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Scott Peterson - Volunteer

Tell us how you first got involved with Denver Public Library Friends Foundation?

I recently retired from a 25-year career as a social worker and was looking for an opportunity to work in Denver on behalf of the community. Libraries have long been a positive, enriching part of my life. I believe in the mission of Denver Public Library (DPL) and value its commitment to welcoming all people. I found the posting for volunteers on the DPL website, applied, and a short time later I started in the Red Chair Book Shop.  I have also begun listing books to the DPLFF Amazon Used Book site.

What’s one of your first memories of volunteering with us? 

On my first day in the Book Shop I was shadowing Jerry, a longtime volunteer. Tony, a regular customer of the Book Shop, stopped in as he does every week. We had a great conversation, he picked-up some DVD’s, and I’ve seen him pretty much every week since. When Tony and I first met I remember thinking to myself, “This is why I’m here.”

When you volunteer how does it make you feel?

I feel connected to something that has a meaningful impact in our community and to the mission of DPL. I feel like I’m able to give something back to an organization that has given a great deal to me. And I love books!

What do you wish other people knew about DPLFF?

The Red Chair Book Shop is one of Denver’s best kept secrets – a nice place to browse, spend time, find a great book, and support DPL all at the same time.

When your friends and family find out you volunteer for DPLFF what do they say?

Most people find it really interesting and are regular users of DPL themselves. They often thank me, tell me how much they value their branch library, and a few have expressed interest in volunteering themselves…I hope they do.

What would we be surprised to learn about you? 

Between 2005-2009, while working with Heartland Alliance International in Iraq, I served as a trainer and consultant for the Iraq Integrated Torture Treatment Project through which we established treatment services throughout Iraq for victims of torture.

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering for DPLFF?

Give it a try. It is a great experience, a nice way to be involved in the community, to discover new books, and to learn about the mission and contribute to the work of DPL.

If you weren’t volunteering for us what would you be doing instead? 

Spending time with Callie & Goldie, our two 8-year-old Bernese Mountain Dog rescues…or riding my bike. A lot.

What are you currently reading? 

I’m reading Apeirogon: A Novel by Colum McCann, in which he tells the story of two men, an Israeli and a Palestinian, and their families as they go about their lives in the midst of all that has been, is, and will be in the region. Among the many threads in the novel is the founding of Combatants for Peace, a non-profit, volunteer organization of ex-combatant Israelis and Palestinians, men and women, who have laid down their weapons and rejected all means of violence. They are working together to end the occupation of Palestine, bring peace to the land, and demonstrate that Israelis and Palestinians can work and live together. In 2018, my wife and I participated in a trip to Israel and Palestine, hosted by Combatants for Peace. Like McCann, we were encouraged by their willingness to share their stories with the world, by their hope that if they could see themselves in one another, perhaps others could too.