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Library Begins Home Delivery for Homebound Adults Books on Wheels

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Sonoma County Library Begins Home Delivery for Homebound Adults

Books on Wheels

By Mathew Rose

Art Volkerts, one of the countless isolated, homebound seniors in Sonoma County, has always loved reading. Since 2010, he hasn’t set foot into a bookstore or library, and isn’t sure he wants to learn about ebooks. Volkerts is one of the participants in a new service being offered through the Sebastopol Regional Library called Books on Wheels. In a partnership with the Council on Aging’s Meals on Wheels service, when Volkerts receives his meals delivery, he also gets a delivery of library material.

Books on Wheels was created to reach out to homebound individuals unable to access library resources in person. “The idea was introduced to the library during a community forum that invited the public to share ideas about library services in the 21st century,” says Sebastopol Regional Library Branch Manager Mathew Rose. “The Library Advisory Board loved the concept and encouraged the library to develop the idea,” he says. Nancy Dempsey, Chair of the Library Advisory Board, endorsed the idea, saying “We all know that the demographic make-up of our communities is changing and the challenge for the library is to meet those needs.” 

One challenge was finding a community partner to deliver books. “We looked at trying to develop a volunteer group for this service,” says Rose. “But our staffing can’t support management of routes and deliveries, and we don’t want to add more vehicles to the road, so we looked for partners who are already driving to our potential participants.” He says the first place he thought of was the Council on Aging Meals on Wheels Program. 

“I just jumped on the idea. I love it. This is a great service to our seniors,” says Terri Condon, Sebastopol Area Meals on Wheels Coordinator and Dining Site Manager. “The meals nourish the body, the books nourish the mind. It’s great.” Participants in the Books on Wheels program can request any item in the library collection, including large type, books on cd, DVDs, and regular books. Participants can also opt to have librarians choose items. “We call that the grab bag option – participants get a handful of books that we think they would like. It’s a fun guessing game,” says Rose.

Books on Wheels provides free in-home delivery of library materials for persons who qualify for Meals on Wheels participation. Expansion of the service to other areas of Sonoma County Library and to other delivery partners is currently being investigated.

Persons enrolled in the Sebastopol Area Council on Aging Meals on Wheels service area interested in enrolling in Books on Wheels should call Matthew Rose at 707-823-7691

Books on Wheels is funded for its first year by a grant from the Library Services and Technology Act administered through the California State Library’s Services. The Council on Aging Meals on Wheels program relies on donations. Donations can be made to Meals on Wheels.