by Mary Rodne
Colleyville Public Library
The Colleyville Public Library has a history that is steeped in community volunteer support. Volunteerism contributed to the establishment of the Library and facilitated the opening activities prior to its opening. Following are highlights of the Library’s exemplary volunteerism that continues to play an ongoing vital role in the overall success of the Colleyville Public Library.
The foundation for the Colleyville Public Library started February, 1991, when the City Council, in direct response to citizens’ expressed desire for library service in the City, established the Colleyville Library Study Committee comprised primarily of volunteers. The task of the committee was to study library alternatives to meet the current and future educational, personal, and recreational needs of the community. During the following decade, a series of long-range planning studies were conducted by volunteer predominant committees, which led to the opening of Colleyville’s first library on November 24, 2003. The facility, 24,000 square-feet, opened with forty-eight hours of operation, a collection of around 17,000 items, 5.5 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) staff members, and a strong volunteer base comprised of adult and teen community members, The Friends of the Library, and the Library Foundation.
In its first five years of service, the Library has provided significant levels of service and can celebrate many accomplishments. The Library staff and Board, the Friends of the Library, the Library Foundation, and volunteers have been committed to providing responsive library support to the community and have greatly enhanced the Library’s services, collections, and programs. During its first five years of operations, the Library has implemented the vision of the City Council by addressing the recreation, information and self-development needs of Colleyville residents. And the residents have responded! During its inaugural year, more than 7,100 citizens registered as borrowers and more than 102,000 items were checked out of the Library’s collection. In its subsequent four years of operation, the Library has experienced double digit increases in all of its performance metrics.
One of the key factors in the success of the Colleyville Public Library has been phenomenal volunteer support. Since the opening of the Library, volunteers have provided around 16,000 hours of support, which has greatly enhanced the services and programs of the Library. Additionally, the Library has received countless volunteer hours from the Friends of the Library and the Library Foundation. The Library utilizes adult and teen volunteers and offers numerous opportunities for individuals to make meaningful contributions to its programs and services. Some of the basic volunteer activities include: sorting and re-shelving returned library materials; material shelf reading; assisting with Library special events; helping with children’s activities; assisting with various program preparations; and other special projects as needed.
Dedicated volunteerism has been invaluable to the accomplishments of the Colleyville Public Library. The volunteer support is varied and too abundant to detail in a few paragraphs. However, a few examples of the outstanding contributions from individuals, teens, organizations, the Friends of the Library, and the Library Foundation merit mention and are highlighted below.
The Library has one individual who goes above and beyond the basic duties of the Library volunteer. This individual is multi-talented and brings unique skills and abilities to enhance children’s programming and provide administrative support as needed. This volunteer spends countless hours planning and decorating for various children’s special events. Her creations are phenomenal and the decorations have enhanced these programs far beyond our expectations. Also, this individual utilizes her computer skills to provide administrative support. She maintains various Library statistic spreadsheets for chess club, volunteer hours, donations and numerous others. Whatever the task, she is willing to offer her expertise.
Also, the Library is supported by a very active VolunTEENS group. This group is trained and provides volunteer support on an ongoing basis. During the summer months, approximately 50 teens contribute hundreds of volunteer hours, assisting with shelving of materials, helping with the preparation of crafts for story times, program set up and take down, and assistance during the programs. At times, there have been as many as 14 VolunTEENS assisting at a single event. Without the assistance of teens, the Library would not be able to offer the current high level of programming.
Also, over the years various community groups have offered volunteer support, but one group that deserves recognition is the National Charity League. Since the opening of the Library, this organization has provided around 4,000 volunteer hours during our annual reading program each summer. The volunteers from this group almost totally staff our summer reading check-in room, which is open all hours of Library operation. This coverage has provided invaluable support to the staff, allowing them the freedom to focus on the extensive programming that is offered during the summer months.
Additionally, the Colleyville Public Library is supported by the volunteer efforts of the Friends of the Library, and the Library Foundation. The two organizations compliment each other and work as a unit to enrich the Library. The Friends of the Library focus on smaller fund-raising efforts such as book sales, and provide volunteer support to the Library as needed. Since the opening of the Library, the Friends have sponsored various local authors; provided funding for program supplies and equipment, such as a laminator, a roller die cutting machine, photo printers, a video camera, a popcorn popper, etc.; and have supplied countless hours of volunteer help.
On the other hand, the Library Foundation focuses its efforts on large fund-raising endeavors. Over the past five years, the Foundation has sponsored a variety of very successful large fund-raisers, which have included annual mailers, themed gala dinners, a Race to Read Fun Run and other events. The Foundation has provided funding for materials, shelving, equipment, temporary help and various special projects. To date, the Foundation has raised over $200,000 to support the Library, and currently, is setting aside funds for the Library’s expansion to the second floor.
In closing, in its first five years of operation, the Library has experienced success beyond expectations. However, the Library has not been content to rest on its laurels. The Colleyville Public Library is a resource on the move. With the continuing support of the City Council, the Board, the Friends, the Foundation, volunteers and residents, the Library is ready to embark on the next phase of its development, the expansion to the second floor of the library. Currently, the Library is engaged in a Spatial Reorganization Study. By approving and funding this Plan, the City of Colleyville will ensure that the Library can move to the next level and serve as a model of what can be achieved when like-minded people come together to fulfill a mission. Volunteerism has always played a key role in the Colleyville Public Library and will continued to be a valued resource as the Library moves forward in accomplishing its goals and objectives. By so doing, the Library will demonstrate, in a dramatic and verifiable way, that life-enhancing resources can indeed be made available through the efforts of dedicated volunteers.