Think of them as the “tag team” of Cluster Tutoring librarians.
Mary Sue Voth and Debbie Morris both wanted to volunteer their time and talents at Cluster Tutoring. But both realized that busy travel schedules for family, teaching, and pleasure wouldn’t allow them to make a weekly commitment to one student. So both serve as librarians on Thursday nights: sometimes together, when they’re both available, but often one at a time, when the other one is out of town. This is the second year at Cluster for both women, who are retired.
Mary Sue has a master’s degree in library science and spent much of her career as a school librarian and reading teacher. She also has a certification as a Master Teacher and taught overseas in Germany.
“I love books,” she said.
Debbie doesn’t have any formal training as a librarian, but she worked in libraries in high school and college. Her main career was working for many years in a variety of administrative positions for the Reformed Church in America, jobs that in some ways have a similar skill set to running a library.
“I’m enjoying this very much,” Debbie said, adding that she’s found it fun to work with the other members of the tutoring staff.
“I really enjoy the kids,” Debbie said. “They’re so sweet. It’s great just being able to help out.”
Both librarians direct students and tutors toward grade-level-appropriate books, help them find educational material and supplies, and check to make sure that books haven’t been returned to the wrong shelves. They also help student-tutor pairs with laptop computers and tablets.
As a teacher, Mary Sue once ran a computer lab, although she admits it’s not her area of expertise. “Sometimes the kids just need help getting started or getting something printed,” she said.
Mary Sue sometimes combines teaching with travel. As a volunteer, she has taught classes in conversational English in several countries, including Crete, Italy, Mexico, and Portugal. The classes offer her a chance to explore more parts of the world as well as pass on some knowledge.
At this point, more of Debbie’s travel involves visiting family members.
“We’re a good team,” Mary Sue said. “I would rather collaborate with someone than try to do this all myself.”
Debbie agreed. “So far,” she said, “we’ve done really well.”
And speaking of collaboration: There’s actually a third member of their library tag team. When both Mary Sue and Debbie can’t make it to tutoring, Paulette Cary fills in as Thursday tutoring librarian. Tutors and students alike appreciate the efforts of all three women.