Q: How long have you been volunteering with the Friends?
A: I started volunteering at the bookstore last summer when Cyndi Bloom, the Friends Board president, introduced me there. I had been looking to do volunteer work and always had a love for learning and books so I joined the Friends soon afterwards. I have recently started helping with online sales at the bookstore. I also signed up to greet guests at the Brazilian Voices music event sponsored by the Friends, which took place at the downtown library on September 7th. I am from Brazil, and the Brazilian Voices event was an unforgettable experience, with talented singers and a full auditorium.
Q: What's your favorite thing about volunteering at the bookstore?
A: My favorite thing about volunteering at the bookstore is meeting people. Everyone has something interesting to share about books and their experiences. So many people tell me how much they love the bookstore. When I first started volunteering, I was amazed at the amount of donations received. It is wonderful to see the donations coming in for the enjoyment of everyone, and the events and programs put on by dedicated volunteers.
Q: What are your favorite books that the bookstore sells and why?
A: I read fiction and nonfiction. The books that mostly make an impression on me are very old published books. I am a fan of the Travels of Marco Polo. The book was written by Marco Polo's cell mate, while both were in prison in Italy around year 1300. Marco Polo was an Italian merchant who traveled the Middle East, Asia and China. The stories he brought back were considered at the time an exaggeration of his imagination. Marco Polo documented encounters with big serpents that swallowed men ( these were crocodiles unknown in Europe at the time). He also described encountering cities with homes heated by black stones which burned like logs and were so plentiful that everyone had hot baths three times a week. The black stones were coal, unknown in Europe until the 18th century!
Another mesmerizing book is Lucretius on the Nature of Things, written 2100 years ago. It is a poem not easy to read but amazing for its time as Lucretius explains that everything in the universe is made of particles and atoms, moving to form complex structures and then breaking apart in a never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.
Q: What is something people might not know about you?
A: I was born in south Brazil, in a town named Porto Alegre. The name means "Happy Port" in Portuguese. It was founded by immigrants from the Azores islands in the 1700s. My parents are Italians from Florence and Turin who fell in love with Brazil and took residence there. I came to the U.S. to study at the University of South Florida. Most of my professional career has been with IBM where I worked for 31 years in the personal computer division, and managing services for Latin America.
Q: What do you think is an underused feature of the library?
A: The library offers free access to more than 80 online language courses through Transparent Language Online. You can learn a new language through its interactive games and learning materials viewable on your computer, or it can be downloaded as an app to an Android or I-phone. The materials are presented in several steps showing the native sentence and the English translation. It is a great tool. It can be access through the eLibrary of the Boca Raton Public Library here.