Book house callsThey may not cure the snowbound winter blues, but the Red Wing Public Library and Faith in Action have teamed up to offer a partial solution: Books and magazines, CDs and movie DVDs to make the long hours more enjoyable.
By: Ruth Nerhaugen, The Republican Eagle
They may not cure the snowbound winter blues, but the Red Wing Public Library and Faith in Action have teamed up to offer a partial solution: Books and magazines, CDs and movie DVDs to make the long hours more enjoyable.
People who are homebound and cannot get to the library to pick up their own reading, listening and viewing materials can get them delivered by Faith in Action volunteers.
Delivery to the homebound has been a library service for years, according to Althea Voth, administrative library supervisor in charge of the program. In more recent years, Faith in Action took over actual delivery.
Anyone with temporary or permanent limited access to the library is eligible.
"Sometimes a family member comes in," Voth said, asking if books can be brought to someone who can't get out for a time - the people may not drive, have limited mobility because of winter weather, or could be recovering from an injury.
"Age is not necessarily a factor," she noted.
And the service is free; there is no cost to the patron or to the library, since volunteers do the delivering.
Library staff will give the person an application form that asks such questions as name and location, how long the service may be needed, whether large print materials are needed, and when the best time is to call.
The library takes it from there, Voth said, making a referral to Faith in Action.
That agency matches up a volunteer with a client who needs service. Once Voth has trained them - showing them where the different materials are located in the library and what's available - the volunteers typically will call and/or visit the person to determine likes and dislikes.
Some people want only paperbacks because hardcover books are too heavy, Voth said. Some need books on CD or large-print materials.
A person might be interested in specific genre, such as mysteries, science fiction and such, or may want certain authors.
"It's all over the map," Voth said. "You get all kinds of requests."
Homebound clients can narrow their "want" lists by researching the library's collection via the Web site, www.redwing.lib.mn.us.
A bonus of Book House Calls is that many materials can be checked out for six weeks, rather than the standard two-week limit.
The service involves reading materials that are in the Red Wing library collection, not items borrowed from Southeastern Libraries Cooperating because SELCO doesn't allow materials to be checked out for six weeks. Overdue fees are not charged on Red Wing materials.
The two-week loan limit still applies to adult and juvenile videos, CDs, DVDs, books on tape and new books in the "browsing collection" located near the library's front door.
The process is simple, Voth said. The volunteer is issued a special library card he or she uses when checking out materials for a program participant.
Arrangements for delivery and return are made between the volunteer and the individual, Voth said. Usually the volunteer will deliver new items and take the old items back to the library.
The participation of Faith in Action has enhanced service to the community, Voth said. "These volunteers are trained for a lot more. They let people know about other services that are available" and can respond if they see a need.
The number of people getting Book House Calls changes all the time, Voth said. Faith in Action provides about a dozen volunteers for deliveries, but they may have several people to whom they bring library materials. People living in senior residences and nursing homes are among the clients. Often, friendships develop, she added.
"The winter months are always the higher usage," Voth said. "We're trying to let more people know this is available. This is the time of year the need is greater."