By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – Think of it as Meals on Wheels – but with library items delivered instead of food.
The Marlborough Public Library has launched a Home Delivery Service that brings books, DVDs and CDs from the library to the homes of residents who aren's able to get there. Margaret Cardello said the idea has been brewing since she began as library director two years ago.
“It was almost from the very beginning when I got here that I heard inquiries as to whether we had a service to help people who weren's able to come to the library to pick out their own materials,” she said. “The idea stuck in my head as a wonderful service that we were not equipped to do at the beginning. It seemed to come up over and over again, and it's really something that Marlborough needed. So that's why I'se been really focused on it.”
Last fall, Cardello set up a table at the Wellness Fair at the Marlborough Senior Center, where she started spreading the word about the new service.
“That was the first public promotion that we did,” she said. “They thought it was a great idea.”
The idea is that anyone who is unable to get to the library can fill out a Home Delivery registration form, which indicates their reading, viewing and listening preferences. Based on those requests, staff and volunteers select titles from the library's collection. Then a volunteer delivers a bag with up to 10 items, which are circulated for four weeks and are renewable for another four weeks if no one else is waiting for them. A date and time is scheduled for a volunteer to pick up the items and to deliver another bagful.
Most requests are similar to the interests of typical library patrons, such as mysteries, romances, historical fiction and favorite authors. Others are more specific, noted Cardello.
“Some people have vision issues and they would prefer to listen to their books on CD,” she said. “And some people with favorite authors like to read more of their current titles and some like the older titles from the author.”
While most of the outreach has been to the senior community, Cardello expects the service to also benefit others.
“Most of the inquiries came from senior citizens, but this service has potential to serve more than just seniors,” she said. “It can serve people who are ill or just have no way to get to the library. We would definitely do this for anybody who has a health or transportation challenge.”
Each person who receives deliveries is given an evaluation form, which tells the library staff whether or not the items chosen satisfied their requests. The feedback so far has been favorable.
The bags used for deliveries were provided by the Friends of the Marlborough Public Library. More volunteers are always welcomed.
Copies of the registration and volunteer forms are available at the library, the Senior Center and on the library website at marlboroughpubliclibrary.org.
Cardello and the library staff appreciate any inquiries and suggestions because that's exactly how the Home Delivery Service was founded.
“This service came from people asking if we had it, and our disappointedly saying, “No, we don's,”” she said. “When people hear about this service, they say, “What a great idea!” It's good to pass your time at home reading and really keeping your mind active, rather than just watching television. We'se anxious to have more people sign up for the service and have more people join us by volunteering.”
Anyone with questions about the service can call the library at 508-624-6900.