Ligonier Library honors volunteers' work
Last week, the Ligonier Library recognized the accomplishments of volunteers who donate their time to help the library run smoothly. Director Janet Hudson said the library has a group of volunteers numbering close to 80, some travel from as far away as Greensburg.
“We couldn't do all the things we do and offer all the services we do to the public if we didn't have this group,” Hudson stated. “We couldn't have the book sale every year without the volunteers. The Pennsylvania Room, we have so many rare items over there we can't open it up to the public if we don't have someone there. The library is open 64 hours a week, so we don't have staff to cover the PA Room every hour.”
Among the different sections of the library are Re-readables, book sales, novel art, the children's library and the Pennsylvania Room. Staff members said organizing and running each section would be a far taller chore without the help of these volunteers. Hudson noted that the book sale brings in $15,000-$18,000 a year to the library to purchase new books and keep other programs running.
Many also said that the Pennsylvania Room would not be what it is today without the volunteers who work there.
“A lot of the volunteers are very knowledgeable about history — they're not just babysitters,” Hudson explained. “They have learned genealogy, they have learned history and they can help people find things.”
“Volunteers, they're the bloodline of America. Anyone who can, should,” commented Peggy McDonald, president of the library's board of directors. “I was so happy to be able to retire so I could do things like this. You can't volunteer for a greater bunch of people. This is really a family.”
In a special presentation, volunteer and former board member Ralph Bennett announced a new award, the Ray Kinsey Award in Recognition of Outstanding Volunteer Service. The award is a large glass bowl and was named in honor of the longtime volunteer, who received a smaller bowl with a similar engraving.
Bennett described Kinsey as a horticulturalist, bicyclist, historian, artist, raconteur, flower arranger, sheep farmer, archivist, archeologist, scarecrow decorator, debater and devoted volunteer in the great task of preserving our heritage.
“The soul of a town resides in its people. But the history of a town resides in particular people. Individuals whose personalities and interests and memories make them natural archivists; natural conservatories for that history. We are doubly blessed that (Kinsey) is a highly educated man in the best and truest sense of that phrase,” Bennett said. “Awe has become an almost ruined word in our vocabulary because of overuse. And the host of things young people routinely describe as awesome is long and tiresome, and rarely lives up to the word. But I, who have dealt in words all my life, can say with absolute precision of meaning, that I have been in awe of this man since I came back to this valley I love. He is one of the cleverest, kindest and most knowledgeable men I know.”
Kinsey admitted he was very surprised to receive and have the award named after him.
“I don't know what to say,” Kinsey said. “I never expected anything like this. I thank you all very much and all I can say I wish we could get more people interested in local history. That's what we're all working for.”
According to PA Room archivist Shirley Iscrupe, Kinsey has volunteered at the library since 2002 and since then has contributed countless times to the library, especially in the form of artifacts for exhibits in the Pennsylvania Room.
“We could not do what we do in the Pennsylvania Room without Ray's assistance, without his creativity and his imagination to present Ligonier's history to whoever has the brains to come in and see it.”
Peter Turcik is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Former Ligonier doctor, Harold Gordon, turns 100
- Ligonier Valley Endowment marks 40 years of giving
- Ligonier is setting for Monroeville woman’s romance novel
- Defining Ligonier: A look back at major events of 2014
- Ligonier Borough seeking applicants for public works
- Southern Alleghenies Museum of Art features Ligonier artist