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2023 Volunteer Awards

Dedicated volunteers are the backbone of the Friends, some have been giving their time for over 20 years.  There have been thousands of individuals who have given their time to this organization during our 50-year history.  Staff in the bookstores keep the shelves stocked and open for business 65 hours a week with additional $1 books available with the honor system on shelves or kiosks when the libraries are open.  Warehouse sorters meet every Thursday from 9:00AM-12:00PM to sort and pack thousands of donated books.  The Friends’ weekend-long, Big Book Sales are held 3 or 4 times each year. They are the result of the efforts of a vast team of individuals who play a key role before, during, and after each sale.  These teams of volunteers, Friends’ members, and board members work over 600 hours each sale to ensure a successful event.  Board of Director members meet monthly to review goals, make decisions, and plan events.  Board members also actively participate on membership, book sales, communications, and fundraising committees.  A few of these dedicated team members were recognized at our 50th Anniversary Gala.  

Tryon Bookstore Volunteer of the Year - Jack Beverly

Jack Beverly has been a volunteer with the Friends for over 20 years.   He has worked as a book sorter, at book sales and on the Board of Directors.  Beverly was vice-president when the Tryon Library was established in 1990.  The Friends were able to contribute $75,000 to help with the new branch.  Later he became the President of the Friends and during his tenure had the privilege of presenting the Downtown Library with a check for $100,000 to help with remodeling. Since then, Beverly faithfully helps his wife, Pam, who manages the Tryon Bookstore, with sorting, shelving, and sales.  His time and dedication over the years has been greatly appreciated.  


Downtown Bookstore Volunteer of the Year - Donna Henderson

After teaching for 30 years, Donna Henderson started volunteering in the Friend’s bookstore in the Pensacola library on North Spring Street.  She works multiple shifts each week where she sorts donated inventory, acts as cashier, posts updates to the Friends’ Facebook page, and recruits new volunteers for the Friends.  She makes a point of getting to know her shoppers, oftentimes keeping track of their book requests and letting them know when a new item arrives.  She has recently joined the Board of Directors as a key advisor in book sales.  As a retired educator, she is overjoyed when she witnesses a child diving into a book right there in her store.

Donna Henderson

Warehouse Volunteer of the Year - LT (jg) Sam Hart

Lieutenant Junior Grade Sam Hart moved to Pensacola in 1992 to attend Coast Guard Aviation Training and found his way to the Friends’ warehouse where he became a dedicated volunteer.  Hart  always had a smile on his face and a positive attitude, no matter how difficult or cumbersome the task.  Friendly and respectful of everyone, Hart has been a great role model for high school volunteers. Hart also recruited additional military volunteers to get onboard.  Hart was, and continues to be, an exemplary representative of the United States Coast Guard. The Friends are confident he will continue to foster a love of books and reading and enrich any community he is assigned to during his time in uniform. 

Sam Hart

Special Recognition Award - Linda Williams

Linda Williams joined the Friends’ Board of Directors in 2010 and has served as secretary, vice-president, and president.   In 2016, book sorting operations moved from the garage of the downtown library, to empty public school district buildings, and then to multiple rental storage units. Each location presented different environmental challenges and each move cost valuable time. Williams played a critical role in the efforts to find and purchase a 4,100 square foot facility – with cash. Williams then managed the oversight of all renovations needed so the inventory of donated books could be located, all together, under one roof. As Chairperson of Book Sales, Williams expanded the Friends’ annual sale to 3 or 4 sales, to recruit a member to handle the sale of high demand books online, to work with book dealers, and to partner with other non-profit book/literacy organizations. She has overseen over 30 successful book sales in the last 10 years. She enriched our community by getting more used books back into the hands of readers in an increased variety of ways and by finding more ways to raise funds the Friends then get to our libraries to fund special reading programs and events as well as help purchase special equipment.  

Linda Williams