Feature Volunteer – Norma Vale

Although she’s a new face in the Library, Norma’s first experience at the Bernard Betel Centre was facilitating a workshop on Stress Management in the Health Promotion and Wellness program in 2008. 11 years later, retired and with fewer personal obligations, Norma returned to Betel ready to make a longer term volunteer commitment. Her timing was great as our Librarian at the time was retiring after 16 years of service and Norma was interested in taking on this volunteer role.

Her love of reading and inquisitive nature brings a new dimension to the Library. Norma is very comfortable talking to people, a skill she developed as a journalist and a volunteer ESL coach for newcomers to Canada. Each week she is visited in the Library by both familiar and new faces. She has been surprised by the wonderful, personal stories she has heard from talking to our members. “You don’t know what someone is like, just by looking at them, but the minute you start talking, a whole world opens up.”  

Since July, Norma has been busy familiarizing herself with the books on the shelves. She has followed our system of grouping the books and has added a few new categories. Some members come in and ask for recommendations and she wants to be sure she knows which authors and titles we have available. Her greatest challenge is when someone comes to the Library looking for a book and leaves without one. She wants everyone to be a satisfied customer.

Norma is looking forward to facilitating the return of the Book Club in November. As she has learned, our members simply do not like to read, they LOVE to read! She selected the first novel, however is counting on the Book Club members to be active participants who will help decide on future titles and provide feedback on how they would like the program to progress. She is also exploring new opportunities for our members to expand their love of literature at community literary events and programs.

Her preferred choice is a novel, however she has recently turned to biographies. “By reading about historical figures, you learn a lot about history. It is a really nice way to learn.” She adds, “I enjoy helping members find books by their favourite authors or introducing them to new ones, but even more than that, it’s been great meeting and talking with so many interesting and friendly people.”

Norma invites you to drop by the Library on a Thursday afternoons from 12:30 pm to 2:30 pm to ‘talk books.’ 

If you are interested in joining the volunteer team, please click HERE for current opportunities.


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