Volunteers, libraries lauded at council meeting

CARLSBAD — The city of Carlsbad was awarded two proclamations at the April 10 council meeting. One recognized volunteers, while the other acknowledged libraries.The recognitions highlighted International Volunteer Week and National Library Week, coupled with Carlsbad Reads Together.

Sue Irey, volunteer coordinator for the city of Carlsbad, accepted her Proclamation for International Volunteer Week. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

Sue Irey, volunteer coordinator for the city of Carlsbad, accepted her proclamation from Councilman Keith Blackburn. He reminded everyone that April 15 to April 21 was designated International Volunteer Week.

“We wanted to thank all the 2,604 volunteers who donated over 109,000 hours of service last year to the city of Carlsbad,” he said.

Blackburn wanted people to know the volunteers who visited the council chambers that evening represented the 251 Carlsbad Senior Center volunteers who gave 16,000 hours of service last year. The clocked-in time of this group was valued at around $375,000.

International Volunteer Week both honors and inspires volunteers around the globe.

“International Volunteer Week is about recognizing an

Heather Pizzuto, library and cultural arts director at the Carlsbad City Library, received at National Library Week and Carlsbad Reads Together Proclamation. Photo by Christina Macone-Greene

d encouraging people who seek out ways to engage in their communities,” Irey said. “It’s about demonstrating that by working together, we have the ability to meet our challenges and accomplish our goals.”

Irey said that volunteers help in a variety of ways from assisting low- and middle-income residents with their tax return preparations and maintaining their trail system, to delivering a hot midday meal to homebound seniors.

“Volunteers are found in nearly every department of the city and allow staff to expand and enhance the services offered to the residents,” she said, noting that their service is a great treasure to Carlsbad.

Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin presented Heather Pizzuto, library and cultural arts director at the Carlsbad City Library, with her proclamation.

Kulchin, a former schoolteacher, said it was her privilege to read the proclamation. The words Kulchin read underlined how libraries are part of the American dream, and are places for information, enjoyment of reading, lifelong learning and cultural enrichment.

Kulchin also added that the digital age has enabled libraries as the ultimate search engine helping people of all ages find information they need in print and online.

“National Library Week is an opportunity to celebrate the availability of what libraries bring to the community and that includes free access to information and resources to help people be successful in their lives and also to help communities be successful together,” Pizzuto said.

National Library week is April 8 to April 14.

Kulchin said that Carlsbad City Library is celebrating National Library Week by launching Carlsbad Reads Together 2012, a community-wide reading program, which encourages community dialogue about issues important for everyone.

The work selected for Carlsbad Reads Together 2012 was T. Jefferson Parker’s mystery novel “Iron River.” Pizzuto said a few lively book club discussions have taken place. She said residents are excited to take part in the April 14 keynote event where Parker will be visiting the Carlsbad City Library.

Pizzuto said this proclamation is an opportunity to highlight the importance of libraries in current society. “Some people occasionally say that libraries are no longer an important part of our community, but in fact, I am proud to say that 75 percent of the residents in Carlsbad have used the library in the last year,” she said.

It’s estimated that 60 percent go to the library on a monthly basis.

Pizzuto said although libraries may have changed over time, now is an opportunity to showcase some of those new changes in the way that libraries remain relevant.

“It is an honor that our council feels that libraries are this important to the extent that they are so well-funded despite the challenges and municipal budgets today,” she said, adding that the libraries are open seven days a week. “The fact that our council would take a moment to highlight the importance of libraries is much appreciated.”

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