‘It makes you realize that what you do absolutely matters’

Caption: Cullman County Public Library Assistant Director Josie Harrington (right) and volunteer Stefani Nelson (left) work together to make sure all glass is removed from books. (Tiffany McKoy)

Volunteers support library cleanup

CULLMAN, Ala. – Since the Cullman County Public Library sustained storm damage last week, community members have been rallied to help with cleanup.

“This is just part of our community and our heritage, and it’s just important that we take care of it,” said volunteer Judy Bonds, a retired English teacher who is a member of the book club at the library.

“I belong to the book club and we meet here monthly,” shared Bonds, highlighting the personal connections that she has to the library. “We’re just like family, you know? We text and keep up with each other. Since I was in education, the library is very important to me. And you know, sadly, we don’t use the library like we need to, but this library has really reached out to the community in so many ways.”

Stefani Nelson, who is on the library foundation board, was also among the volunteers helping clean the library recently. “I have been helping the library for about four years now. I always like to help and be involved in the community; I believe that’s important,” Nelson stated.

Director Sharon Townson became emotional when she recounted how many people were volunteering to help restore the library. On seeing how many people offered their help and support, Townson said, “It makes you realize that what you do absolutely matters.”

According to Townson more volunteers will be coming on Thursday and Friday. As of right now, the library staff is sorting through the books that were directly affected by the storm. They are handling the books and checking to see if they are damaged and need to be discarded or if they can still be used. The volunteers are removing the remaining books from the shelves, wiping them down to ensure there are no glass shards in them and placing them back on the shelves.

Townson said she isn’t sure when the library will be open to the public again because they are focused on making it safe for the patrons above all else. She said a safety evaluation was completed by John Tucker, the safety director at the Cullman County Commission. “We don’t want to make these decisions on our own. We want someone who’s been trained, so he came by and gave us instructions on some things to do before we open,” she explained.

While the main branch is closed, there are other locations available. The other four branches in Cullman County are in Hanceville, Garden City, Colony and Holly Pond. The library also provides cardholders access to e-books and audiobooks with the online apps Hoopla and Libby.

For branch hours and locations, visit www.ccpls.com/branches.html.

Copyright 2023 Humble Roots, LLC. All Rights Reserved.