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Books, more, to your door

Sat., Jan. 2, 2010

Librarian: Delivery service not meant to be hush-hush

It appears to be a well-kept secret that the Liberty Lake Library offers free home delivery of books to those unable to leave their homes. Currently only one person is signed up for the service, down from a high of two library patrons.

The library has been offering the service since summer. People can fill out a form on the library’s Web site or call the library to make arrangements for the service, which offers monthly pickup and delivery of books, movies and audiobooks. The service is not limited to senior citizens. It can be someone sidelined temporarily with a broken leg or a pregnant woman on bed rest, “anybody that cannot get out of the house for any reason,” said circulation supervisor Georgette Rogers. “If you can’t come to us, we will come to you.”

When people sign up for the service, they indicate what style or genre of books they like and Rogers selects the books. A card is sent out with each delivery for the patron to indicate whether they liked or disliked the choices. After a while, Rogers said, she gets a better feel for what a person will like. People also have the option of requesting specific authors or titles.

A person is limited to five books, two movies and two audiobooks per month but each person gets to keep items longer than the usual three weeks for books and one week for movies.

The books are delivered and retrieved by Liberty Lake SCOPE volunteers, who do the deliveries while they’re out on patrol. SCOPE stands for Sheriff’s Community Oriented Policing Effort. Only library patrons living in the 99019 and 99016 ZIP codes may receive the free deliveries. “Since we’re partnering with them, we go with their range,” Rogers said.

SCOPE volunteer Deb Hall does a lot of the monthly deliveries. “We tend to work it in with school patrol,” she said. “It’s as we’re out and about. It works very well with what we’re doing.”

It also works well for Rogers, since people might be hesitant to allow a stranger who says they work for the library into their home. “People tend to open the door more for SCOPE,” she said.

Hall said volunteers are happy to make the deliveries. “This is such a neat deal,” she said. “Libraries are not designed to have books sitting on the shelves.”

Rogers would love to expand the program to cover more residents. It only takes her a few minutes to select the books, particularly after she’s gotten to know each person’s likes and dislikes, so it’s not labor intensive. And since SCOPE delivers the books during normal patrols, the service doesn’t cost anything to provide. “If we were to mail these, it would get expensive,” Rogers said.

Hall said she wouldn’t mind having a few extra stops on her route. “We’d be delighted,” she said. “We’re already out there.”

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