Provo Library offers close volunteer opportunities

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    By Kristina Whitley

    The Provo library has dozens of volunteer programs, working with all kinds of different people.

    One program, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, is targeted specifically for people 55 and over, who are needed to read stories to kids and act as pseudo-grandparents.

    Another program works through the Children”s department, reading to and helping kids during storytime.

    “There are all kinds of service opportunities,” said Sue E. Peterson, Volunteers and Tours Coordinator for the Provo library. “We can fit any time and schedule.”

    Indeed they do.

    Every Monday from 6-9 p.m., library patrons are greeted at the Welcome Desk by Ned Campbell, a Provo resident who volunteers there for what he calls “repentance.”

    Campbell (“like the soup”) said he opposed the new library, even though Provo Mayor Lewis Billings is his first cousin and once served as his stake president.

    “I thought my taxes were gonna go up,” Campbell said. “But they didn”t, so I repented.”

    Now Campbell answers library questions three hours a week and spends the rest of his time owning and managing his company in West Jordan, Salt Lake County, fulfilling a busy church calling and keeping up with his family.

    Ann Darrington, who graduated with a degree in English from BYU in December 2000, works part-time as the office manager at Project Read, one of the volunteer-based programs that functions out of the library.

    Volunteers at Project Read tutor adults who need considerable help with literacy skills – reading and writing.

    “If there”s an adult and they”ve gotten to the point of an adult and they still need help reading and writing, that must be pretty urgent,” Darrington said.

    Darrington began as a volunteer with Project Read shortly after she graduated. One of her first students was a native Spanish speaker, who utilized the program to improve his English.

    “It was a challenge because he had to support himself and work a lot and at the same time, he was trying to better himself to learn English,” she said.

    With Darrington”s help and considerable hard work on the part of the student, his English literacy skills went up dramatically.

    “It”s really rewarding,” Darrington said. “They feel better about themselves and are doing better because of it.”

    To contact Project Read, call Ann Darrington or Shauna Brown at 852-6654. For Sue Peterson, Provo library volunteer coordinator, call 852-7651.

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