Paula and Sonnie

The Buddy System at its Best

Paula and Sonnie have been a team since the first day Sonnie came to the Cottonwood library as a new volunteer.

 “We’ve always worked together. She taught me everything.”  Sonnie is quiet, but they're so in sync that often you get the feeling Paula is answering for her as well.  Sonnie nods at each answer and adds a thought, Paula expands on it.  It’s like watching a well choreographed dance.  Sonnie, formerly a bank teller in her professional life, has got call numbers down so well, she can work two sides of the stacks at the same time.  Paula is a word woman, reading and remembering titles and authors.  Together they move efficiently through their task, both with an innate sense of order and a system honed by years of library partnership. They are something to behold. Although she’s happy among columns and tables, Sonnie has a real love for animals. All animals. She pet-sits everything from dogs to horses, even the occasional duck. Paula has done a wide variety of things.  Her careers run the gamut between hospice care and paralegal work to nursing and insurance. “The only thing I did purposely was work only part time,” Paula tells me, “so that I could be there for my family. 

Both of them, at the core, have a sense of how to help other living beings, to caregive the community. So why the library as their choice of volunteer work?  They love to read, of course. Sonnie is an extraordinary reader, going through a stack a week  even with her other commitments.  She has loved books for as long as she can remember. It’s a long and happy relationship. “The first thing I thought when I came into the library to volunteer was, ‘ “I’ve gotta read all these books!’”

Paula’s own grandmother, who was born in 1890, started a library, and her mother followed suit as a volunteer, so it’s a multigenerational endeavor. 

Book of choice?  Not possible to answer, they agree, there are too many, but they both love a good mystery. “We’ve read so many we could commit the perfect crime,” Sonnie tells me laughing.

 “Being careful not to leave our fingerprints in the tape used to label books,” adds Paula.

I’m sure they could solve one between the two of them. What is the best part of working together?

“We get a lot done,” Sonnie tells me, “And we’re very compatible.”

“It’s nice to be able to socialize on our own terms,” Paula adds.It’s true. The library is the perfect place to work together with someone you care about: husband and wife teams, a chance to spend more time with your sister or best friend, or time to get to know your child better and learn something together. 

Or you might be lucky enough to find the perfect partner already waiting for you here, but it won't be Sonnie or Paula. They’re sticking together for life.

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