Service Bringing Books Supports Readers at Home
A doorstep book drop-off service in South Tyneside is being expanded to help support more people to continue reading at home.
The Home Reader Library Service provides a book lending facility for older residents and those who are unable to visit the library in person for whatever reason and has continued to operate throughout the coronavirus pandemic.
Now South Tyneside Council is extending the service to reach out to other people who are vulnerable, isolating or feel particularly nervous about leaving the house at this time.
Councillor Joan Atkinson, Deputy Leader of South Tyneside Council with responsibility for culture and leisure, said: "We currently provide the Home Reader Library Service to more than 400 residents, predominantly older people or those who have difficulties visiting libraries, perhaps due to mobility or health problems.
"With such a varied selection of books to help people continue reading at home, the service has been a real lifeline for many residents, particularly our most vulnerable people who may have been shielding or self-isolating and during periods of lockdown.
"Given the impact of coronavirus on our communities, we are keen to extend this service to include others who may be vulnerable or self-isolating and want to continue to get access to books, without the difficulties or the worries of leaving the house at this time."
The service offers a wide selection of books in normal and large print as well as on CD and is also available to full-time carers, sheltered housing, residential and nursing homes.
Books are specially chosen with individual readers in mind and are delivered monthly to residents' homes by a staff member.
Book deliveries, and collections, are contact-free, with readers asked to leave their books on their doorstep in a carrier bag on their set delivery day for the bags to be swapped. The books are then returned to libraries for quarantine for at least 72 hours before being placed back out on shelves.
Councillor Atkinson said: "It is important to note that there has been an incredible amount of work carried out in our libraries to enable them to reopen safely, with restrictions in place to support the rules around Hands, Face and Space.
"The measures include an appointment-only system for people visiting libraries to collect books or enjoy some time-limited computer use or browsing. Whether books are collected through the Home Reader Library Service or dropped off at library buildings, returned books are also put into quarantine before being made available to other readers. Safety remains our top priority and we continue to follow the government guidance."
The last Home Reader deliveries of 2020 will be made on 23 December, before the service resumes in the new year on Monday 4 January.
For further information about the Home Reader Library Service contact Maureen Cairns on (0191) 424 7870 or email firstname.lastname@example.org More details about South Tyneside Council's Library Service are also available at www.southtyneside.gov.uk/libraries