Douglas County Library volunteer Thor Chellstorp took a Chilton’s Auto Repair Manual from a cart and looked the cover over to see if it needed cleaning.
“People will cook with a cookbook and leave food on it, or they’ll use an auto mechanics book and get grease on it,” said Chellstorp, who ended his service last week after years of helping the library stay tidy.
He and his wife, Sally, will move to Spokane to be near their daughter. They say they’ll miss their friends and the weather. Thor Chellstorp will, no doubt, miss working among the bookshelves.
“The library was his world,” said Sally Chellstorp, who accompanied her husband and helped him shelve books on his last day.
For nearly 14 years, Chellstrop, an 81-year-old retired electrical engineer, came to the Roseburg branch one day a week. He was one of more than 50 volunteers who donate 500 hours each month at the Roseburg branch.
“Thor is such a cool guy,” said Francesca Brady, a circulation department employee who oversees the library’s volunteers.
Brady said Chellstrop offered useful suggestions, such as making sure library classification numbers on the spine of biographies didn’t cover the subject’s name. After making the change, library patrons no longer had to pull a book off the shelf to see who it was about. Other times, he questioned whether the classification number was correct.
“It made me know he’s aware of all that and that he doesn’t just put the books on the shelf,” Brady said.
Volunteers shelve at least half of the books returned to the Roseburg library.
“I can’t say enough about them. They’re wonderful, wonderful people,” she said.
Most volunteers begin by shelving fiction books because they’re simply arranged in alphabetical order. Nonfiction books are more complicated, classified under 10 subject areas of the Dewey Decimal System. Chellstorp did so well on an entry test that he was immediately assigned to the nonfiction stacks.
The Chellstorps have resided on Whistlers Lane outside Glide for 19 years, after retiring from Seattle. Sally Chellstorp is also a veteran volunteer. The former Internal Revenue Service employee has volunteered with the Tax-Aide program, which helps taxpayers fill out state and federal tax returns.
Library Director Max Leek presented Chellstorp with a certificate of appreciation for his service to the library.
“For all the years you’ve given to the community, we appreciate your work,” Leek told Chellstorp.
Although the Chellstorps said they will miss Douglas County, they also look forward to being part of a retirement community where they won’t have so many chores.
“Now, someone else will mow the lawn and take care of a downed tree and work on the irrigation system,” Thor Chellstorp said. “However, we’re not going to leave forever. We’ll come back to visit.”
• You can reach reporter John Sowell at 541-957-4209 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The library was his world.
Thor Chellstorp’s wife