:Jocelyn Buong, a freshman pre-med sutdent at Oxford College, helps restock in the children's section of the Newton County Library on Monday afternoon. Buong is also a member of Dooley's Dolls, a social club on campus that also helps out in the community. - Staff Photos: Sue Ann Kuhn-Smith
COVINGTON — The children’s section at Newton County Library was looking pretty bare over the summer, but now, thanks to the help of volunteers, shelves are once again full.
Due to a staff shortage and rapid return of books checked out for the summer reading program, employees at the library weren’t able to get books reshelved as quickly as in the past. Some shelves were completely bare in August, and one local mother reported that she and her kids counted the books that had not been reshelved at more than 1,000.
Crystal McLaughlin, director of student development at Oxford College, said she read about the problem in the local newspaper and decided volunteering at the library could be a great community service project for students.
All semester, students in the Bonner Leaders program have been restocking shelves, and now, the children’s room is overflowing with books. Bonner Leaders is a program of Americorps, and students who are part of the program can work at non-profits and schools and earn money through the federal work study program and Oxford College. There are four Bonner Leaders who have worked all semester at the library, but other Oxford College students have volunteered as well. Monday was their last day to work there this semester.
“When I was a kid my mom always took me to story time (at the library.) It was awesome,” said Ryan Rusiecki, an Oxford College student and one of three volunteer coordinators of student community service activities. Rusiecki said he wants to make sure other kids have the benefits of using their local library.
Amrutha Krishnaraj, a freshman at Oxford, said the project helped her get some needed stress relief during finals week and was lots of fun. She said she appreciates the many volunteer opportunities that Oxford College provides for students.
The students will assist with other library programs now that they’ve caught up with stocking in the children’s section.
“We couldn’t have done it without these volunteers,” said Courtney Lumpkin, the library’s new assistant director. Lumpkin noted that individuals and groups, such as the Lions Club Service Guild, have also lent a hand with stocking.
“Being from somewhere else, I am really impressed with how this community cares,” she said.