Since the beginning of her volunteer journey at The Caring Place in 2019, Carol knew she wanted to work with books. “I had been in the area for a while and had always known about The Caring Place. I’ve volunteered at a lot of different places, and I finally got around to pursuing The Caring Place. My first volunteer jobs were in the Liberty Hill Library nearly 20 years ago.” Carol’s request from her initial volunteer orientation to sort and price books at The Caring Place was honored, and she has thoroughly enjoyed it since she began.
As you might guess, when asked if she is an avid reader, Carol responded: “All my life. But I’m so glad we have another volunteer, Linda Nix, who particularly likes and works with children’s books. I know a lot about books but nothing about children’s books. Except I remember a few from when I was a child. So that’s lucky.” Other than children’s books, Carol encounters a wide variety of reads everyday, which such a bibliophile as herself finds exciting and fun. “I particularly enjoy finding old books. I like looking at one and realizing it’s a hundred years old. I think about how many people have seen it, read it, looked through it, like I currently am. The language can be so different. You really see the progression and think about how the interest of readers has evolved and was so different then.” Sometimes, when Carol finds one particularly interesting or humorous, she purchases it for her personal collection. Laughing, Carol remembered coming across a book from the 1800s by a male doctor who archaically wrote about the different stages of a woman’s life “from maidenhood to motherhood. He just laid it all out–the classic mansplaining! It was hilarious. Well, it is and it isn’t. But it was certainly revealing.” Still laughing, Carol admitted, “I bought that book, and, shockingly, I haven’t looked in it anymore.”
Carol’s volunteer position has not only allowed her to see the progression in literature; she has seen great progression and change at The Caring Place in the last few years. After the period of shutdown during the pandemic, the warehouse facility was updated. This made it possible for the whole operation, including the books, to become more efficient. “We used to store away a lot of the books in the work area of the warehouse, but now we’re doing a lot better at immediately processing them and getting them right out there on the shelves. So I think that’s a big improvement.” In addition to the quicker processing, the old “Outdoors and More” section of the store was enclosed, updated, and made into the bookstore to accommodate and showcase the many fascinating finds. Like many, Carol finds the new bookstore to be “much more organized and easy to get around in.” She sees shoppers often make special trips to The Caring Place just to sift through the 75-cent reads.
Carol’s favorite thing about being a part of The Caring Place is simple: “Of course, I love the people. I like working with books. That pretty much sums it up.” Carol said she is proud to be among “the kind of people who The Caring Place attracts to work and volunteer. It has just an excellent reputation in the community. And there’s a reason for that. It continues to live up to it.” By connecting her interest with her desire to help neighbors, Carol has been able to be a part of The Caring Place’s mission of providing for the basic needs of all people in our community. She encourages others to do the same. If it just so happens that your passion is also books, Carol suggests, “hey, we could always use a couple more volunteers to focus on the bookstore!”