Stacey McKnight is a valued volunteer at the Chatfield Public Library.  PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Stacey McKnight is a valued volunteer at the Chatfield Public Library. PHOTO BY GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS
Stacey McKnight is weeding the shelves.

The returns are coming in spades.

"I went in one day and thought that there were a lot of books lying around," said Chatfield resident and public library volunteer McKnight. "I asked them, 'It looks like you could use some help filing books away. Can I help?' and they said, 'We're actually weeding things out'."

Chatfield Public Library director Monica Erickson put McKnight to work sorting books and other materials to be withdrawn or re-shelved, and the new empty-nester seized the opportunity to assist with great enthusiasm.

McKnight explained why she chose to lend a hand at the library, saying, "I love libraries, so it seemed like a good volunteer opportunity. My kids are out of the house, so I've got more time to volunteer. I've always wanted to do volunteer stuff, but I didn't want to take time away from my family. I chose the library because I wanted to do something, and where I work, they encourage us to volunteer, but the opportunities they offer didn't fit me. The library is very important, something I wanted to do...I wanted to do something that's important to me."

McKnight grew up in Rochester but has lived in Chatfield for more than 20 years, raising her family here. "I like to volunteer in the community I'm living in," she said. "It's small, quiet. I know lots of good people who all love Chatfield, and my mom grew up here, so I've got roots here. I've always been a reader, and the Chatfield library has a great selection for all ages."

She's done a little bit of volunteering at the library and also gives her time at Channel One, the food bank in Rochester. McKnight particularly likes working at the library for various reasons - troweling through stacks of books enchants her.

"It extends my community and who I know, and the people who work at the library are all nice people," she added. "They all know me when I come in, and they appreciate me so much - that makes the employees there more available for the people who need help. I can get the background work done, which is a good thing. It's so enjoyable that it hardly seems like work."

She feels that finding a volunteer opportunity that a person enjoys is really important. "You're more likely to stick with it," she added. "I would like to keep volunteering there. It's a good place for me. I hope they have other things I can do when the weeding out is done."

McKnight encouraged her friends and fellow Chatfield residents to give a minute or two at the library, or to simply use it as often as possible.

"I think anything anybody can do makes the library a used and better place. It's such a resource for anything," she concluded. "There are so many resources available at the library, great in a small town to have copiers, books, tapes and more. Get out there and enjoy the Chatfield library. It's a great library to get your kids reading."