Your Call case study: Home Library Service

Problem: People who cannot get to the library through illness or infirmity

What happens: Volunteers deliver books to people’s homes through the Home Library Service

A retired chief inspector walks a different beat these days providing a ‘life-line’ to people who are housebound.

Great grandfather, Tom Clark, is a volunteer for the Blackburn with Darwen Council’s Home Library Service that delivers library books to people’s homes.

He is one of several people who provide the vital service to those who cannot get to the library through illness or infirmity.

Residents receive fortnightly visits and can order up to ten books or talking books at a time.

For those on his round, Tom is a friendly face who not only brings them something to read but is also happy to stop and have a chat.

He said: “A big part of the job is just keeping that contact with people as the majority of our clients live on their own.”.

“Quite often you end up having a chat with people and books are sometimes the last thing we talk about.”

Tom has been volunteering for the service for over 11 years.

“It’s very worthwhile and it gives me a lot of pleasure especially chatting to people brings back a lot of memories.”

Mary Fletcher, of Brownhill, has been a regular user of the service for around four years.  

“If you can’t get out, if your mobility is very bad and you’re a great reader, it’s a life-line,” she said.

“Any books you like that you’ve seen in the paper in any reviews if you ring her and let Tom know and they get it, it’s a really good service.

“It’s nice for somebody to come in when you're on your own and he's a such nice gentleman.”

Councillor Damian Talbot, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Young People, said: “Tom is one of several dedicated people in the borough who are providing invaluable help to others in their own time.

“It goes without saying that we need more people like Tom, who epitomises the spirit of the Your Call campaign.”

The service is currently looking for new volunteers. If you have some spare time and access to a vehicle contact Joyce at Blackburn Library on (01254) 661221.

Anyone who thinks they would benefit from the service can contact the Equality and Access Team on 01254 587923 or 661221.

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