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Librarian brings speedy changes to Books-n-Bytes

Suzanne Monk discovers the perfect volunteer opportunity at Linden Ponds

Created date

September 24th, 2013
A motorcycle

After years as a volunteer librarian and then as an administrative consultant in publishing, Suzanne Monk knew her retirement years would also involve books. I had always been with books and knew that when I retired I would probably volunteer with a public library, not realizing Linden Ponds had such a great library, she says. Suzanne discovered Books-n-Bytes, Linden Ponds library, shortly after she and her husband Michael moved to the community last fall. Situated just inside the Oakleaf Clubhouse, the library is an accessible and inviting space, open round-the-clock. Plush chairs form a lounge in the entryway, and tables further inside offer ample room for sprawling with a newspaper and a cup of coffee from the nearby machine. Three computer stations lend to the Bytes name. The library s interior room is lined with shelves of neatly stacked books of various genres. Past the shelves is a desk now often occupied by Suzanne, who, this February, became responsible for the library s operations as chair of its committee of nearly 20 volunteers.

Refurbished space

Suzanne showed interest in the library just when its previous chair was ready to retire from the role and a project was beginning to renovate the space. I just felt very lucky because I knew when I moved here I had always been a volunteer it just was a perfect time for me and just an opportunity that I m so happy that came about, Suzanne says. In the months that followed, Suzanne commandeered a number of changes to make the library operate more smoothly and help patrons find what they need. Shelves of videos and audio books are now in the front room, as they are borrowed on an honor system rather than with the sign-out cards used for the rest of the library s items. In the back room, Suzanne added large letter placards to indicate the section of the alphabet housed in each row. By popular demand, Suzanne set up a romance corner with paperbacks in that genre. Suzanne worked with Linden Ponds management to have additional lighting added to the large-print section of the library. She used her computer skills to update the library s inventory, while simplifying the process for borrowing books. Meanwhile, the library underwent a makeover with new carpeting, newly painted walls, and some new chairs, with Suzanne s guidance. Suzanne is really terrific; I think we re really lucky to have her, says Jean Landmann, a former editor, who lives at Linden Ponds and visits Books-n-Bytes almost every morning to read the Wall Street Journal. It s such a pretty library.

Transferrable skills

Suzanne s background lends itself to her role at Linden Ponds. While in her 20s, she ran the volunteer library at her children s elementary school and then took a few courses in library science. After a ten-year stretch as a dental assistant, Suzanne began doing temporary jobs, among which was a position at book publisher Simon & Schuster. Suzanne was eventually hired full time as an administrative assistant at Simon & Schuster, which became Pearson. As part of her job, which she held for 21 years until retiring, Suzanne helped coordinate author events, a skill set she brought to Linden Ponds when the community hosted its first author event in the library this summer.

Beyond books

While inside the library she is all business as an efficient and dedicated leader, but Suzanne s passions extend beyond books to a more unconventional pastime: motorcycle riding. She began riding on the back of her husband Michael s bike on trips around the country for many years, until taking a two-day motorcycle training course to learn the essentials in case of an emergency. But she was hooked on the power to be in control, she says, and at age 47, she began riding on her own. A member of the Boston Area Bike Enthusiast Sisters (BABES), Suzanne transforms atop her maroon motorcycle, beneath a periwinkle blue helmet painted with her name. Here it s tough because you can only go 15 miles per hour, she jokes after a spin around the neighborhood. At Linden Ponds, Suzanne moves full speed between volunteering at the library and exercising at the fitness center. Next on her to-do list: reading.