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19 December 2008

CGS Mailing Committee

Six times a year a small committee at CGS meets to put the finishing touches on the CGS Newsletter and to insure its delivery to the mailboxes of almost 1000 members and libraries around the world. The Mailing Committee, chaired by Nancy Hart Servin, is a group of nimble-fingered volunteers who attach the mailing labels to the newsletters (which come folded from the printer) and add seals to keep them closed. Oh, and they are FAST! The committee meets at 9:30 a.m. and gets started with their work at 10:00 a.m. I almost missed getting these photos because I didn't show up until noon.

The proverb states "Many hands make light work" – in this case there are a dozen hands belonging to Mary Beth Frederick, Pat Gallagher, Mary Limosner, Nancy Servin and Bob Sweeney. Anne Cyr prints the mailing labels but does not attend the mailing session. Nancy cautioned me that the work of the committee is not a slap-dash process and that there is more to the process than one might think. "It's not the sexiest job at the library but it is an essential one, requiring speedy but accurate hands. The post office is very specific about bulk mail and requires that the newsletters are kept in order by zip code."

Bob Sweeney and Mary Limosner

All the members agree that the best part of belonging to the Mailing Committee is the camaraderie that has developed among them. Pat Gallagher offered this: "As we fold, peel and stick we fall into conversation about our own work and discoveries, ask questions, offer recommendations, tell stories – a little like the quilting circles of yore. We've been helped along by Nancy's provision of coffee and Bakesale Betty's fabulous scones."

Each of the members expressed appreciation of Nancy's contributions to the committee. Mary Beth Frederick noted "Nancy's the one who does the real work, keeping us on track and making sure that we don't scramble the zip codes."

Pat Gallagher and Nancy Hart Servin

Most of the members of the Mailing Committee have other jobs that they do for the society. Mary Limosner is part of the Desk Duty team and does some shelf reading. Mary Beth Frederick is part of the French-Canadian group and she recently taught one of the First Free Saturday beginning genealogy classes. It's not part of the usual service, but she's continued "tutoring" two of the attendees since the class. Nancy Servin serves on the Membership Committee – sending out renewal forms and emails and tracking membership records.

Bob Sweeney likes the fact that the committee's work keeps him coming to the library on a regular basis. A member of CGS since 1980, Sweeney was very involved with producing the two-day CGS family history fairs that were held annually for about fifteen years. Besides creating signs, setting up, tearing down and doing other logistical work for the two-day events, Bob would telephone literally every member of the society to enlist the army of volunteers needed.

Bob Sweeney, Mary Limosner, Mary Beth Frederick and Pat Gallagher.

When the committee finishes the labeling and sorting process, CGS Newletter Editor Jane Hufft picks up the loaded trays and she and Nancy transport them to the post office.

Jane sent this description: "It takes two of us to get the mail to the post office, because together we can remember the route. Nancy is a good story teller, and she sometimes has me listening so intently I run red lights, but so far the newsletters have arrived at the post office intact. Nancy has incredible patience for the bureacracy at the post office – all I have to do is sign my name once, hang on to my car keys, and drive, and I don't always do that very well. And Bob Sweeney always helps us load my car."

Photographs by Kathryn Doyle, 12/15/2008.