Former Read House resident returns as library volunteer

Doug Reed helps shelve books in the house where he used to live. The Read House is now owned by Mentor Public Library.

Doug Reed helps shelve books in the house where he used to live. The Read House is now owned by Mentor Public Library.

William “Doug” Reed walked through the rooms of the house where he lived for 55 years.

On Sundays, he would play records here—big band music—before going to Mentor Methodist Church across the street, he reminisced.

Mentor Public Library purchased the house in 2009 and renamed it the Read House, keeping the homonym to honor the Reed family.

The library, whose Main Branch is next door, uses the Read House backyard for outdoor programs—everything from campfire story times to summer reading parties.

Meanwhile, the house is filled with books that are donated to Mentor Public Library or weeded from its collection. It also hosts story times for infants and toddlers.

On Monday, Oct. 3, Reed surveyed the rooms where bookshelves had replaced the familiar trappings of home.

What do you think of the changes, someone asked him.

“Not too bad,” Reed said.

He then saw a book about American presidents that interested him and began thumbing through the pages.

Sharon Link, another volunteer from Deepwood's Willoughby Branch, helps shelve the books  in MPL's Read House.

Sharon Link, another volunteer from Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch, helps shelve the books in MPL’s Read House.

Reed, now 72, returned to the Read House as part of a volunteer group from Lake County Board of Developmental Disabilities/Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch.

The Deepwood clients helped shelve books that are given away from MPL’s Pop-Up and Little Free Libraries and sold during the Friends of the Mentor Public Library’s book sales. The money raised from those sales supports library programming and special events.

Judy Tsiros, a community integration professional at Deepwood’s Willoughby Branch, helped organize the volunteering with Mentor Public Library.

“The value for volunteering is almost immeasurable,” Tsiros said. “It really connects people to the community, and it expands their self-worth.”

By serendipity, Reed was one of the volunteers. He’s an enthusiastic reader with a particular interest in presidential history and baseball. He’d often pause to read a cover while shelving.

When finished, he asked if he could keep a couple of books. The library allowed it. After all, he’d been gracious enough to help the library and to share his house.

Martin Andersen likes one of the books he finds while volunteering in the Read House.

Martin Andersen likes one of the books he finds while volunteering in the Read House.

For more information about volunteer opportunities at Mentor Public Library, visit our Volunteer page.

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