Personalized Service in the Digital Age

The Virtual Library is here.  The technology of personal computers and the internet allow library users to access many of our resources 24/7.  They visit our website to find out what is going on at the library, to browse the catalogue, and to request materials.  They correspond with library staff via email and download electronic books.

However, not everyone is able or wants to connect to their library in this manner and we have not neglected these users.  Our Home Library Service is available to individuals who, due to physical reasons, are not able to visit the library.  Typically, the users of this service are seniors who have been life-long readers and who have supported the library for years.

 The Home Library Service operates at a very personal level.  Individuals are contacted to assess what types of materials are appropriate for them.  We are able to provide books in regular print, large print or in an audio format on compact disc.  These various formats address conditions such as failing eyesight and arthritis.  The second consideration is the interests and likes of the individual.  Staff members talk to the users to find out what authors, genres, and subjects they like.

 Based on the input from the users, a staff member will prepare a selection of materials specialized to their needs. Some individuals have a family member or a friend who is willing to exchange their materials.  If the user cannot make such an arrangement, we have a dedicated and caring group of volunteers who we contact to do this.  Our volunteers are essential to this service and many take a personal interest in the welfare of their “new friends.”  They will often stay and visit when they deliver the new materials.

We have had a very positive response to this program.  The users are pleased that we have not forgotten them.  They love this “wonderful service” and since they are largely homebound they are happy to have books to pass the time, to learn from, and to enjoy.  We also provide reference service to this group and there is no charge for this personalized and valuable service.

If you could use this service or know anyone who could, please contact Adult Services at the St. Thomas Public Library (519-631-6050).

Reading by fire

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