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ICPL partners with Iowa City Hospice to bring books, conversation to area residents

by Meredith Hines-Dochterman on January 9th, 2014

Diana Durham’s years as an elementary teacher serve her well in her retirement.IC hospice

“As a schoolteacher, you learn to perform,” Durham says. “You have to like it.”

Durham liked it so much; she joined the Iowa City Hospice Singers. The singers are a group of volunteers who make visits to area nursing homes for monthly sing-alongs. It was through this program that Durham learned of another volunteer opportunity: The Iowa City Hospice Reading Program.

For more than four years, the Iowa City Public Library has partnered with Iowa City Hospice to offer monthly reading programs at area retirement and residential care centers. The Library provides the reading materials and supplemental information to assist reading program volunteers with their programs and discussions.

“When the program first began, the Library would select books for the volunteers,” says Sarah Neary, Iowa City Hospice’s volunteer program coordinator.

Every group was reading the same book at the same time, with outlines and reading discussion questions provided by the Library. The program has evolved over the years, though, to adapt to the needs and wants of the residents it serves.

“We’ve decided the program works best with less structure,” says Anna Sewell, the Library’s outreach and volunteer assistant. “Some groups continue to be happy with reading and rereading the stories of growing up in Iowa, such as “Little Heathens” and “Growing Up Country,” while other groups prefer to choose their own material to read and discuss. I stay available to all the groups as a source of information, ideas and resources.”

Neary credits the program, and its volunteers, for providing residents with interpersonal interactions.

“We are dealing with a population that, in general, did not grow up with TV,” Neary says. “These people grew up with stories. They had to entertain themselves. The reading program is more engaging than TV and it reminds them of how they grew up.”

“It’s so rewarding,” Durham adds. “You walk in and see all of these smiles – they’re just so happy to see you. I think I get more out of the program than they do.”

Currently, eight volunteers make up the Iowa City Hospice Reading Program. More facilities are interested in joining the program, but additional volunteers are needed. If you are interested in being a reader, contact Sarah Neary at sarah.neary@iowacityhospice.org.

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Volunteer Spotlight: Gloria Lacina

by Brian Visser on February 15th, 2012

Gloria

We asked Gloria Lacina a few questions for this “Volunteer Spotlight:”

How long have you been volunteering for the Iowa City Public Library?

Over 15 years.

What do you do at the Library?

Check-in books.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the Library?

I wanted to do a service for the community.  I’ve been coming to the Library since I was a little girl.  I remember going to the old, old Library.  I’ve been through a lot of transitions.

What is your favorite part of the collection?

I read an awful lot of fiction, but I also like biographies and history.  I also like classic movies and British period TV series.

What else do you like to do?

I’m a big reader.  I also knit, crotchet and bake.  I try and walk three miles a day when weather permits.

Thank you, Gloria, for all of your time and hard work!
If you’re interested in volunteering, go www.icpl.org/work or come in to the Library and fill out an application.

Volunteer Spotlight: Jeanette Carter

by Brian Visser on January 9th, 2012

Jeanette Carter

We asked Jeanette Carter a few questions for this “Volunteer Spotlight:”

How long have you been volunteering for the Iowa City Public Library?

8 years.

What do you do at the Library?

I work at The BookEnd and also index early years of the Press-Citizen.

Why did you decide to volunteer at the Library?

I used to work here, and wanted to continue my connection to the Library.

What is your favorite part of the collection?

Cookbooks and biographies.

What else do you like to do?

I play in the New Horizons Band and the Silver Swing Band.

Thank you, Jeanette, for all of your time and hard work!
If you’re interested in volunteering, go www.icpl.org/work or come in to the Library and fill out an application.