PLANO (CBS11) – Busy hands, busy minds.
If you have ever visited a Plano library, chances are you’ve picked up their work: the volunteers who give new life to broken or damaged books.
The book menders at the Haggard Library are a group of women with as much knowledge as the volumes they preserve and they are this week’s subjects of The Ones For Texas.
“It takes quite a while to go through the book,” says Doris Heimann, a book mending volunteer.
Heimann and her fellow volunteers will tell you what they’re doing, keeps them young.
“You really have to use your mind, your head, to see what can be done to the book,” explains Anna Friesen, another volunteer.
The group of five women gather around a table in the technical services area of the Haggard Library once a week, mending the wear and tear dished out by patrons of Plano’s library system.
“We’ve even had corners chewed off by children,” says Heimann, showing some of the damage.
Each volume, examined page, by page; the torn covers, bent corners, broken spines and tattered covers, all put back together.
“What would they do with the books if we weren’t here to mend them?” Heimann asks.
“They would be withdrawn and discarded or taken to the book fair,” says Marla Kreager, a library technician.
By Kreager’s estimate, the volunteers save about 3,000 books a year, worth about $70,000. They’ve been at it for as long as twenty years. Heimann and Friesen are the eldest in the group: both 91 years old.
To this table, they bring stories of their own.
“My husband and I, we immigrated,” Friesen says.
As a young girl in Germany books were precious possessions for Friesen.
World War II history is a subject she continues to seek out today.
“If I find one that interests me, I check it out and take it home,” she says.
The love and care put into each hardcover or paperback, done, with the next reader in mind.
“Those books can get old but you can still read them. That’s the joy of a book,” Heimann says.
And the joy their work brings them, never gets old.
“It makes me feel, I am not too old to help,” Friesen says.
The ladies not only volunteer by mending books, they also knit and crochet blankets and hats that the Plano Senior Center donates to the hospital.
They work in the Community Garden and help with the genealogy department at the library.