April Newsletter

April 2024


Dear Friends of the Library,

Who doesn’t love spring in Colorado? It is a beautiful season and an opportunity to get out and get going. Here, we highlight the many ways that the actions of volunteers affect our lives; introduce a board member with a strong family background in service to others; and offer a glimpse of a favorite book, set in India and replete with family intrigue.


Libraries + Volunteers = Success

By Vicki Urquhart

Whenever I meet someone new, we invariably talk about where we each live, work, and play, but I feel I really get to know them when they tell me where and how they volunteer. Here are a few ways to see them in action: Helping to build homes with Habitat for Humanity; walking or playing with animals at a pet shelter or fostering a pet; sewing, knitting, or finishing crafting projects; assisting  Fort Collins Trolley with its summer streetcar ridesleading city ghost tours or history walks; or serving on one of Windsor’s many different boards.

Our lives are filled with volunteers 

Who they are: If you were asked to draw a picture of a volunteer, what would it look like? It might be a stick figure of a child helping a friend, a sketch of a teenager visiting a senior, or a picture of an adult painting a home. Worldwide, there are over one billion people volunteering.

What they do: Volunteerism in America is traced to the early 1700s when Benjamin Franklin formed the Union Fire Company to address an immediate local problem--preventing massive fires in Philadelphia. Today’s volunteers face broader global challenges, such as climate change, poverty, or education. Border Angels, for example, is a non-profit based in California that focuses on immigration and advocates for refugees.

Where they areHospitals rely on volunteers to staff their gift shops or to help with clerical duties. Public and school libraries are another popular choice. When library volunteers take over routine tasks, such as shelf reading or shelving books, staff are free to focus on specialized tasks. For those who would rather be outside, there are opportunities to repair or maintain hiking trails or even join Audubon’s annual winter bird count.

When they do it: Not surprisingly, people’s interest in community engagement varies throughout their lives due to changing family and work demands. Virtual volunteering is an option growing in popularity where anyone can volunteer from nearly anywhere and anytime.

Why they do it: People often say they volunteer to make a difference or give back to their community. And there are practical reasons, such as learning about a different career, wanting to develop or freshen up their skills, or simply hoping to meet new people. And, volunteering is associated with health benefits by providing a sense of community and purpose; some say they volunteer because it feels good!

Getting started

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.” This quote, attributed to tennis legend Arthur Ashe, reminds us to start by identifying the things we already love to do. 

Are you an artist? Painted signs, windows, and murals can enhance our library, our storefronts, and our greater community.

Are you outgoing? You might enjoy working a booth at the fall festival or leading a book club.

Do you enjoy taking photographs? Use your talent to capture our work and its impact.

Are you a writer, editor, or graphic designer? Our publications can use your skills.

If you’re considering volunteering but are short on time, check out 25 Unique Volunteering Ideas for Every Schedule | DoSomething.org. Learn more about volunteering at the Clearview Library District or helping fundraise with the Friends & Foundation.


Board Member Profile - ToniRae Andres

Channeling her energy into volunteering

ToniRae Andres is a dynamo; you cannot help but feel energized when she is around. This, of course, makes her well-suited to her role as secretary of the Friends & Foundation board. A former middle-school teacher and student-teacher mentor, she and husband Curtis moved to Windsor 25 years ago, but she grew up in Pueblo and still feels a strong attachment to the area. 

ToniRae is ready to try out snowshoeing!

ToniRae attended the University of Southern Colorado, as it was then known, and studied Broad Area Social Science, earning her bachelor’s degree and a teaching license. She also attended classes at Fort Lewis College in Durango and interned one semester at the state capitol. Her teaching career began in Colorado Springs, where she and Curtis met while teaching across the hall from one another. There is a rich history in both ToniRae’s family and Curtis’s that influenced their decision to live in Northern Colorado. His grandparents had long been farmers in the area, and he had spent time here while growing up, so Windsor was  a good fit. 

The biggest influence on ToniRae’s life was her parents. Her father, former U.S. Rep. Ray Kogovsek, instilled a love of history and an interest in politics in her through family discussions with her mom and sister at the dinner table. He set an example for his young daughter of how to live a life of public service, and she learned that, “volunteering is super important.” Her mother, having returned to school to earn her master’s degree while ToniRae was in middle school, also served their community through her work with hospice clients. Not surprisingly,  when ToniRae had an opportunity to volunteer with hospice, she took it. 

A life-sized statue of former U.S. Rep. Ray Kogovsek stands in front of the Pueblo County Courthouse.

Their son Reece, now 22 years old, was born around the time that Toni Rae was completing her master’s degree. A few years later, she added a principal’s license to her credentials. After raising a family and spending 30 years in the classroom, she retired, “to do things I have never done before,” she says. This includes reading; snowshoeing; crocheting; hiking; and baking potica, a Slovenian sweet bread; in a nod to her father’s heritage. She also enjoys working on any kind of puzzle, exercises regularly, and walks the family’s two dogs.

Their son Reece, now 22 years old, was born around the time that Toni Rae was completing her master’s degree. A few years later, she added a principal’s license to her credentials. After raising a family and spending 30 years in the classroom, she retired, “to do things I have never done before,” she says. This includes reading; snowshoeing; crocheting; hiking; and baking potica, a Slovenian sweet bread; in a nod to her father’s heritage. She also enjoys working on any kind of puzzle, exercises regularly, and walks the family’s two dogs.

