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News

12 May 2021

Home Library Heroes

While much of Falkirk Community Trust has been locked down during the past three months, the Home Library Service team have been working hard to provide a service to hundreds of vulnerable library users

While much of Falkirk Community Trust has been locked down during the past three months, the Home Library Service team have been working hard to provide a service to hundreds of vulnerable library users. During normal times the Home Library Service (HLS) delivers bags of personally selected books and audiobooks every three weeks to 279 users who are unable to attend a branch library, usually because of old age, physical frailty or disability. Since the changes brought about by the pandemic, the HLS has supported these traditional users, as well as a number of new users who were unable to access our physical libraries after being told to shield.

After the first lockdown, the HLS set up stringent new Health and Safety procedures for every aspect of the service, and staff quickly realised that their service was more in demand than ever from isolated community members most at risk from Covid. HLS users not only wanted books, but they also needed help with getting things like hearing aid batteries, chasing up overdue vaccination appointments, and in finding out about extra sources of support such as local befriending services. The Home Library Service worked hard as a team to meet those needs and to care for their customers when many of their normal sources of support were not available to them.

Home Library Service manager, Naomi Kenny said, ‘In addition to their usual task of choosing books and audiobooks to meet the needs of our users, the Home Library Service team have done a fantastic job signposting services for those who were isolated at home and unable to access their normal support networks, as well as delivering hearing aid batteries straight to those users who needed them. Our staff have gone above and beyond in making sure that vulnerable community members have been as supported as possible in this difficult time’.

Despite a heavy workload during the latest lockdown, the Home Library Service Team even found time to deal with an unusual request. An 11-year-old autistic boy was missing his regular library visits so much that his mum reached out to the Home Library Service to ask if he could get a delivery to help lift his mood during lockdown.

The team were happy to help and his mum said afterwards: ‘Thank you so much for the delivery to F, he was so excited. It really made his day to get a great selection of books to read to keep him going until libraries reopen’
“The Home Library Service is about so much more than delivering books; for many of our customers our team provides a connection with the outside world, the opportunity for a chat (over the phone or, socially distanced, in person) and to offer help where at all possible. I’m so proud of way the team has risen to the challenge created by the COVID-19 restrictions”. Lesley O’Hare, Culture and Libraries Manager, Falkirk Community Trust.

If you, or someone you care for, would like to join the Home Library Service, then please email libraries@falkirkcommunitytrust.org

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