2024 Volunteers of the Year – Branches C-D

Calabazas Branch Library – Nidhi Nadgir

The Calabazas Branch is pleased to nominate volunteer Nidhi Nadgir for their Volunteer of the Year. Nidhi has been volunteering at the library for over a year, beginning as a coach in their Homework Club, then moving to helping with our STEAM Club as well. Beginning this school year, she started a weekly Fun with Physics class, bringing interactive, hands-on physics learning to elementary students. Whether tutoring, assisting, or teaching, Nidhi brings passion and connection to her work with young learners, encouraging them to grow and explore.

In addition to her work on library programs, she also serves on the Teens Reach Leadership Council and is involved in other library activities. Most recently, she created a St. Patrick’s Day Riddle Hunt, leading participants around the library to a golden treasure at the end!

The Calabazas Branch is thrilled to have Nidhi and appreciate her contributions, passion, and dedication to the library and learning in the community.

Get to know a little about Nidhi:

  • My fondest memory... is going to the library every week with my mom when I was little. We would come back with tote bags full of books, and I would be so excited that I would make a list of the order in which I wanted to read them!
  • My favorite book... is Six of Crows, by Leigh Bardugo. I love the complexities of the characters, the world-building, and how clever the writing is. The mystery is very engaging as well, and it was hard to put the book down.
  • I volunteer… to share my passions with others and contribute to our community. The amount of joy you get by connecting with other people is amazing, and it’s so fulfilling to be able to make an impact in others’ lives and learn so much while doing so.

Cambrian Branch Library – Amy

As a Library Services volunteer, Amy is diligent and hard working in her duties. Amy's volunteer work merits special recognition because she is especially expeditious and accurate in her shelving. Staff members are able to assign other important projects to her because of her efficiency. Most importantly, Amy does everything with a friendly smile! Staff often comment on how much help she is to the branch and enjoys her time at the library.

Get to know a little about Amy:

  • I am most proud of... the fact that my first ceramics club meeting was a big hit. And I had a lot of fun hosting it.
  • My biggest challenge is... not having enough time to do everything I want to do. There is just not enough time in a day sometimes.
  • If I had a superpower... it would be super speed, since you can basically do everything with it. From fast healing to almost teleporting.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – KPRR – Phoenix Forbes

The King Public Reference and Resource Unit (KPRR) at the Dr. MLK Jr. Library nominates Phoenix Forbes and her team “The Pro Bono Project for the Good of the People” for the Volunteer of the Year Award. Phoenix and her team have been volunteering their services for the Lawyers in the Library program for over half a decade. They’ve demonstrated integrity, justice, and the utmost respect for the patrons they’ve assisted. Thank you for everything!

Get to know a little about Phoenix:

  • My role model… is Dolly Parton. The Reason: Dolly provides millions of books to kids, takes great care of her staff and not to mention, she helps pay college tuition for her staff!
  • My favorite book, movie, or song… is the Outsiders (book and movie).
  • I volunteer… with Girl Scouts, local food banks (Community Services Agency), animal advocacy (dog clothes and blankets donation drives and rescues), sporting events for my children, raising funds for the Chamber of Commerce, and more.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – PAR – Yvonne Strawa

Yvonne Strawa has been a dedicated ESL and Adult Literacy tutor for Partners in Reading since 2019. She goes above and beyond when it comes to personalizing her lessons to work on the goals of her adult learners, whom she teaches twice a week at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Library. She encourages them to go out of their comfort zone to practice their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. They are improving remarkably.

Get to know a little about Yvonne:

  • As a child... I loved to read. When I was young, my TV broke and my parents did not replace it. There were no computers back then. The only things we had were books and going to the library was a family event. My reading got better, and my grades went up in school, and a whole different way of life developed for me because of books. Reading is by far my favorite pastime now.
  • My role model... is my mother. She grew up on a farm in the days when women in rural towns married at 18 and had lots of children. She left the farm and married someone who was not a farmer. As soon as she could, she got a job as a postal worker at a time when women were not in the workforce. Although she had 7 kids in 10 years, she volunteered for several organizations. At about 40 years and she went to college and got her nursing degree. She graduated from college a year before I did and worked as a nurse until retirement. Once she retired, she traveled the world. Now at 88 years old, she is facing Alzheimer's disease with courage and humor.
  • If I weren't volunteering, I'd be… reading!

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. – Youth Services – Jay Ligda

Jay is a phenomenon. He has volunteered for nearly every opportunity available in Youth Services – and dives in with enthusiasm and infectious energy. For the Children’s Room Jay has been an incredibly reliable volunteer for Wacky Wednesdays, Tip Top Thursdays, Reading Buddies and Reading to Children. Jay also recently lent his assistance to the Teen Services Department, offering his talents in co-directing their last live theatrical production CHEATING DEATH. He is great with children and families, as they can sense he genuinely cares about them – and that means the families feel welcome and return again and again thanks to Jay.

Get to know a little about Jay:

  • My first job... was a job that didn’t really feel like me. It felt like a mask I had to put on – but, now with volunteering, it really feels like I found myself in it.
  • I am most proud of... my authenticity. Because when anyone tells me I can’t be who I am, I know I don’t have to apologize for being me. And, it’s become something that I can truly say I’m proud of myself for doing.
  • I volunteer... because I love the kids I work with. A lot of them come in with such joy that it gives it to me to continue on. They spread joy without a care in the world and it is such an amazing thing. 

Dr. Roberto Cruz Alum Rock Branch Library – Alyssa Ramiscal

Alyssa first joined as a Homework Club Coach at in 2022 and has been volunteering nearly every week ever since. She is patient and kind with every child who attended. When the Branch’s Homework Club schedule changed, she shifted to supporting the library as a Library Services Volunteer, including prepping materials for their youth programs. The staff at Alum Rock Branch are overjoyed to recognize her for her dedication to serving the community.

Get to know a little about Alyssa:

  • As a child... I thought I wanted to be the president of the United States of America. I was wrong, but you know, I thought it would be cool.
  • Libraries are... a nice space to hang out with friends and get work done productively.
  • I volunteer... to feel like I’m supporting the community and being useful to society - and because it’s fun!