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The Ashburnham Stevens Memorial Library has started a delivery service for elderly or homebound patrons looking to borrow materials.
The service, which will rely on volunteer drivers for deliveries and pickups, was brought to fruition by Library Assistant Janet Peterson, who was previously doing deliveries herself.
“It just makes your heart feel full,” Peterson said. “I started thinking there had to be other people out there who would want these services.”
While the program was created with seniors in mind, Peterson said anyone who has difficulty leaving their home, due to an injury or illness, for example, can take part in the program.
So far, the program has six applications to receive the service, Peterson said. Library staff have been spreading the word through churches, social media and flyers.
“We’re going to keep up with outreach, and with word of mouth, to reach those who may be interested in the program,” Peterson said.
To sign up, patrons only need to call or email the library staff and fill out a form and questionnaire about what materials they would like to borrow. They do need a library card, but could set that up in order to join the program.
Patrons can request specific items, or work with the staff to determine what they might like, and can borrow up to 10 items at a time. All catalog items will be available for delivery, with the exception of newspapers. If the Stevens library doesn’t have an item a patron is looking for, they will find it via interlibrary loan.
During her research in preparing the proposal for the library director, Peterson discovered there were a number of libraries in the state running similar delivery services.
Since the service uses volunteers, there is no cost to run the program. There are currently eight volunteer drivers.
“So many people volunteered as drivers that we have a waitlist, which is wonderful,” Peterson said.
Delivery and pickup of items will occur once a month. Patrons can also request items directly from the delivery drivers when they come by.