Collecting materials intrigues library volunteer of the year

Mary Cooke, President of the Friends of the Grand Island Memorial Library, with Marsha Mis, Volunteer of the Year.

Sat, May 28, 2022 7:00 AM

Story and photo by Alice Gerard

Marsha Mis, who received the Volunteer of the Year award at the Friends of Grand Island Memorial Library May 19 event, said she enjoys doing volunteer work which she describes as “in the backstage”.

She describes her work as “providing the materials and filling in the gaps” or as “frequent shopping”.

“I really hate it when a kid gets a pair of scissors and they don’t work,” Mis said. “If you have a child who is left-handed, you understand how difficult it is. Then during the COVID issue for the past two years, we almost had to break down some of the things that were used so they were individual or you could clean them. You needed more than three pairs or four scissors if you had a group when we finally came back to this. I am a very good buyer.

Mis said volunteering at the library naturally suited her because she loves children’s books. She spent years volunteering at her children’s schools in Buffalo at libraries, working on educational materials. In college, she had a minor in art education. “With the artistic training, I could very well do it.”

She recounted a project she was part of at the Academy of Arts: “They had an exchange with a dance group that went to the Dominican Republic or the Caribbean islands, and then these kids were going to come where we are. In the library of the Academy of Arts, we have educated children about all the cultures involved. Each Caribbean island is a little different. I had a lot of fun developing the materials that could be read or learned. Make bulletin boards or cards, you name it. It was fun. Finding artifacts that went with it.

At the Grand Island Memorial Library, she provided materials for various programs.

“The library staff here are really great people,” Mis said. “They do great programming, so it was really easy to swipe around to find places to help out. It was fun too. Bring an oversized plush llama, which goes with “Llama Llama” books and things like that. It was fun because it became the staff’s emotional animal during the COVID crisis. It will be drawn. June is the month of the llama. I had a lot of fun with it without being in the foreground.

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