Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Bernardsville Library to Honor Two Long-Time Volunteers

Bernardsville Public Library will honor two long-time volunteers at a reception in the library hosted by the Board of Trustees on Sunday, September 12 at 2:00 pm. These exemplary volunteers are Theo Mulgrum, who has taught in the library’s English-As-A-Second-Language (ESL) program for more than ten years, and Esther Warner, who has helped with processing books, DVDs and other materials in the Technical Services department for more than fifteen years.

Ms. Mulgrum has lived in Bernardsville since 1972. Before her retirement, she was a Spanish teacher at Bernards High School. As such, she and ESL teacher Maureen Underwood were aware of the need for English lessons among their students’ parents. A proposal for classes was subsequently approved by the Board of Education, and they began running in the old library building on Thursday nights. This was at the same time that a community service requirement was instituted at the High School and provided a steady stream of high school students who taught under the guidance of Ms. Mulgrum and Ms. Underwood. “Teaching these classes is so rewarding,” said Ms. Mulgrum. “I fall in love with my students every year. Some stay in the program for many years. I even enlisted my husband as a volunteer teacher.” Because she is always willing to take on a new task, the library staff has also called on Ms. Mulgrum to translate library materials into Spanish and, for a short period, to teach them Spanish. In addition, she has helped with interpreting for Spanish speakers who seek help through the library’s VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program. Ms. Mulgrum also helps out at Morristown Hospital where she serves as an interpreter in the prenatal and postnatal clinic and leads bilingual tours of the Labor and Delivery area of the hospital for expectant mothers.

Esther Warner has lived in Bernardsville for 30 years. Among the many tasks she has undertaken in the Technical Services area are processing new materials (books, DVDs, and audiobooks for both children and adults), working with revolving collections of books and DVDs that come in for short periods from other libraries, weeding out books that don’t circulate, shelving, and searching for misplaced items. “Esther’s very creative and a really important cog in the machine,” says Technical Services Librarian Rosalie Baker. “She uses her imagination in creative ways to package materials for circulation, and I can always depend on her to work until the job is done.” About her long tenure at the library, Ms. Warner says, “I started volunteering when I retired because I am a big believer in the public library. I learn new things and meet interesting people at the library.” A highly skilled knitter, Ms. Warner is a big contributor of beautiful, miniature sweaters which dress teddy bears at the library each holiday season. These teddy bears are then donated to disadvantaged children through the Salvation Army. She also volunteers at Leonard J. Buck Garden, the NJ Audubon Society, and for the Friends of Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge.

Bernardsville Public Library gratefully acknowledges the contributions of these two special volunteers as well as those of the many others who serve the library on a regular basis.

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