2009 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards


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Seven Fairfax County Public Library Volunteers were honored as part of 2009 Fairfax County Volunteer Service Awards.

These awards were established to celebrate the contributions volunteer make to improve the quality of life in our community and have been given out annually for the past 17 years. Library volunteers that received recognition include Pohick teen volunteers Rana Suliman and Yena Hong, John Marshall volunteer Carol Dickerson, Sherwood volunteers Janet Jacobi and Sheila Sheehan, and Library Foundation volunteer Joan Kane. Stuart Feldstein a volunteer with the Woodrow Wilson Chess Club was selected by Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross as a Community Champion.

Stuart Feldstein
Woodrow Wilson Library
Stuart Feldstein was chosen by Mason District Supervisor Penny Gross to receive a Community Champion Award. There is a saying that you should always watch out for the “quiet ones” and Feldstein, one move at a time, is making a sizable impact. Feldman left his 40 year career in the legal field to pursue other ventures, including finding a way to give back to his community. True to his described quiet nature, Feldman began a children’s chess club at Woodrow Wilson Library.

Supervisor Gross nominated Feldstein due to his persistent thoughts and actions on how to improve the community, whether it is thinking of a way to alleviate traffic or helping to get kids off the streets. On Tuesday afternoons, Feldman can be found teaching chess moves and strategies, as well as building self-esteem and sportsmanship for dozens of 6 to 13-year-old boys and girls, who now compete in local and regional chess tournaments. His work with children in the Chess Club at Woodrow Wilson Library is a wonderful example of identifying a solution to engage children’s minds and energies into constructive thought processes and strategies. “Feldstein’s quiet demeanor belies a fierce dedication to volunteerism and making his community and Fairfax County a great place to live, work, play and worship,” claims Supervisor Gross. “His positive approach brings a can-do attitude and thoughtful solutions to any challenge.”

Rana Suliman
Pohick Regional Library
Rana volunteers in the Youth Service’s Department of Pohick Regional Library. During the summer months, she has helps out with the Summer Reading Program. She hands out materials and explains the details of the program, signs children up and collects data on finishers of the program. Throughout the rest of the year, she alphabetizes book carts, puts books away on the shelves, prepares craft materials for children’s programs, finds books from lists for programs, cleans board books, and generally helps us to keep the children’s area neat.

According to branch manager Jean Johnston, “Rana is a dedicated young volunteer who enhances library service for our youngest customers. Her support encourages young readers and enables the children’s librarians to focus their attention on other projects.”

Yena Hong
Pohick Regional Library
Yena volunteers in the Youth Service’s Department of Pohick Regional Library, both helping to keep the children’s area of the library neat and tidy as well as helping with the Summer Reading Prorgram during the summer. In particular, Yena is an especially valuable volunteer because of her creative and artistic talents that she shares with the Pohick Library. She makes beautiful signs, treasure chests, program materials, etc., and thanks to Yena the library can offer more creative crafts and activities for program participants. The staff just tell her what is needed and she designs it herself.

According to branch manager Jean Johnston, “Yena’s special gifts benefit the children’s department and encourage young children to visit the library. Her assistance encourages young children to read and provides invaluable assistance to the children’s librarians.”

Carol Dickerson
John Marshall Library
In 2004, right as the staff of the John Marshall Library was struggling with how to manage what had become an overgrown and dangerous eyesore surrounding the library, Carol contacted the library about volunteering. Fresh from becoming a Master Gardener, Carol was looking for a place to practice her newly learned skills.
Methodically, Carol started an ongoing landscaping project which continues today and has resulted in a total transformation of the outside of the John Marshall library. Working primarily independently, Carol assessed each separate area, devised a landscape plan for approval and then got to work implementing the changes.

She has been a fantastic ambassador for the library and actively recruits, trains, and supervises volunteers all year long to assist her, often working with scout troops, church groups, students and businesses to weed, remove trash, plant bushes and flowers, and spread mulch. In addition to being an amazing volunteer herself, Carol is also a skilled leader of volunteers. Her passion for gardening quickly becomes evident to these volunteers and she always spends time during each volunteer event helping to educate people about horticulture.

On her own initiative, she even created a chart of what is planted in all the areas outside the library. This is kept at the information desk and patrons are thrilled to be able to find out the names of the plants.

Carol is always every-mindful of limited financial resources. She has developed important relationships with area nurseries and is frequently able to get discounts on plant materials. She uses all her own gardening tools and let’s staff know which plants she is currently looking for. As a result, many times staff members are able to bring in cuttings of plants from their own gardens for Carol to use so she doesn’t have to purchase them.

Carol has an amazing eye for color and the staff frequently receive complements from our customers about how wonderful the outside of the library looks. Carol’s devotion to the John Marshall Library is extraordinary!

Janet Jacobi
Sherwood Regional library
Every weekday morning, the library receives materials from other branches in the library system. Janet is one of the people who help to take materials out of bins, sort materials, check in materials, and process items that are on hold for our patrons. She has also taught new volunteers how the process works within our branch.

According to Sherwood Volunteer Coordinator David Hanlon, Janet Jacobi is a valuable member of our “Morning Delivery Ladies” group. She helps to get the delivery processed quickly and efficiently, and does so in a cheerful manner that helps keep our spirits up.”

Janet donated 295.5 hours of service in 2008.

Sheila Sheehan
Sherwood Regional Library
Sheila comes in several days a week to help process our mail, newspaper, and magazine deliveries. She ensures that materials are processed quickly and correctly, and that new materials are put out on the shelves in a timely manner. Most recently she helped process Sherwood’s magazine collection in preparation for allowing the magazines to be checked out.

Sheila Sheehan is an important volunteer staff member. She knows just what to do with little supervision and provides guidance to others at Sherwood. She’s not afraid to ask questions and always has an attitude of doing the right thing for the public.

Sheila donated 437.75 hours of service in 2008.

Joan Kane
After a planning grant was awarded to the Fairfax Library Foundation from the Arts Council of Fairfax County to undertake the public art sculpture project in Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax, Joan Kane emerged as the enthusiastic leader through the initial phase of this mega-project. Shortly into the execution phase of Art in the Pages, the project was without a manager due to a serious illness of the contracted coordinator. In the midst of this potential crisis, Joan took on numerous and diverse duties while navigating through significant logistical issues, well beyond her existing volunteer duties as the Chair of the Library Foundation’s Board of Directors, to ensure the project’s success.

The first-ever large scale sculpture project in the area required significant time and energy. This was magnified as such an undertaking, having never been attempted by a local organization, was successfully executed without the benefit of a tested model.
According to Bobbi Longworth, the Foundation’s Executive Director, “Joan’s ‘can do anything’ attitude was (fortunately) contagious as she led staff and other volunteers to plan and execute Art in the Pages. The exceptional challenge of tackling such a magnanimous project was met ‘in addition’ to her service as the Fairfax Library Foundation’s Board of Directors Chair. Joan successfully tackled fundraising, publicity, logistical management, and much more to further the enhancements of Fairfax County Public Library services that ultimately, and all too often, ‘quietly’ touch the lives of our so many of our neighbors!”


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