The opposite of shelf-ish

Melissa Roberts, a Toledo Public Library volunteer, organizes her adopted shelf in the children’s section on Wednesday, April 10. (Photo by Stephanie Blair)

New volunteer opportunity at Toledo Library

TOLEDO — To start off National Library Week, the Toledo Public Library announced a new volunteering program on Monday: Adopt-A-Shelf.

Through the Adopt-A-Shelf program, volunteers can “adopt” a shelf or section of books for a three-month period. During that time, they will have the responsibility of keeping that section neat and orderly by committing to tending to it for about an hour every two weeks.

The duties include filing the items on the shelf in order using the Dewey Decimal system, arranging the items neatly on the shelf and pulling them forward as necessary, removing incorrectly shelved items and reshelving them correctly and — of course — recording efforts in the volunteer log.

“This idea came from one of our Toledo Public Library Advisory Board members, Susan Gilmont, a lifetime librarian herself,” explained Denyse Marsh, Technical Services Operator and Children’s Library Specialist at Toledo Public Library. “Susan’s vision was to reach out to high school students with a meaningful library volunteer opportunity. We loved the idea, and decided to expand it and open it to all our patrons.”

These positions are an easy way to accrue community service hours for scholarships and student organization requirements, as well as simply to help out the library in keeping things orderly. Volunteers can even request to be matched with their favorite area of the library, whether that’s as specific as loving the 921 section or as broad as just wanting to be shelving fiction.

“Toledo Public Library is made up of caring staff members that have the interests and needs of our patrons at heart,” said Marsh. “We are busy every day helping people find the best source of information — whether it’s a book, a website or a database … The library is a dynamic place. Of utmost importance however, is that books must be in their proper spot. Shelves must be reset constantly to keep the library running smoothly. The Adopt-A-Shelf program is the perfect way for the community to be connected to the library in a worthwhile way.”

It would take approximately 30 people to “adopt” the whole library, so interested volunteers should apply soon. Volunteer applications are available at the library, as well as online at


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