The story behind the creation of a new library at Dolores Mission Elementary School has two distinct chapters — but both reflect a theme of volunteers giving back to the community.For starters, organizing a library was the farthest thing from the minds of parishioners at Holy Family Church. Since 2004, a volunteer tutor ministry has introduced parishioners at the South Pasadena church to the students at the low-income school. This one-on-one program started with three tutors, mainly retired folk with a teaching background, says Diane Sternal, parishioner who helps coordinate the program. “The program has grown so much that today we have 14 volunteers,” she says. Volunteers take a child out of the classroom to a community room where they help the student with reading, math or whatever subjects they want.But three years ago, those original volunteers stumbled upon a cache of books stashed away in a little room near the school cafeteria. “There were so many books! Boxes full, books strewed everywhere, collapsed bookcases,” says Sternal who added that many of the books “were in great condition and beautiful.”Soon, the volunteers started rearranging the little space, propping up the bookcases, cleaning and organizing the books. “We got the idea that these books would make the great beginning of a library,” says Sternal.With the blessing of the pastor and principal, volunteers began cataloguing books in the classic Dewey Decimal system, with valuable assistance from Sharon DeBriere, a retired LAUSD teacher who has developed libraries in the past. It took volunteers about two years to organize the mountain of books that had been donated to the school.“We also had a book drive at our parish for the library, and the Christ Child [Society] also purchased new books for the library,” says Sternal.The library’s next chapter featured Boy Scout Matthew Helgeson who was looking for an appropriate Eagle Scout project. His family, parishioners at Holy Family, had seen requests for books and help at Dolores Mission library — but the announcement for help creating bookcases is when Matthew took notice.“We really thought this would be a good project for Matthew because it would be meaningful for him,” says mom Diane. “Also, it was special for me because my family grew up in East L.A. and I went to grade school in the area. This was a way for us to give back to our family’s roots.”Matthew agreed and made all the arrangements to create appropriate bookcases for the library. “I had never built anything before and it was quite an endeavor,” he says about the six cases (6 feet tall and 3 feet wide) that were constructed under his leadership. Four were built from scratch and two were refurbished pieces that were donated by another parishioner.Assisted by his troop and scout parents (including a general contractor), Matthew organized a building weekend in June at his house, carefully gathering materials, scheduling workers and prepping for the project. On those days, about 20 youngsters and 10 adults rolled up their sleeves to cut, saw, sand and nail together the bookcases. Afterward, the finished pieces were loaded into a truck (courtesy of a scout dad) and brought to the school, where the book organizing continued throughout the summer but was reaching its inevitable end.On Oct. 3, the library was officially dedicated at the school, as Holy Family volunteers joined Dolores Mission students, faculty and staff to congratulate Matthew on a job well done. It was the first time Matthew, now a freshman at Pasadena City College, had seen his bookcases filled with books. “It felt so good to provide these bookcases to the kids,” he says. “I saw photos of all the books in disarray before the project began. They really needed these cases and it feels pretty good to be able to give something that someone really needs. I love books and it feels good to share that love with other kids.”{gallery width=100 height=100}gallery/2011/1014/sgdolores/{/gallery}