How Many Volunteers Do We Need for Our Amazing SaddleBrooke Libraries?

SaddleBrooke One Library volunteers (photo by Laura Benson)

Cholla Library volunteers (photo by Laura Benson)

DesertView Library volunteers (photo by Laura Benson)

Benice Christian

Cliffhanger! Before that question is answered, here is a little history of the library system and its volunteers.

About 35 years ago, a handful of ladies thought that the “cozy” room to the right of the entrance to SaddleBrooke One clubhouse would be a nice area for a small library. They convinced the SaddleBrooke leaders that this was an excellent idea. With much tenacity and gumption, these ladies managed to get enough donated books for the start of this library. Many book sales raised funds to buy even more books. The library grew, and eventually volunteers were needed to check out these books to the patrons. All of this was done in a notebook with names, phone numbers, and lots of pencil power! Bring on the volunteers.

About 10 years later, enter the wonderful folks who started the Friends of SaddleBrooke Libraries, with the express purpose of raising funds to buy books for the libraries—Hurrah! No more depending on book sales.

After the MountainView clubhouse was built, it also had a “cozy” room near the entrance, perfect for a second small library in SaddleBrooke. Later, when the DesertView complex was completed, a larger room was set aside for a lending library there! Bring on the volunteers.

The MountainView clubhouse site was then designated as a small “honor” system library, called the Cholla Library. It has been a terrific resource for our community. Our patrons continue to read and return.

How many volunteers does it take to keep all our libraries thriving? Now there are 76 volunteers to assist in the three libraries. What on earth do they do? They assist library users in finding materials of interest, register new patrons, check materials in and out, and return them to the shelves.

But there is much more happening behind the scenes. Library volunteers make decisions on what our patrons may want to read, watch, or listen to—fiction and nonfiction. After purchasing selected items, they must be entered into our computer system, cataloged, and processed for shelving. Requested items need to be pulled and the patron notified. Older books are reviewed to make room for newer ones. Donated books are sorted for duplicates, outdated ones, or those not suitable for the collection. The materials pulled from the collections and donations that are not kept continue their “lives” by being sold or donated to the military or the Golden Goose Thrift Shop. Bring on the volunteers.

Library volunteers enjoy their work and camaraderie. Many of them stay in their volunteer positions for years. Currently, we have eight volunteers who have been with the libraries 20 years or more, six for 15 years or more, eight for 10 years or more, and 27 for 5 years or more. We like to be of service to our community. This past year, our library volunteers assisted in lending out 47,431 items. To learn about the SaddleBrooke Community Libraries, visit our website

Here’s to our amazing volunteers!