A familiar face at the Palmerton Area Library now has a new title. Mariann Kmetz has been named the new assistant director as of Jan. 1.
Kmetz will remain as the library's bookkeeper and patrons will continue seeing her helping at the front desk.
"I'm so excited about the new volunteer program that the library is initiating. We hope to have several new programs here at the library and are counting on volunteers to help with the success," says Kmetz.
Some of those new programs are:
*Tutoring program for students of all ages. The library is looking for volunteers who are skilled in any area of education. Participants will have appointments.
*Computer helpers to assist patrons who need help using the computer to fill out job applications, resumes, working with Word or Excel. Patrons will schedule appointments. (Kmetz is hoping students from the vo-tech school's computer classes will become volunteers for computer help.)
*Scrapbooking. The library would like to create a scrapbook and needs volunteers to sort and organize newspaper articles and pictures into a scrapbook.
*Book sale. The library has an ongoing book sale in the basement and volunteers are needed to sort materials, price new donations and shelve books and DVDs.
*Summer reading program. Volunteers are needed to help with a weekly craft, puppet show or programming for the program which begins in June and runs through July.
*Weekly reader. Volunteers are needed to read during the weekly preschool program.
*Special projects. Projects such as the Quilt Show or the Photography Show need volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
*Adopt a shelf. This is a great job for all ages. Volunteers are assigned a full shelf in the library and check that shelf order when they visit the library.
*Shelving. Volunteers will be asked to put material back on the shelf.
Some volunteer positions require that the volunteer have Pennsylvania Child Abuse Clearance forms, which is available at the library front desk.
There are two levels of volunteering.
The first requires little or no training. Volunteers will receive basic instruction about library policy and procedures. They will be given a brief explanation of what the job entails. Support will be provided by all library staff whenever requested. They will help with book sales, summer reading, weekly reader, special projects and the Adopt a Shelf.
The second level requires training and a training manual will be provided. Trained volunteers will be required to have strong computer skills, communication skills and must present themselves in a professional manner. They will help tutor students, computer help, shelving and scrapbooking.
Volunteers must be 13 and older. Family units are welcomed but children under age 13 must be supervised by an adult at all times. Groups from any organization that would like to work on a specific project must be approved by the library director.
Kmetz will also be working with the Teen Advisory Group, hoping to expand it.
Kmetz, who has been working part-time at the library for three years, just completed her provisional library certification through Northampton Community College. She already holds a B.A. degree from Alvernia College. She will be working 22 hours a week.
Kmetz lives in Palmerton with her husband, William and their three children, Laura, Kelly and Andrew.
"Mariann and I have always worked well together. When I'm not here, it's good to know there's someone capable of running the library. And I look forward to working more closely with her on the volunteer program, which will be great for the library. Since the state has been cutting down our aide, we'll be looking more and more to our volunteers for help," says Diane Danielson, the library's director.
Both Danielson and Kmetz see the libraries becoming more like community centers.
"And Palmerton always comes to our aide. We have a lot of talented people here in our town," says Danielson.
"We have a strong community. We focus on the positive. And here at the library, we try to serve everyone," adds Kmetz.
As Kmetz talks about the future, she becomes very animated.
"I'm excited to get our volunteer and teen programs expanded," she says.