking for!”
When asked, “Why DCLS?” Joyce replied “I like the people. Everyone is friendly, and forgiving if you make a mistake. Not just here but at the other libraries, too. I help whenever I can. Most of my childhood was spent in basement libraries so the previous location was very familiar. But I think the new Alexander library is simply beautiful! I do wish I was consulted when the new library shelving was designed - I’m short and the tall (adult area) shelves are out of my reach! So I use the step stools frequently .”
Joyce can be found at the Alexander Family Library two or three days every week. “They always were kind and let me come in whenever I could. And I’d stay for four or five hours. I appreciate the flexibility I’m allowed. I know that is not a common practice. ” Joyce frequents not only Dauphin County libraries, but also patronizes regional libraries. She secretly admits to straightening book shelves whenever she visits a Library. “I can’t help it!” Ellen Miller, Youth Services Librarian at AFL who submitted the nomination, wrote “Joyce’s dedication and dependability are rare in this day and age. Joyce has the ability to see at a glance what needs to be done first and to tackle it immediately. She stays aware of planning, and knows when the staff plans to shift or weed sections of the Collection.” DCLS Management was aware of her volunteerism during the move to the new location in July 2010. “Joyce is a wonderful choice! She was instrumental in the successful opening of the new library” said Lew Maurer, Public Services Administrator.
“ I can tell when I have not been here in awhile.” Joyce states humbly. “Things get scrambled. I like to finish the task at hand, and I try to leave the collection in better shape than I found it. Sometimes we are tempted to address just the one small part we came to do, but I think the big picture is important. It may take longer, but it all looks better. I admire straightened edges.”
Joyce Grubb of Elizabethtown, Dauphin County, is truly a rarity and well deserving of the 2010 Dottie and Henry Swartz Volunteer Excellence Award from the Dauphin County Library System.
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