By Sean Wardwell
Killeen Daily Herald
Beverly Kittinger loves books. In fact, her life is books. The 71-year-old volunteers with both the Killeen Public Library and the Friends of the Killeen Public Library.
"I've been a reader since I was a child. I never really played with dolls. Even today, I don't go anywhere without a book," she said, adding she even makes it a point to visit the libraries of cruise ships while on vacation.
Kittinger, who spent a 23-year career as a librarian in locations ranging from Fort Polk, La., to here in Killeen, said she enjoys sharing her love of books with other patrons and raising funds for the library's youth programs.
"I always like to see what people are reading," she said. "(Patrons and I) talk about what the latest books are. They've even put me on to some books I haven't read."
Kittinger's knowledge of books comes in handy when the Friends of the Killeen Public Library holds its annual book sale. Kittinger is responsible for helping to sort and select what goes out for sale.
"Those sales provide money for the summer reading program, along with gifts and prizes," she said, adding that 90 percent of proceeds from Friends of the Library events goes to children's programs.
"It's a passing of book knowledge," she said. "I love knowing I'm helping the children's program."
Kittinger spent 17 years at the Killeen Public Library, retiring five years ago. She returned to volunteer because she missed the experience and wanted to work on some unfinished projects, such as the library's geology database, along with other databases.
Library staff said her volunteering allows a popular library feature to continue.
"We found the databases are extremely popular with people. We don't have the staff to update them," said Dawn Harris, assistant director for the library's main branch.
"If she wasn't here doing that, it would probably be a task we could not get to - at least not at the level she dedicates to it," said Harris.
Kittinger described herself as an "eclectic reader," enjoying everything from fiction to nonfiction to biographies.
"It's anything that catches my attention or sounds interesting," she said.
One thing she hasn't warmed up to, however, is using electronic tablets like the Kindle or Nook for reading.
"I'm still a book person. I like the feel of a book in my hand," she said.
Contact Sean Wardwell at firstname.lastname@example.org or (254) 501-7552. Follow him on Twitter at KDHcity.
To become involved with the Friends of the Killeen Public Library, contact the library's main branch at 501-8990.