Scottsdale Salutes: library volunteer Joan Leavitt

Joan Leavitt (submitted photo)

Joan Leavitt (submitted photo)

The multifaceted operation of the library depends on many people.

For the library’s donations center, it is Scottsdale resident and volunteer Joan Leavitt who puts in hard work to keep the flow of incoming donated books under control.

With the help of others, Ms. Leavitt sorts through donated items, makes decisions on what to keep, what to put in the Library Shops and what to send to partners who sell items online.

Ms. Leavitt moved to Scottsdale in 2005 to seek better health, and wanted to become a volunteer. She also volunteers at her church library.

Ms. Leavitt has been volunteering with the Scottsdale Public Library since January 2007. She started out doing a variety of duties such as shelving books, stepping in as a receptionist and boxing up rented books to be shipped. She began working in the donations department in 2008.

“I love volunteering at Civic Center Library,” said Ms. Leavitt. “It’s like a second home for me.”

Ms. Leavitt now works at the Civic Center Library twice a week. Her duties include going through donated adult books, in addition to maintaining the Library Shop by setting prices and managing inventory.

“I enjoy what I do,” said Ms. Leavitt. “In addition, what really ties it all together, is it’s just a really nice environment to work in because of the people.”

Ms. Leavitt enjoys her co-workers and the library patrons. Reviewing book donations with her fellow volunteers often leads to humorous moments.

“We will laugh about things people leave in books or funny books titles,” said Ms. Leavitt. “People leave things from pictures to strange bookmarks, love letters and Dear John letters.”

“One time someone left a picture in a book and it was of an open casket.”

Reviewing donated literature keeps the volunteers busy.

“I’ll walk in and there will be so many books on the shelves and bags of books everywhere,” said Ms. Leavitt. “You’ll just want to fall over.”

Although it isn’t always overwhelmingly busy, Ms. Leavitt said donations come in seven days a week. Scottsdale residents can make donations at bins inside and outside of the library.

To volunteer with the city of Scottsdale visit

To nominate a Scottsdale volunteer for Scottsdale Salutes e-mail

Northeast Valley News Editor Melissa Rosequist can be e-mailed at or can be followed on Twitter at

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