Home Library Service helping hundreds of Falkirk area readers amid pandemic

While much of Falkirk Community Trust has been locked down for the past three months, its Home Library Service (HLS) team has been working hard to support hundreds of vulnerable readers.

Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 4:43 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th May 2021, 5:04 pm

Under normal circumstances, HLS delivers bags of personally selected books and audio books every three weeks to 279 people 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 customers who were unable to access the area’s libraries after being told to shield.

After the first lockdown, stringent new health and safety procedures were created for every aspect of the HLS service as staff quickly realised their support was needed more than ever before by isolated community members.

Naomi Kenny, Falkirk Community Trust's Home Library Service librarian. Picture: Michael Gillen.
Naomi Kenny, Falkirk Community Trust's Home Library Service librarian. Picture: Michael Gillen.

HLS users not only wanted books but also needed help with acquiring hearing aid batteries, chasing up overdue vaccination appointments and finding out about extra sources of support like befriending services.

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The HLS worked hard as a team to meet those needs and to care for their customers when many of their normal sources of assistance were not available to them.

Naomi Kenny, HLS Librarian, said: “In addition to their usual task of choosing books and audio books to meet the needs of our users, the team has 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 HLS 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 got in touch to ask if he could get a delivery to help lift his mood during lockdown.

The team was happy to help and the boy’s mum said afterwards: “Thank you so much for the delivery, 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.”

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