Bid to expand St Helens’ mobile library scheme

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Library bosses are planning on expanding their home delivery service by recruiting a new team of volunteers.

They say the new scheme will provide a more personal provision for the housebound.

Currently, the service is run by just one paid member of the libraries team who has to provide the mobile library facility for 231 people.

Sue Williamson, head of library services, hopes to change this.

She said: “We’re looking to develop the programme into a befriending service for the vulnerable and isolated people in our community.

“To do this, we’re asking for volunteers that would be willing to distribute, renew and collect books to customers’ homes, but also be willing to stop and chat for a little while, if appropriate, about favourite books, authors, reading habits, whatever it may be, make a cup of tea and so on.

“If enough people are willing to dedicate some of their time to help out the elderly and housebound people of the borough, we can provide a much more thorough and personal service.”

Coun Jeanie Bell, cabinet member for Public Health and Wellbeing, said: “We’re currently catering for a much larger customer base than we can manage, but it’s an important service which enables access to libraries for those who can’t get out and about.

“It’s a great volunteering opportunity, one that will compliment any CV or résumé and I’d encourage anyone with an interest in voluntary work or a love of libraries to get in touch.”

Those interested would be introduced to the libraries’ administrative systems by individual mentors for the maintenance of records and customer requests, and also taught the basic skills needed to observe signs of deterioration in physical or mental health, and refer any problems back to

Libraries staff, to be passed on to appropriate authorities.

For further details and to find out how you can get involved, contact

Gillian Yates via 01744 677445 or gillianyates@sthelens.gov.uk or enquire

at your local library.