Library is just one of busy aide's jobs

Volunteers/Where good neighbors get together

December 03, 1991|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,Evening Sun Staff

ESTHER WILLIAMS doesn't stop at one volunteer job, she takes on several. She shelves books at the Forest Park Branch of the Enoch Pratt Library and works with blood donors to the Red Cross. For 11 years she volunteered to the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Retired from the Social Security Administration in 1978, Williams is quick to tell you that the library where she volunteers is Branch No. 14, but she won't give out any numbers for her age. She smothers a chuckle when she says, ''I'm one year younger than my sister.''

She has found great pleasure in library work, where she spends three hours each week, and more.

''The branch has a group called Friends of the Library, and I became a member of that. We meet once each month and work to raise funds, recruit volunteers and whatever the library needs,'' says Williams.

Madeline Waller, manager of the Forest Park Branch, says there are formal Friends of the Library groups at the Roland Park, Reisterstown and Edmondson branches as well as her own, which is at 3023 Garrison Ave.

''Our branch is 80 years old and was renovated about four years ago, one of the first on the renovation program. We are in a partnership with the Hilton Elementary School, and classes of children come to us to learn such subjects as how to use the library, reading enrichment, how to do research for homework assignments and we introduce them to new authors.

''We also service other elementary schools in the area such as Liberty, Calvin Rodwell and Windsor Hills,'' says Waller, who has a staff of two librarians and two clerical helpers and says volunteer shelvers, or ''pages,'' are very needed.

Esther Williams says that her longest stint of volunteering has been with the Red Cross, where she has worked since 1978. She works at donor sites, registering the donors, making containers, serving in the canteen and as an escort. "I like this because I am taken to many places in the city and county where I've never been before,'' she says.

Until the driving became too much for her, Williams drove from her city home to Baltimore County each week where she helped MS patients bowl. Her sister has MS. ''I did this for 11 years but had to quit,'' she says, adding that ''I discovered I could walk down the street to the library and volunteer, which keeps me alert and active. I love what I do. I read so many new books and travel with the Red Cross. You discover what a difference giving makes. It helps everyone,'' she says.

The Forest Park library hours are noon to 8 p.m. Monday and Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Anyone wishing to volunteer to the branch should call Madeline Waller at 542-2406.

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