Story and Photo by Alice Gerard
Marsha Mis, who was given the Volunteer of the Year award at the May 19 Friends of the Grand Island Memorial Library event, said that she enjoys doing volunteer work that she describes as “behind the scenes.”
She describes her work as “supplying the materials and filling in the gaps” or as “frequent shopping.”
“I really hate it when a kid gets a pair of scissors and they don’t work,” Mis said. “If you have a kid who’s a left hander, you understand how difficult that is. Then, during the COVID problem in the last couple of years, we almost had to break down some of the things that were used so they were individual or you could clean them. You needed more than three pairs or four pairs of scissors if you had a group when we finally got back to that. I’m a very good shopper.”
Mis said that volunteering in the library was a natural fit for her because she likes children’s books. She spent years volunteering at her children's schools in Buffalo in the libraries, working on educational materials. In college, she had a minor in art education. “With the art background, I could do that very well.”
She related one project that she was part of at the Arts Academy: “They had an exchange with a dance group that went to the Dominican Republic or the Caribbean Islands, and then those kids were going to come where we are. In the library at the Arts Academy, we educated the kids about all the cultures that were involved with this. Each Caribbean Island is a little bit different. I had a lot of fun developing the materials that could be read or learned. Making bulletin boards or maps, you name it. It was fun. Finding artifacts that went with that.”
At the Grand Island Memorial Library, she has provided materials for a variety of programs.
“The library staff here are really excellent people,” Mis said. “They do excellent programming, so it was really easy to slide in to find places to help. It was fun, too. Bringing in an oversized stuffed llama, which goes with the ‘Llama Llama’ books and things like that. It was fun because that became the emotional animal for the staff during the COVID crisis. That will be raffled off. June is llama Month. I’ve had a lot of fun with it without being in the forefront.”