Today, ToniRae serves on the board of the Windsor Historic Preservation Commission in addition to the Friends & Foundation board. She is proud of the Foundation’s growth--four new members and a director have recently joined--and views these changes as positive. She envisions an even more organized, high-functioning board that will further expand fundraising and library programs.

Reflecting on her retirement thus far, she shares that she has learned to slow down and wishes she had done so more often in the past. Her drive and passion accomplished a great deal, but taking the time to savor the moment is equally rewarding. While she continues to volunteer, she is putting some of her energy into finding just the right balance.

Retirement means time for the Andres family to take in a Rockies game (or Broncos—you pick).

Six Famous Volunteers

Many past and current sports figures, actors, musicians, and writers are among the ranks of well-known volunteers; here’s a sampling:

  1. Carmelo Anthony. In 2005, the NBA star established the Carmelo Anthony Foundation to provide programs and assistance to disadvantaged youth. 
  2. Agatha Christie. Christie joined the Voluntary Aid Detachment of the Red Cross Hospital in Torquay during World War I.
  3. Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway volunteered as a Red Cross ambulance driver in Italy, transporting injured soldiers to safety during World War I
  4. Alicia Keys. After a catastrophic typhoon left millions homeless and in need of aid, she traveled to the Philippines to work directly with the young survivors there.
  5. Christopher Reeve. After being paralyzed in an accident, Reeve co-founded the Reeve-Irvine Research Center and created the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, which funds research that develops treatments and cures for spinal cord injuries.
  6. Sally Ride. America’s first female astronaut was a big supporter of the Girl Scouts. She co-founded the Girl Scouts’ Camp CEO, which paired minority girls with professional women and created her own organization, Sally Ride Science.
Sources: GreatNonprofits.org Blog, The 20 Most Charitable Musicians in the World Today (moneyinc.com)

Event Highlights

  • The Board welcomed Cayti Weber-Vowell  as the new Friends & Foundation director. Cayti is a Greeley, Colorado, native with a Master’s Degree in Communication Studies from the University of Northern Colorado. She has an extensive background in marketing, communications, graphic design, and fundraising. Cayti is a life-long lover of books and is over the moon to be working with the Foundation to support literacy programming. In her free time, she loves reading, crocheting, and spending time with her wonderful husband and two great kids. 
Our new director, Cayti, and her family.
  • Four new board members have begun serving their three-year terms: Lisa Bellendir, Wendy Niccoli, Blair Pakowski, and Tammy Randle. Welcome all!


  • April 6th marked the grand opening of the Severance branch library, and we were proud to be there for the celebration. Foundation members Cayti Weber-Vowell, Tami Bothwell, Blair Pakowski, Lisa Turk, Joann Perko, and Erica Rose got a first look at the completed building and the beautiful table that we donated. Following the ribbon cutting, there were refreshments, activities and crafts, and live music. Visit the library at 5 Timber Ridge Parkway in Severance.
Board members greeting visitors at the Severance Branch grand opening.
Ann King, Library Director, and Jeromey Balderrama, Library Board President, cutting the ribbon at the Severance Branch grand opening.
The new beautiful table the Friends and Foundation helped to purchase at the Severance branch. 
Our treasurer, Tami Bothwell, presenting Ann Kling, Library Director, with a check to help purchase the new table for the Severance branch.
anxious crowd at the Severance branch waiting for the doors to be opened for the first time.

Watch For. . .

  • Clearview Reads is almost here, and it’s not too late to purchase your tickets. Sarah Penner, author of The Lost Apothecary, will speak at Windsor High School,1101 Main St., on Saturday, April 27, 2024, from 7:00—9:00 p.m. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.


  • Expect to hear more in the coming weeks about our partnership with Dream Books. Dream Books works with community organizations, such as libraries, to collect excess books and media. Using their sorting technology, Foundation volunteers will scan and categorize books. Each pallet of books makes money that comes back to the library.  


A Note of Thanks

We would like to thank the following sponsors for their support of Clearview Reads: Edward Jones, Manweiler Appliance, Fransen Pittman, and Windsor Lake Coffee House.

To all our generous donors who have contributed to the Friends and Foundationand who continue to support our work, thank you!


A Favorite Book

By Ruth Brunner

I would be remiss if I did not list Abraham Verghese’s The Covenant of Water as one of my favorite recent reads. The story follows three generations of a family headed by matriarch Big Ammachi (Mother) who at age twelve marries into a family plagued by an unknown “condition” or fear of water. Set on South India’s coast, water is everywhere, and thus their saga begins. 

The  book spans 77 years of political and environmental events from 1890 to 1967 and describes progress made each decade in the realm of faith and human understanding, progress that is still needed today. When Mariamma, or Big Ammachi, discovers records in the family Bible of past generations who died in water-related deaths, it spurs the next generations to seek medical answers that will answer the questions around the family’s aversion to water. 

Abraham Verghese’s travails through the years in Kerala, India, had me researching his life for a fuller picture. I found that this professor of medicine writes autobiographically of his life, faith, and medical healing through the backdrop of his parent’s homeland.

The Covenant of Water is available at the library as a book, eBook, and audiobook.


Did You Know?

  • The world’s oldest bookstore, according to Guinness records, is in Lisbon, Portugal. The Livraria Bertrand opened in 1732 and is still in operation!


  • recent report from the American Library Association found that Gen Z and millennials are using public libraries at higher rates than older generations.


  • You can print out a toy from the library’s 3-D printer.

Clearview Library District Friends & Foundation