“I’ve never been much for the spotlight.”
by Sarah Binns
For this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, I was delighted to interview someone whose studious work ethic and generosity is familiar: Tim Feliciano, search assistant at Northwest Library, began working at that library in 2014 around the same time I did. For a fun- and book-filled couple of years, Tim and I were a team, dividing up the paging list, fulfilling holds, and having a grand time.
“I wasn’t sure I’d like volunteering at the library,” he remembers. “I wasn’t sure I could get through the long paging list, but then you came on and we developed a system.” The rest is history! Though I am no longer there, Tim continues as a search assistant and also shelves holds, weeds out old books, and even does book repair. “It’s a recent promotion,” he laughs. “When people take a book to the beach and it gets sandy, the binding falls apart. So I re-glue the binding on books like that or get liquid spills off covers.”
Born and raised in Portland, Tim’s path to library volunteering is unexpected. After attending PSU, OHSU, and University of Texas Medical Branch he worked at the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in North Portland for 27 years. “I did everything from assisting at the blood bank to working on tissue typing for transplants. I enjoyed it a lot because I was behind the scenes. I’ve never been much for the spotlight.”
Along the way he met the person who would change his life—and his library habits—for good: “I met my wife Susan at a ballroom dance class about 30 years ago.”
“It was an intermediate swing class,” Susan adds. Susan Smallsreed is the Youth Librarian at Northwest Library, so Tim’s volunteer gig is all in the family. After retiring from the Red Cross, he says, “I needed things to do when you can’t play golf and the weather is bad, so I do things like bowling and pulling books at the library!”
Despite Susan’s library connection, Tim says he doesn’t read much besides the dictionary and technical or medical textbooks, which he memorizes thanks to a semi-photographic memory. He never stops learning, though, and is currently taking a PCC Italian language class to prepare for his and Susan’s trip to Italy in November. It will be a well-deserved vacation for one of Northwest’s longest-serving volunteers!
A few facts about Tim
Home library: Northwest
Favorite book from childhood: “For me it was Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, those all ends well fantasies. For my kids it was Where the Sidewalk Ends.”
Most influential book: The Baltimore Catechism. “I studied that for two or three years.”
Favorite book as an adult: Any action adventure books by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown
Book that made him laugh: Growing up Catholic and They Kill Managers, Don’t They? “I thought, ‘this may help me’!”
E-reader or paper? Large print paper books