A good 'Friend' of local libraries takes leave
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Woodstock - posted Tue., Sep. 3, 2013
Suzanne Zinnkosko doesn't just believe in books, she's made it her mission to extend the life of every book she can get her hands on. And she's gotten her hands on quite a few. As president of the Friends of the Killingly Library, she and her group have turned those books into more than $5,500. And that is just in the last three months.
KPL Assistant Director Laura Zipkin called Zinnkosko a bundle of energy. “She believes in books and libraries,” Zipkin said. “Her experience with Friends groups across the country enabled Killingly Friends to do more and raise more money. Her sheer energy was infectious.”
Zinnkosko brings a unique set of skills and life experiences to her position. She's a Brit married to a U.S. Coast Guardsman. They have had to move often. Fellow Friend John Ferland believes those two factors alone help her to see needs from a different perspective and to act quickly. “She was always moving, always pulling up stakes. She knows she doesn't have much time in any one location,” Ferland said. “She knew if you didn't take the opportunity when it knocked, it might not come back.”
Her involvement with Friends got started because of her love of books, but it evolved as she saw the need. “The need motivated me,” she said. Those needs haven't always been about books, Ferland said. She helped whomever she could. “That was just the way she was,” Ferland said.
She traveled far and wide in her search for books. Ferland traveled some of those miles with her. “I must have driven 2,000 miles getting books,” he said. “She put together this tight little team of people who were willing to work and volunteer just for the joy of doing it.”
For Ferland and the group of volunteers who know her, that joy will be a bittersweet one in the coming month, as Zinnkosko takes her leave of the area. Duty has called her husband Eric to a new location. No doubt she will bring her love of books to a Friends' group in her new hometown. And there's no doubt among the friends she leaves behind that her new home will soon collect a bounty of books for other book sales.
North Woodstock Library Director Priscilla Cady remembers the first time she met Zinnkosko. “Her garage was full of books awaiting the next sale,” Cady said. “She was constantly collecting books.”
And she was constantly showing support to other Friends groups, said Ferland. “She'd say, 'You have to support the other libraries, too.' She'd want us to go to all the functions. She'd say, 'Someone has to represent us. We have to let them know we care about them, that we support them.'”
“We're going to miss her,” Ferland said.