Rita Charlton enjoys feeling useful while volunteering at the Chatfield library.  PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Rita Charlton enjoys feeling useful while volunteering at the Chatfield library. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Rita Charlton dog-eared through her cabin fever.

"I did it over the winter to help pass the winter," said Charlton, who has volunteered at the Chatfield Public Library, lending a hand in sorting and withdrawing dog-eared and well-used library books, among other tasks with which Chatfield library director Monica Erickson needed help.

Charlton explained why she thought of the library when she considered volunteering in Chatfield. "I used to work there a long time ago, and I love books. Monica is a great person, and I just needed something to do to fill my time," she said. "I thought of volunteering at the library - I didn't want to drive into Rochester to volunteer - and we have such a great library...it's such a cozy place, so warm when you walk in, and there's Monica and the staff."

Charlton is an avid reader, so she enjoys sitting in the library basement, handling the withdrawn books. "I just like books, going through and looking at books. I have always liked them," she reiterated. "I don't remember being a reader in high school, but after, I became one. I always read to my sons, and now, because I read to them so much, the grandkids love reading."

She likes that a short trip to the library affords her either solitude or a chance to visit with people she hasn't seen in a while. "I helped take books off the shelves and get them ready to sell at the book barn. It's a nice little solitary job in the basement, and a lot of times, if I go to the library, I run into people I don't see all the time."

Charlton shared that volunteering is a good way for people to be useful. People need to have a purpose, and this is a good way to get out of the house and do something for someone else.

"I do this because it's something I want to do, versus something I have to do," she added. "I feel appreciated, that the people I'm helping are grateful for whatever time I can give...I definitely feel appreciated at the library."

Charlton concluded that volunteerism in any form is a benefit to oneself and one's community. "I encourage people to get out and try it, even if it's not something at the library, it could be at the tourist center. Just try something else until you find something that you like," she stated. "It could lead to a job, help you know yourself better and what you like and don't like. Plus, you're helping someone else, and when you do something for someone else, you can never fail."