Branch Out

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Ashley Atkinson
Editor, Branch Out

Neighborhood Hero!

Neighborhood Hero!

By Alana Quarles, Branch Manager, Kings Park Library

Learn more about Friends of Centreville Regional Library’s President, Sharon Gottovi.

Can you tell me how you became involved with FCPL?

After I retired, I volunteered with AARP Tax Aide at the Centreville Regional Library. One day, the new branch manager came into the room with our volunteer tax preparers, hoping to recruit someone who would help reestablish the library’s Friends group. Since I recently retired, I considered the opportunity and met with them to learn what was involved. Little did I realize that I needed to create a brand new 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, write bylaws, create a budget and recruit a Board of Directors. All of this was finally accomplished by September 2019.

What’s the most rewarding part of being president of a Friends group?

It gives me great joy to be able to help and serve the community I live in. I have met many amazing people in my role as president who are so passionate about our library and our community. I am fortunate to have developed some wonderful friendships. I have also gotten to know the staff at the Centreville Regional Library. They are so caring and dedicated to helping their patrons. I love working with them.

What is the Friends of Centreville Regional Library group’s greatest success to date?

It has taken a few years but now the Friends of the Centreville Regional Library (FCRL) has a very dedicated group of volunteers. We would not be able to function without the service and dedication of our volunteers. I have learned that it may take a bit of time but that you will find volunteers who are looking for ways to give back to the community. I am so honored to know and to work with so many dedicated individuals.

What other community connections do you have and what other groups do you participate in?

In addition to my volunteer work with the FCRL and AARP Tax Aide, I also volunteer at Western Fairfax Christian Ministries in their food pantry. I have brought children’s books to the pantry for distribution to the clients. I hope to find more ways to offer literacy services to the clients in the future. I have also served as an election officer in Fairfax County since 2007.

As a dedicated volunteer, what advice would you give to someone who wants to become more involved in their community?

The rewards of being a volunteer in your community are endless. There is such a great sense of satisfaction to be able to offer your services to local organizations. Don’t let fear that you don’t have the “right skills” stop you from trying out different opportunities.

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