Hidden Hero blog: Dublin City Libraries
Dublin City Libraries, in partnership with the Dublin Volunteer Centre are operating a free book delivery service for people who are cocooning in the wake of Covid-19. Fórsa member and senior librarian at Cabra library, Anne Pigott describes how the team carry out this new service and the added value it provides to the community. Many local authorities are operating similar services around the country and you can check your own council’s website for more information. This blog post is part of Fórsa’s #HiddenHeroes campaign.
Pictured above are Fórsa members Anne Pigott and Laura Tighe, senior librarian and library assistant at Cabra library in the processing room for book deliveries to cocooners in the community.
Home delivery service – more than just books
The home delivery service for cocooners has been more successful than we ever anticipated. The team in Dublin City Libraries established the initiative off the back of a number of calls from members of the community looking for books to be brought to their homes. Even with the pre-existing demand, the uptake has been great.
I think part of the initiative’s success is down to how simple it is for people to avail of. All it involves is sending an email or making a phone call to describe what kind of material you’re looking for. This could be anything from a particular genre of fiction to factual books about hobbies, health, crafts, or even a certain period in history. All you need to do is tell us what you’re interested in and we will choose a selection of up to six books to deliver to your door.
The team here is second to none and really go above and beyond the call of duty. This service is an opportunity to not only order books, but to have an actual conversation. Cocooning can be a lonely experience and the staff here relish the chance to speak to those in our community who may not get to talk to many others during the day. Our phone lines start hopping at 10am once they open and buzz right the way through the afternoon.
This service is an opportunity to not only order books, but to have an actual conversation. Cocooning can be a lonely experience and the staff here relish the chance to speak to those in our community who may not get to talk to many others during the day.
The library is very conscious that this service is for vulnerable people and have taken extreme precautions to ensure their safety. To this end, all titles we select are put in bags with a label addressed to the recipient and then placed in quarantine before delivery. Furthermore, all our staff are maintaining safe social distancing in the workplace and practising excellent hand hygiene.
Volunteers from the Dublin City Volunteer Centre then deliver the books from a safe distance and are also keen to chat, should the recipient wish to do so. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with people, the books are just one aspect. Safety and well-being of service users is of paramount concern so all volunteers are Garda vetted. We’re so grateful and want to acknowledge their help and support with this project, we really couldn’t do it without them.
Volunteers from the Dublin City Volunteer Centre deliver the books from a safe distance and are also keen to chat, should the recipient wish to do so. It’s a fantastic opportunity to connect with people, the books are just one aspect.
People can then keep their selection of books for up to three months and there are no fines anymore, even if they are returned late. We can also renew books if they wish to hold onto them them for longer. To return them, all you have to do is get in touch via email or phone the same way you did to receive the books in the first place.
It’s important to us that as many people as possible can access this resource, and our team is on hand to select accessible, tailored content for those who need it. As well as regular books also have ones available in large print, audiobooks, CDs and DVDs. There really is something for everyone.
The book delivery service has been running since early May and it’s been so successful that we plan to continue it once the library begins to resume a modified service from Monday 8th June.
If you live in Dublin City and are cocooning, call 01-674-4818 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org between 10am and 2pm from Monday to Friday to get books delivered to your home for free.