People who use Lancashire County Council’s Home Library Service have said it is ‘marvellous’ that the service has resumed.
The home library service is available to all people in the county who may feel lonely, isolated, vulnerable or in need of support.
It can also be accessed by people who are unable to get to their local library easily.
This may be due to health issues or mobility problems, because they’re recovering from surgery or struggle to get out because of bad weather.
Books, audio books, CDs and DVDs are chosen for the customer by library staff and delivered to people free of charge. The books are usually delivered every four weeks, but are being delivered every six weeks currently.
The service has now just restarted, along with a phased reopening of more libraries this week.
A socially distanced delivery service is provided by library service drivers, at a time arranged with the customer.
Terence Warburton is among the hundreds of Lancashire residents who have welcomed the service back into their homes, after it was paused due to the coronavirus lockdown in March.
For Terence and countless others like him, it’s a chance to welcome a friendly face and have a chat.
He said: “The home library service makes a massive difference to my life. It’s marvellous.
“I really missed it when everything was closed down.
“A couple of friends from my local church told me about the service, and I jumped at the chance straight away.
“Someone comes to see me about once a month and I usually get about eight audiobooks delivered.
“Murder mysteries and detective books are my favourites.
“It’s really nice to see another person. I’m always happy when I know that my books will be delivered. It means much more to me than just the books, I can tell you.”
Terence is 86 years-old, and has used the home library service for 10 years. He was a painter and decorator, and worked for Preston Council for 26 years, before his retirement.
June Dearden, 88, from Burnley, has used the home library service for the past year and said: “I’ve read all my life, every night of my life really. I’m quite lost if I can’t read, it takes
my mind off everything.
“Unfortunately I can’t get to the library myself now, and it isn’t always possible for someone to take me, so I really value this service.”
June believes the secret to a long and healthy life is keeping her brain active, something the home library service enables her to do.
“I do crosswords and word searches, but then I love getting stuck into a book. I think keeping my brain active is essential.”
June worked in retail, then as a weaver, before finishing her employment doing clerical work.
Sheila Niven, another avid user of the service from South Ribble, said: “This service means a lot to me, as I am a bookworm.
“I’ve always been a big reader. My employment involved books as well, as I was a librarian/researcher working in the film industry.
“I’m thrilled that my books are now being delivered from the home library service again. I really enjoy reading non-fiction the best. I love books about politics and history, including royalty across Europe. I have really missed them since March.”
County Councillor Peter Buckley, Lancashire County Council’s cabinet member for community and cultural services, said: “The home library service makes an incredible difference to people’s lives. To some it’s absolutely invaluable.”
“It isn’t just about the books, it’s about the social interaction and combating loneliness. It’s about providing a friendly face, and that is really important. It means that someone is there for a chat.
“Our aim is to serve people who struggle to get to a library, or who can get there but can’t carry the books home.
“We get requests for everything, from Mills & Boon right through to really gory crime. Tastes are really varied, and we are pleased to find the books that our customers would enjoy.
“We know that isolation and loneliness can be a big problem for people, and especially so during the current pandemic. I would encourage more people to use our great home library service, so please get in touch if you or someone you know would benefit from it.”
The home library service currently has more than 530 customers.
There are 129 home library volunteers working across Lancashire and the service is always on the lookout for more. Volunteers must agree to a DBS check.
The county council is currently working with the Lancashire Volunteer Partnership in order to start using their volunteers again as coronavirus restrictions are further relaxed.
A third of the county council’s home library service users are also using Lancashire Volunteer Partnership’s telephone befriending service. This means that a volunteer rings them on a regular basis to have a friendly chat and make sure they are well.
This service is still available to all people in Lancashire who may feel lonely, isolated, vulnerable or in need of support. If you know someone who you feel would benefit from a welfare call why not refer them but please ask their permission first. The referral form for this service is on the volunteer partnership’s website.
For more information, about the home library service visit www.lancashire.gov.uk/libraries
More details will be made available in the coming weeks as to which libraries will be open and when, plus what services will be available. For more information, go to www.lancashire.gov.uk/coronavirus-updates/libraries-archives-and-museums/