NEW KNOXVILLE — Residents of a local village have the opportunity to help their community library through a new program that will kick off later this month.
The New Knoxville Community Library is now accepting sign ups for its Adopt A Shelf program, in which area residents help keep a shelf or section of books in the library organized by their call number and help keep the area dusted. Library Branch Manager Charis Steinke said the program was one she learned while working at the Arizona State University library.
“As a staff, we each got to take a shelf or section of books that we would keep clean and organized,” Steinke said, noting organizing the shelves can be difficult to get to when the library only has two employees. “We only have two staff members here and that’s at the bottom of our list of things to do. It’s near impossible some days to keep up.”
The Adopt A Shelf program offers an opportunity for them focus more on other aspects of the library, she said.
“We’re hoping that this will allow (Library Branch Assistant) Amy (Clamme) and I a little free time to work on programming and behind the scenes stuff,” Steinke said.
Steinke said she worked with local Girl Scout Lydia Felty to create a program that would fit the needs of the New Knoxville Community Library. A frequent user of the library, Lydia helped organize the program, as well as helped with the advertising and sign up sheets for the program, for her Gold Award project.
“Lydia tried to take my ideas and turn them into a something that would work for a small library,” Steinke said.
Steinke noted the program is open to residents that are in the sixth-grade and up, and volunteers will be required to come in at least once a month to organize and dust their shelves. Steinke said she is asking that volunteers commit to a year of helping the library once a month.
“This is an ongoing project, so they’re really committing to once a month for at least a year,” she said. “We’re hoping that it will continue itself.”
She noted that there is not a designated day each month that volunteers have to come in to clean up their shelf.
“It’s really patron-driven,” Steinke said. “Whatever works for them, works for us.”
A brief training session will be held, starting March 24, to teach volunteers how to organize their shelves. Steinke said there is an online portion and she will work with volunteers to give them hands-on experience organizing the books. So far, she said she has gotten a few volunteers signed up and noted that the volunteers are not all adults.
“The Girl Scouts have volunteered to take care of a section, so it’s not just adults,” she said.
She noted that library patrons have often signed up to take care of a shelf that they have a connection with.
“A lot of the patrons that have signed up have signed up for their favorite author’s shelf, so they want it to be clean,” Steinke said, noting she is thankful for all the support the New Knoxville Community Library has from its community. “I think one of the best things about the New Knoxville Community Library is the patrons. They’re so wonderful and they really care about their library.”
Sign ups for the Adopt A Shelf program run through March 24. Sign up sheets are available at the New Knoxville Community Library, 304 S. Main St., New Knoxville. Those interested may also call the library at 419-753-2724 or e-mail Steinke at Steinkch@oplin.org  to sign up for the program.