Palmerton Area Library held a special event last week called "Breakfast of Champions," honoring those who volunteer their time to the library.

It is the first time the library has hosted such an event, but Diane Danielson, library director, and Mariann Kmetz, assistant director, wanted to show their appreciation to the volunteers.

"We truly appreciate everything that you as volunteers do to keep the library running and to improve the quality of our services here. Whether you help with just one event here at the library or come in weekly to tutor, put books away or sort books in the book sale, we are so grateful for all your help," Danielson told the attendees.

Guests were served bagels, fresh fruit, orange juice and coffee or tea.

"There have always been volunteers at the library helping with the book sale, summer reading programs and reading to the children at story hour on Fridays, but it was never an organized program where we counted the hours and kept track of all the help until Mariann took over the volunteer program," said Danielson.

"When I was taking library courses, we had to pick a program. I chose to formalize the volunteer program," said Kmetz.

Danielson said they recognized volunteers who worked more than 30 hours during 2012. They had to go by the hours that were recorded in the volunteer sign-in book and the hours turned in by organizers of special events like the quilt, art and photo shows, summer reading and story time.

Currently there are 70 adult volunteers and 54 teen volunteers. Their time was a total of 1,820 volunteer hours.

"This is the equivalent of having another full-time staff member here at the library," Danielson said.

The top 11 volunteers who received recognition for 30-plus hours are: Kathy Spirk, 32 hours (story hour reader, Adopt-a-shelf, and summer reading); John Aulenbach, 32.5 hours (golf tournament, booksale, Adopt-a-shelf); Terri Sheckler, 35 hours (Quilt Show); Paula Zelinka, 36 hours (Teen Group painting mural, summer reading); Jerry Manbeck, 37 hours (booksale); Diane Costa, 39 hours (booksale); Ian Correll, 39 hours (booksale); Lisa Koller, 43 hours (homework helpers, summer reading); George Chupa, 61 hours (booksale); Donna Les, 71.5 hours (book shelver); Conrad Biege, 95.5 hours (tutor).

"Some of the hardest working volunteers are the members of our board of directors," said Danielson. They are: Chuck Lavilette, board president and Towamensing Township representative; Mata Curra, vice president and member at large; Louise Koons, board secretary, Lower Towamensing Township representative; Susan Chop, treasurer and member at large; Barbara Eastland, member at large; Susan Debski, Palmerton Area School District board of directors representative; Audrey Larvey, member at large; Jack Woginrich, Borough of Palmerton representative; Barbara Clemmer, Friends of the Library representative; JeNell Mertz, Borough of Bowmanstown representative; and Anita Harry, member at large.

Only the adults were honored at this event. Kmetz said the teens will be honored at another time.

There are a variety of opportunities for those wishing to volunteer at the library, including: Teen Group; Summer Reading program; Book Sale; Homework Helpers; Adopt a shelf; Photo Show; Art Show; Golf Tournament; Tutor; Quilt Show; Story Hour Reader on Fridays at 10:30 a.m.; Shelver; Window Dresser; and Computer Class.

Danielson said that all the volunteers make a difference at the Palmerton Area Library.