Volunteer Spotlight – Michele Weiss

Introducing Michele Weiss

Michele began volunteering with the Alviso Branch as a Friend of the Library three years ago. She is now the Acting President and Treasurer! In addition, Michele leads the monthly Alviso Book Club meetings. Michele’s initiative and love of reading spurred her on to start the book club. When the pandemic hit, all programming went virtual. Michele met the technology challenge enabling her to facilitate virtually. We are lucky to have her as our volunteer!

Submitted by Librarian, Shirley Tanase from the Alviso Branch Library

A Chat with Michele

As a child... my earliest memories are at family gatherings at my grandparents’ farm. I was the oldest grandchild so there were a lot of extended family members with many aunts, uncles and cousins.

My first job... was in Indiana detasseling corn at the age of 15. Farmers need their corn detasseled to produce corn seeds for the next growing season. It is very hard work in the sun. Often the humidity was around 85% with temperatures in the nineties!

My fondest memory... I have two memories. One being the first time I got to hold my granddaughter and the other, holding my grandson for the first time.

I am most proud of... in addition to my family, one personal achievement has been writing and publishing six books. As a member of Sisters in Crime, an organization of women who write mysteries, I was encouraged to publish my books.

My biggest challenge... I’ve worked for 52-53 years and I miss work. Not that I want something full-time. It’s a challenge for me to think of myself as retired. I used to volunteer with the Friends of the Alviso Branch sorting books. Now that I don’t have that, I really miss that work.

My role model... was my parents. My mother and father were married when they were very young, during WWII. They had kids when they were young. My father was a ceramic tile contractor. Both my father and mother worked so hard. When they were able to earn enough money, they traveled the world from Canada to Australia. They were incredible people. They were like one person. I never saw a disagreement between them about parenting. My father was way ahead of his time. Back in 1959/1960 he wanted his daughters to be independent, to have a career.

My community... is diverse and I really enjoy that so much. All of the languages, the diversity is so important. My granddaughter is in a Spanish immersion school. Speaks like a native. Growing up in Indiana was so white. It wasn’t until I was 19 or 20 years old and moved away that I understood the different cultures.

Libraries are... one of the most important things in my life/community. It has always been that way. From 5th grade to high school I was always taking books home. It’s been the most important thing to me in my life.

My favorite books... are, “Gone with the Wind” and “The Godfather”. Both are very different but both are family oriented.

If I had a superpower, it would be... I would really like to be able to help everyone with their reading because I think reading is a super power. I would also like to stop the unrest in the world right now.

I volunteer... with the Friends of the Library. I volunteered with the Willow Glen Branch Library from 1997-1998, then the Sacramento Public Library and then finally at the Alviso Branch Library.

If I weren't volunteering, I'd be... working some kind of part time job.