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Never Stop Learning

Generations Magazine
Never Stop Learning

Community

Gwinnett County Public Library

455 Camp Perrin Rd NE, Lawrenceville, GA 30043
770-978-5154

https://www.gwinnettpl.org

The Best Generation and what they contribute daily to the Gwinnett County Public Library

 GRACE

 Grace Roberts looks completely at home amid the   books at the Gwinnett County Public Library in   Snellville. She should. For nearly 20 years, every week   she loads a rolling cart and shelves everything from   murder mysteries to children’s picture books.

 “I’ve had a love of libraries since I was a child. I vividly   remember my mother taking me and my brother to the big, stone library in Lexington, Kentucky. There were spiral staircases on each side of the building that led to the children’s section upstairs. It fascinated me,” says Grace.

Married for 57 years with two grown daughters and four grandchildren, she has fed that fascination her entire life.

When her children were young, she often took them to the library along with their babysitter.

“She didn’t drive, so sometimes when she was looking after several children I would just pile them all into the car and we’d make a day of it,” remembers Grace.

In fact, now, as a volunteer, she’s befriended an 18-year-old girl in the neighborhood who comes and reads while Grace shelves books.

“It is just a wonderful environment to share with people.

The staff is just great to be around. They’re all so helpful.

There’s an employee by the name of Waz, from Scotland. I love his accent and he has good stories to tell,” says Grace.

Even her husband tags along with her some days. He’s convinced there’s no other place she’d rather volunteer.

“She’s had a love for books and libraries since I’ve known her.

Seeing her here, she’s just in her element,” says Chuck Roberts.

 DON

 Without fail, rain or shine, when you visit The Gwinnett   County Public Library in Lawrenceville on Thursday   mornings you’ll be greeted by Don Warrick.

 “We’ve got free meals if you need some,” he   announces.

 His baseball cap emblazoned with the word Navy hints   to a lifetime of service to his country. Now, he’s focused on serving his community as well.

“I’m 75 years old and retired now, whether I want to be or not, so this gives me something to do with my time and makes me feel good at the same time,” says Don.

He and his wife moved to Gwinnett County 35 years ago, as Don transitioned into civilian life. He’s always been an active customer at the library, but a couple years ago it morphed into something more.

“I was pretty much a daily visitor when I was trying to do a job search. I came up here to use the internet and the library staff used to joke with me, “If you’re going to be here all day why don’t you do some work for us?”

He jumped in with both feet and started serving childrens’ meals over the summers. During Covid, the library partnered with the Atlanta Community Food Bank and other non-profits to provide drive-up food distribution. Don was one of the first library volunteers to sign up and he continues with it to this day.

“I think there’s a real need for this,” says Don.

Many of the people who approach him seem more like friends.

“I have regulars who come by every Thursday and pull up and I know what they’re looking for. We say hello, I ask how they’re doing. When they drive off and say “See you next Thursday’, it is a good feeling,” says Don.

The real magic about Don is whoever he encounters, there’s no judgment. He offers food to every single person walking by. He believes this removes the stigma people may feel if they have to come and ask for it.

“Everyone has gone through tough times. We’re giving out even more meals now with the economy the way it is. If we can help someone by feeding them for a day or two, that can mean everything to them”, says Don.

 TERESA

 You’d think after teaching high school history for 32   years, Teresa Nichols would want a break from books   and kids. Not so.

 One of her favorite parts of volunteering at the   Gwinnett County Public Library in Buford is shelving   books in the afternoons while tutors help students at   the tables nearby.

 “I’ll hear them and it takes me back to when I felt that   success of helping a student understand something,”   says Teresa.

 It turns out libraries were her first love, long before she   took up teaching.

“When I was 16, my very first job was in a library. I like to say it was my first job and it’s going to be my last,” jokes Teresa.

While she was always borrowing books from the library, she had no idea about all the other things available until she started volunteering ten years ago.

“It is amazing all of the things that people have access to here.

We’ve got 3-D printers, cooking classes and all sorts of adult and children’s programming. The library system is really one of the best things about Gwinnett County, ” says Teresa.

Her smile is contagious as she points to groups of kids and adults congregating around the branch, commenting that the best thing about the last few months is how people are coming back to the library after Covid.

“It feels like we’re getting back to normal and it is so good to see. It is just so pleasant here and I like helping out. I can’t imagine our community without the library,” says Teresa.

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