West Berkshire Council

Volunteers sought for 'At Home' library service

Initiative delivers books to people in their homes.

Library Service 'At Home' Volunteers

West Berkshire's Libraries are looking for volunteers to help expand a very important service.

The At Home Library Service is delivered by 35 volunteers to around 120 library users across the district.

The caring team visit people in their own homes or care homes that for a variety of reasons aren't able to get to the library in person. They chat with the person about their interests and the kind of books they like to read. Armed with that information, they go to the library and pick a selection of books tailored to the individual's request.

When making their selection, they take other aspects of the persons needs into consideration, ensuring that the chosen books aren't too heavy and that they have large print if necessary.

Maureen Howard has been an At Home Service volunteer for two and a half years. She said, "The mobile library was an absolute lifesaver for my mother. I now have the pleasure of being able to help people by selecting and delivering books to them. It gives them such a great deal of pleasure and helps to keep their minds lively and interested. I certainly hope that if ever I'm not able to get to the library that someone will be doing as I am and deliver books to me."

Jan Seabrook is also an At Home Service Volunteer. She said, "Maureen and I are friends and we started doing this as something we could enjoy together while giving something back to the community. We absolutely love it and it is incredibly rewarding. One of my ladies particularly likes political biographies. As you can imagine, she loves the election coverage right now! It's great to get feedback on the books we have chosen and have some wonderful conversations with our customers."

Gemma Taylor, Volunteers Officer at West Berkshire Council said, "I can't speak highly enough of our At Home Service volunteers. Some of their customers are isolated and unable to leave their homes. The volunteers maybe the only people they see over the three weeks between deliver and collection of their books. It is such a simple thing but there are endless benefits, both for the volunteers and the people they have built relationships with."

West Berkshire Libraries have many volunteer opportunities visit www.westberks.gov.uk/volunteer or email volunteerinyourlibrary@westberks.gov.uk to find out how you can help your library and your community.

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