David McKibben: Volunteer of the Year

The Mt. Lebanon Community Relations Board honored David McKibben as this year’s top community volunteer. He will be sharing his expertise on roses at the Mt. Lebanon Public Library’s garden tour, Sunday, July 14.

By one estimate, Mt. Lebanon resident David McKibben has committed an astounding 6,000 hours toward volunteering for the Mt. Lebanon Public Library. It seems impossible at first glance, but once you start tallying his contributions, the number becomes believable. Because of his immense dedication to helping one of our community’s most valuable institutions, McKibben has been awarded Mt. Lebanon’s 2019 Community Service Award.

The  award is presented annually by the Mt. Lebanon Community Relations Board.

McKibben first became a member of the Friends of the Mt. Lebanon Public Library in the 1970s but didn’t begin volunteering for the nonprofit group until 2004. He became a board member and helped launch The Book Cellar, the library’s fundraising store, which he managed for more than six years. Since 2015 he’s served as chairman of The Book Cellar coordinating committee, and he was recently elected President of the Friends of the Library.

That alone should be enough to impress anyone, but McKibben has also used his skills as an American Rose Society Consulting Rosarian to expand and improve the yearly garden tour, one of the library’s biggest events. McKibben created a series of gardening programs that tie into the tour, and every year he helps coordinate all aspects of the event. During the tour, you can find him doing everything from advising buyers at the plant sale to introducing speakers.

“He’s here a good 20 to 25 hours a week,” says Mt. Lebanon Library Director Robyn Vittek. “He’s completely enmeshed in what we do, and I can’t even imagine the library without him. Vittek specifically highlighted McKibben’s work with the Friends of the Library, saying the fundraising organization “really makes the library what it is.”

McKibben calls the library one of the great unsung community resources and says he started devoting his time to volunteering for the library because of a general love of books and reading and learning new things.

“I thought it was a good way to stay involved with the community,” he says, before adding with a chuckle, “It’s better than just playing golf and going on vacation.”

McKibben, along with his wife, Cecelia, have been residents of Mt. Lebanon for more than 40 years. He is a retired pediatric dentist and lives in the Cedarhurst neighborhood.

Photos by Linda Hackett