It may be small, but the Elfrida Library has proved to be mighty, thanks to its band of volunteers.

At its annual awards ceremony on November 8, the Arizona Library Association recognized the team as its 2019 Volunteer of the Year, beating off stiff competition from across the state.

Volunteers Mary Waters, Joyce Irwin, and Kay Barnes accepted their award at a special event in Tucson. Longtime volunteer Curtis Waters was unable to attend but was recognized as a key member of the team.

Elfrida Branch Manager Stephanie Fulton nominated the volunteers because she believes they play a vital community role.

“The volunteers have an integral part in keeping the library open,” she said. “This includes carrying out library operations, helping with programs, and maintaining the facility. They are a small but dedicated group of people who are passionate about the library and its role in the community, and they want to help it continue to make an impact for Elfrida’s citizens.”

The Elfrida Library is a branch of the Cochise County Library District, with a part-time branch manager as its sole staff member. The library is open 20 hours per week and offers a wide range of services to the public.

During the 2018-19 fiscal year, the library circulated more than 10,000 items, hosted 4,642 visits, and had 701 participants in 42 library events. The library also provided more than 4,400 computer and wi-fi sessions to the local community. The four volunteers donated 444 hours of their time to help support all this activity.

“We are very proud of the Elfrida Library and the wonderful group of volunteers who help keep the library running,” said Library District Director Amadee Ricketts. “They are outstanding representatives of the Elfrida community and demonstrate the vital importance of volunteers in rural libraries.”

The Friends of the Cochise County Library District helped honor the group by providing “Volunteer of the Year” t-shirts and sending the team out for a celebratory meal after the awards ceremony.

For more information about the Elfrida Library, visit or call 520-642-1744. Learn more about countywide library services at


Photo: Volunteer Mary Waters, Elfrida Library Branch Manager Stephanie Fulton, and volunteers Kay Barnes and Joyce Irwin