Giving ‘help where help is needed’ - Carol Rech, 2022 Volunteer of the Year

Carol Rech

Library volunteers help in departments all across the library to serve the Arlington Heights community, and it’s because of their contributions that the library is able to provide services that would otherwise not be possible. Carol Rech, the library’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year, believes that volunteering is as simple as “giving back or stepping in to help where help is needed.” 

Rech has done just that; contributing 636 hours of service this past year, achieving both the 1,500 and 2,000 hours of service milestones.  

Volunteering is something that has always been a part of Rech’s life – as a sophomore in college she volunteered for the March of Dimes, a nonprofit organization that works to improve the health of mothers and babies, and she has continued to regularly volunteer at her church. After her retirement, she officially began working as a volunteer at the library in 2016, and to date has contributed a total of 2,040 volunteer hours. 

Rech began volunteering with the Friends of the Library, initially working as a cashier for the Friends’ book sales. She still volunteers with the Friends, and now volunteers with the library’s Collection Services department as well, helping with the library’s withdrawals. 

Withdrawals refers to the process when library items are taken off the shelves and later donated to the Friends of the Library or other organizations such as Better World Books. 

Those who work with Rech have spoken positively about her strong work ethic and her friendly, positive attitude. 

“She prices [items] for the book sales held by [the Friends], helps with the book sale committee, helps with all the sales events, babysits for a neighbor’s child, is a trustee for her condo association and so many more,” said Cataloging Assistant Arathi Jaishankar, who oversees Rech’s work in Collection Services. “She dons many hats in her roles and performs them well.” 

“I think with anything, we don’t always think about all the work that goes on behind the scenes. When you come to the library and you see all those books on shelves or all those computers or now the Library of Things, you just come in and check out what you want. You don’t realize how many steps it’s taken for those things to end up on those shelves, or how many people it takes to make it all work together smoothly. That there’s a real community that goes on,” Rech said. “The sense of community you get volunteering with an organization or a group just can't be beat. It's a good thing.” 

Volunteer of the Year is a one-time award given to the volunteer who has contributed the greatest number of hours during the previous year and has not yet previously received the award. Learn more about the library’s volunteer opportunities at