Long Time Library Volunteer Awarded the Green Mountain Award!The Vermont Library Association has selected South Burlington resident, Eileen Forrester, to be this year’s volunteer of the year. Eileen was nominated by the Library Director, Jennifer Murray, to acknowledge her dedication to volunteering for 18.5 years and her enthusiasm and hard work in moving the library, not once, but twice!
Eileen worked in Special Education, teaching children in Kindergarten and first grade for 30 years. She moved to Vermont 25 years ago. In 2004 she approached then Children’s Librarian, Marje vonOhlsen, about making a donation towards books in memory of her father. Marje and former Director, Louise Murphy, invited Eileen to bring her love of reading and experience with children’s books and volunteer; she never left! Not long after, she joined the Friends of the South Burlington Library and served as Treasurer, Cookie Walk organizer and Wheeler House Book Shop initiator.
Among the many things Eileen has worked on are shelving, shelf reading, working with reports, packing seeds. In 2017 the library was moving to the University Mall. Eileen remembers Jennifer handing her a book about moving libraries. She asked Eileen to read it and let her know how to make the move work. And she did, applying a measuring, moving and sorting system so that items left on a cart and arrived to be shelved in their exact location. She was so good at it, that she was asked to lead the charge again in 2021 for the move from the mall to 180 Market Street. Eileen points out that the second move was harder because we used a mix of existing shelving and new shelving, so she had to plan which shelves were emptied first so that when the books arrived, the shelves were up.
Dozens of volunteers and 50,000 books later, library materials remain in their designated locations – abundant and easy to find. “Playing such a large part in making the new library happen was very satisfying,” says Eileen. When asked if she would do it again, her reply was, “Been there, done that, not doing it again!” but agreed she would be happy to consult with other libraries that are using the same system.