'Lifeline' home-delivery book program expands to Wallaceburg

More people who can't visit the library will have access to books as Wallaceburg becomes the latest community to launch home service, through the local branch of the Chatham-Kent Public Library.

The service is provided to residents who are unable to get to the library due to factors like age or illness. Materials are picked up by a family member or friend, or can be delivered by volunteers. 

"A lot of people can't make it into the library, so we want to make sure that we're providing service to all residents," said Stacey VanDaele, branch head for Wallaceburg.

According to VanDaele, most of the people who use home service in Wallaceburg are elderly, and they're checking out large-print and audio material.

50 customers a month in Windsor

The Windsor Public Library has been offering home service since 1980 and the popularity surprises even library CEO Kitty Pope.

"We have 50 customers on a regular cycle every month," said Pope. Those customers get two visits a month from one of ten library volunteers.

Submitted by Karen Thompson

"They deliver 10 to 20 items per customer," said Pope. "The customer might say 'I really like reading large print mysteries' and so the volunteer will pick out titles and deliver them."

She says the volunteers always try to add a few extra "surprise" books a customer might like. 

"I think [our customers] miss that opportunity to actually select books from shelves, so we try to bring back some of that satisfaction with a few extra books delivered," said Pope.

Between 'FRED' (WPL's mobile library) and the home service, hundreds of people who can't make it to a library branch have access to library materials.

"This is, in many cases, a lifeline for [our customers]," said Pope, adding that volunteers and customers often become friends. 

In Windsor, though staffed by volunteers, the library pays for mileage and in-branch librarians assist with book selection.