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Library honors volunteers, supporters
library awards
Josephine House was named one of the Stanislaus County Library’s Shining Stars for her numerous hours of volunteer work at the Turlock Library (Photo contributed).

The Stanislaus County library system wouldn’t be able to provide the variety of services to the various communities if it wasn’t for a network of volunteers and organizations giving of their time and resources. The library sought to recognize these individuals with their annual Shining Star awards ceremony on Saturday.

The Shining Star Awards were established in 2004 to honor individuals, businesses, organizations, and Friends of the Library members for their exemplary support of our libraries.
“The awards go to those who perform tasks voluntarily, such as, working with the children’s librarian during programs, sorting books, campaigning for the library tax measure, serving as an officer in the Friends of the Library groups, contributing dollars to sustain our summer reading programs, and much more,” said Jane Manley, president of the Stanislaus Library Foundation.

Congressman Josh Harder was at the ceremony at the Salida branch to personally thank the volunteers for their “tremendous dedication” to the library and the patrons. Harder said library volunteers played a major role in his early education.

“When I was young, I was a late bloomer in reading,” Harder said. “I didn’t read confidently until the end of the second grade, beginning of third grade. I would go to the Turlock Library and some of the folks that made a huge impact on my life were the volunteers. They would help me pick out the books that were appropriate and helped me get really excited about reading.”

This year’s honorees including a Turlock woman and a local church.

Josephine House has been a volunteer at the Turlock Library for 10 years, dedicating four hours each week to processing discarded books so they can be sold or recycled.  Her hard work and regular schedule keep the book sale inventory moving.

In her nomination, House was praised for being a “busy bee” who was always “positive, friendly, focused and punctual.”

The Friends of the Turlock Public Library nominated First United Methodist Church for their years of support for the annual book sale. For almost 15 years, the Friends of the Turlock Public Library has utilized the church social hall for its annual book sale, where thousands of dollars are raised for library expenses not covered by the county budget.  The book sale project has received support from church ministers, staff, council and congregation.

In their nomination of the church, the Friends group praised the church for its unbelievably generous support.

“All these years, they have allowed us to occupy their largest room for several days in January or February, expecting nothing in return except a small payment for utilities and a modest amount for custodial services,” the Friends wrote in their nomination.

The church wasn’t able to attend the ceremony, but sent a letter of gratitude.

“Please accept our humble thanks for selecting First United Methodist Church as a recipient of the Shining Star award,” wrote Susanne Loetz on behalf of the church. “We are proud to support the important work of the community by providing space to organizations such as the Friends of the Library to support their endeavors.

“It has been our pleasure and our honor to have partnered with you these past years in facilitating your book sale,” Loetz wrote.

Other Shining Star winners were:

— Dallas and Garrard Marsh for providing financial assistance and bowling vouchers as Summer Reading Challenge incentives.  They supported tax measures to maintain funding by donating during the election cycle, hosting campaign events, and taking active roles in the steering committees.  They also are longtime generous financial supporters of the Friends of the Modesto Library.

— Mayra Castellanos can be counted on to fulfill her duties as a volunteer at the Riverbank library twice a week on a regular schedule. One of her most recent tasks was to methodically go through every picture book in the children’s collection looking for rips and stains. With her help, repairs were made and books replaced as needed.

— Kent and Ginger Johnson have opened their beautiful home and garden as the venue for the Stanislaus Library Foundation’s Annual Authors’ Garden Gala for numerous years.

— Alfred Matthews Buick GMC Cadillac
— Holly and Paul Caron brought their company to Friends of the Modesto Library as a sponsor.  They made it possible for the Friends to host a Summer Reading Challenge Movie Night for participants and other events and programs that benefit the Modesto Library.  The Carons have set a great example for other business owners to follow their lead.

“Our local libraries are a place to let children’s imaginations soar. Visiting the library and taking books home … teaches them to discover new worlds and dream of the future,” said Holly Caron.

— Richard Gilton, of Gilton Solid Waste Management has aided the Friends of the Oakdale Library annual book sale for several years by providing a dumpster for free. Since 2016, he has given them a warehouse to store books. This provided a clean, dry and safe storage area throughout the year, with access for them to drop off more books or take inventory.  An employee even helped move books a time or two.