Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Nancy Nash selected Volunteer of the Year for Work with
Friends of the Brown Library
Nancy Nash, who, with her husband Dave (whom we have written about in this very blog earlier this year), brought to life a fledgling group and shaped it into the vibrant Washington organization it is today, has been honored with a Frannie Ashburn Volunteer of the Year Award from the statewide Friends of NorthCarolina Public Libraries (FONCPL).
Nominated by the directors of Friends of the Brown Library here in Washington for her long and passionate commitment, Nash received her award Saturday, October 27 at the FONCPL annual meeting in Greensboro. Although Dave passed away in 2011, Nancy is still active on the Friends Board, continuing to take charge of volunteer coordination for one of the most important activities of the Friends’, their annual January Book Sale, which she initiated two dozen years ago.
The State organization of Friends was clearly impressed with the Nashes’ story, which illustrates the impact that individual volunteers can have on a community. After Dave and Nancy retired from Connecticut in the 1980’s, they looked for ways to serve their new town. One day they were handed a box of paper slips; the small parcel constituted the Friends of the Brown Library.
The Nashes, working as a team, were charmed by Washington and Beaufort County, and soon found both newcomers and natives who responded enthusiastically to their call. Nancy became the new president of the Friends, with Dave bringing publicity support. Their projects drew the attention of state and local representatives and funding for the expansion of the library followed.
In her tenure with the Friends, Nancy Nash has worked miracles to keep public attention on library needs, but the four-day Friends’ Annual Book Sale was the shining case in point for her award. The Nashes began the BookSale with two tables between the stacks in the old library and offered discarded library books to patrons. They made $40 that first year. Soon growing out of that space, they headed for an empty shoe store in the mall. That year, they made $400. It wasn’t long before they began filling the Washington Civic Center each January with up to 25,000 donated books, CDs and DVDs, taking in $20,000 for Brown Library’s necessities, from furnishing, shelving and materials to children’s programs and computer equipment. The entire effort is volunteer run and requires the whole year to prepare.
In her award speech, Frannie Ashburn, former state librarian for whom the award was named last year, also admiringly cited Nash’s involvement with the Washington Garden Club which built on library grounds a quiet garden of seasonal flowers, a pergola and benches, a pleasant place to relax and read in nice weather. The Friends appropriately named the garden after the Nashes.