April 2024 Newsletter

Book People

A Visit with The Resort Library Volunteers

By Dale Dauten

“Good friends, good books, and a sleepy conscience:

this is the ideal life.”

Mark Twain

“Books are a uniquely portable magic.”

Stephen King

I don’t know how it is for you, but for me, a good book is one that speeds me along – a classic page-turner. But then there’s the irony of a great book, one so good that I slow down approaching the end, savoring it, not wanting to finish.


What got me thinking about good and great books was the joy of spending some time with three of The Resort’s volunteer librarians… ah, book people, my favorite. And don’t you love the library at The Resort? Stained glass. Fireplace. French doors. Vaulted ceiling. Whoever planned it had to be a book person. In the photos below you can see some of the interior, as well as the three women I visited there: (l to r) Gail Bonebrake, Sandy Beaton, and Marlene Juchniewicz.

It’s Marlene who’s taken on the role as head of the volunteers, with Gail Sandy backing her up. Marlene has the advantage of being a year-round resident, but also has professional qualifications: she worked for Barnes & Noble for 13 years back in her old home of Wisconsin.


These days Marlene keeps regular tabs on the library, saying, “I pop in once or twice a day.” Then, over the summer, Marlene takes on the biggest job: “Along with Brenda Johnson,” she explained, “we take down every book and dust.” But, during the season, Marlene has plenty of help – shown below are the other members of the current library team. The volunteers work a shift per week, contribute ideas, and work others’ shifts if needed when someone is ill or away.

Back, left to right: Gail Bonebrake, Allen Walker, Jennifer Wilson

Front, left to right: Carrie Neumann, Karen Haupert, Sandy Beaton, Pam Malenfant, Debbie Lagasse (Missing from the group photo is Marlene Juchniewicz)


I learned that it’s the beginning and end of the season that take the most volunteer effort, what with people bringing donations when they arrive at the park and returning nearly everything before taking off. “By the end of the season,” Marlene noted, “we have too many books for the shelves.” Gail added, “At the end of the season, please feel free to take books and puzzles ‘home-home’ to help clear shelves for next winter.”


You might be tempted to help the volunteers by shelving books yourself, but it turns out that doing so creates problems. As Gail tells us, “Please don’t shelve them yourself. Just like regular libraries, our volunteers label by genre and keep track of usage. Especially by season’s end, we have more books, puzzle and DVDs then will fit on shelves. That’s why we have a discard bin for duplicates and for books that are in poor shape.” Instead of putting returns or donations on the shelves, you’re asked to place then on the cart just inside the entry doors.


I asked about common questions they get asked when at the library and Sandy smiled and said, “I enjoy the challenge when people ask about a book but don’t know the author or title. They’ll say it ‘sounds like’ something, or describe what the book’s about, and I’ll start asking questions. I’m surprised by how often we can figure it out.”


Other library facts:

  • The library is open year-round, every day.
  • t’s the honor system – just stop in and take the books you want and return them when you’re done. No sign out. No “due dates.” No fines.
  • There are two tables devoted to in-the-works puzzles and the big round table is outfitted with computers. (Those computers provide a small bit of frustration for the volunteers, as they are maintained by the Business Office — the library folks do not have paper for the printers or answers to computer questions.)
  • If you’re looking for something special, or for children’s books, know that park residents can get library cards from the Red Mountain Library on Power Road – all you need is a electric bill or tax bill that shows your Mesa address.


And, finally, we asked the Resort librarians to tell us their favorite authors and maybe a bit about their career/background. Here’s what we learned:


CARRIE: Dan Brown and Sarah J Maas. I like suspense but then my oldest daughter exposed me to Sarah J Maas books, and I really loved them. I worked as an Industrial Engineer and a Systems Analyst for Northwest Airlines. I currently work part time for an HR Consulting firm and am also a USA Gymnastics Judge.


KAREN: All authors. (I love working in the library because I enjoy reading books from authors I’ve never heard of. It’s fun to be exposed to new ideas.) I worked in the computer section for a company called Our Own Hardware in Burnsville, MN.


SANDY:  Louise Penney and Ann Marie MacDonald.  (Ann-Marie MacDonald, Canadian author, is an amazing writer, actor and good friend of my older sister.) I was an administrator for a physician who specialized in complementary medicine.


PAM: Amish authors, Nora Roberts. I’m a retired registered nurse, most years in critical care and surgery.


DEBBIE: Richard Osman, Andy Weir. (As a young teen, I would often hitchhike two miles to visit our community library and check out adventure stories. With books, my travel possibilities were unlimited. As an adult, I worked in public libraries for 32 years, much of it presenting programs for children, teens and adults.)


GAIL: J.D. Robb, M.C. Beaton. Retired RN.


ALLEN:  Davis Bunn. 21 years in the Army (retired in 2010) plus another 10 years with Washington State Employment Security Department (retired in 2021).


JEN: John Grisham. Office manager in a behavioral health clinic last 14 years of work.

MARLENE: Patricia Briggs, C.J. Box. As mentioned above, worked for Barnes & Noble in Wisconsin.


Let’s end with a story from Marlene, recalling one of the joys of her job at B&N – helping youngsters become book people:


“One of my jobs was managing the Children and Young Adult sections. We’d get these young boys who’d come moping in, and they sigh and say, ‘I have to read a book for school.’ And I’d talk to them about what they like and we’d choose something and I’d tell them, ‘if you don’t like it, bring it back and we’ll find something else.’ But they didn’t bring the books back. Instead, they’d come in say, ‘What else have you got?’”