PITTSTON - Supporters of the Pittston Memorial Library gathered April 8 at Cooper’s Waterfront for the 12th annual Jean Yates award dinner, honoring two long-time volunteers and celebrating the continuing success of the library and its programs.
Honoree Kelly Carroll, wife of State Representative Mike Carroll, took the podium saying she is much more comfortable with a spot behind the scenes than in front of a crowd of about 120 people.
Still, Carroll took opportunity to not only graciously receive the award for 10 years of volunteer service, much of it in a fundraising capacity, but to encourage others to volunteer at both the library and at other worthy organizations throughout the community.
“Next time you volunteer, bring a friend with you,” she said. “Our community needs volunteers. Let’s keep the momentum going.”
Ann Noone, also an honoree, addressed those gathered, expressing gratitude not only for the award, but for the relationships her 16 years of service to the community have afforded her.
Noone recalled an elderly patron who, as he checked out several books, said, “reading is my greatest joy.”
Noone has served as secretary of both the Board of Trustees and the Friends of the Library during her tenure as a volunteer, with several presenters crediting her with great attention to detail and commitment to her library duties.
Noone summed up her feelings about the library quoting Laura Bush, “Libraries offer, for free, the wisdom of the ages - and sages. Simply put, there’s something for everyone inside.”
Lois Ostrowski, president of the library’s Board of Trustees, emphasized the benefits of the recent expansion of the children’s wing and its programs which she said serves everyone from infants to teenagers and beyond, providing resources for parents.
Carroll recalled her first visit to the library many years ago, with her three pre-school children in tow.
“As you know, I’m really bad with directions,” she said. “But, when I finally found the library, we thoroughly enjoyed story time and checked out several books.”
Still, Carroll noted the scope of the library has grown in leaps and bounds since the first day she set foot in it, with many programs providing opportunities to those of all ages.
“If my kids would have had opportunity to participate in programs that are in place at the library today on that first day,” she said, “they would have never wanted to leave.”
Msgr. John Bendick, who offered both the invocation and the benediction, attended the event to celebrate the honorees and the services the library provides to the community.
“When we were young, we didn’t even have TV,” he said. “Reading was so very important.”
Bendick, pastor at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, said the honorees are especially close to his heart because Noone is a long-time member of the parish and Carroll a volunteer at the church’s Care and Concern Clinic.
The event, which also serves as the kickoff of the library’s fundraising season, provided opportunity for staff, volunteers and supporters to get to know each other and spend time in a social setting.
Noelle Kozak, sitting with staff and volunteers, said, “This is a great time to spend time with each other and to truly honor volunteers. It builds a real sense of camaraderie.”
When Mike Carroll, representing his office and the office of State Senator John Yudichak, took to the podium presenting a citation to both his wife and Noone, he said, although many volunteers work quietly in the background, they make success possible.
“Volunteers such as Kelly and Anne make it possible for those who are in the public eye to do what they do,” he said.
As the evening wound down, Ostrowski reminded those gathered that this year’s library week’s theme was “to transform.”
Ostrowski said she is blessed by the opportunity for library books and programs to transform the lives of its patrons of all ages.