Kent Free Library program aids homebound residents

By Sophie kruse | Staff Writer Published:

Homebound citizens in Kent don't need to worry about not getting their favorite books, CDs and movies from the library any longer.

Since December, the Kent Free Library has been offering patrons the unique service called Library at Your Door. This program allows anyone who is homebound in Kent to have library materials delivered right to their door as long as they have a current library card.

The library had ran a similar program that ended in 2008, where patrons would sign up and be able to receive and return materials through the mail.

After years without any kind of delivery service, Kristen Pool, the Community and Special Services Manager at the library, started Library at Your Door.

The start of this program came with the reorganization of the library under new director Stacey Richardson. Pool's position was created, making her the first outreach librarian. A bequest from Jenny Gillis also allowed the library to purchase a car they use for deliveries, as well as several other programs that require a vehicle.

Twice a month, Pool visits the participants at their homes, bring a tote bag full of all the materials they asked for and also a lot that she picked out.

Pool tries to bring a wide selection of materials for the participants. Some request exact titles of books, while others give her more leeway to choose a variety. She tries to bring various materials pertaining to their interests. Patrons can receive up to 15 items per delivery, but often tend to get only five or six.

Materials can include books, movies and CDs, as well as audio books, a favorite to lots of the participants.

There are several participants in the program who had received materials in the mail before that program was diminished, including Carrie Shelly.

"It's so wonderful," Shelly said of the program. "I'm glad I can be a part of it." Her favorite things for Pool to bring are television series, especially Breaking Bad.

For anyone interesting in participating, or friends and family of someone who would be a good candidate for the program, contact Pool at 330-673-4414, or email her at kristen.pool@kentfreelibrary.org.

Applications for Library at your Door are also available online and at the information desk at the library.

Pool made sure to contact all of the patrons who participated in the mailed delivery service at the start of Library at your Door. Several are now a part of this service.

Another participant, Ray Stanley, prefers books about sports and biographies, but is open to read anything. "I read all the time. I'm so glad I can get these books and read them," said Stanley.

Pool also makes a stop at the Four Seasons, where she leaves the bags in the office. She is hoping that more residents will participate in this "lobby stop" in the future.

Still, other participants in the program frequented the library until the were medically unable. Aziz and Shehwar Khan were part of Pool's book club, where they often discussed the classics. Now, Pool tries to bring them upbeat movies.

Michaelann Tibbs used to walk to the library. She loves the bestseller books, and looks forward to coming back to the library once she starts to feel better, but for now relies on Pool to bring them to her.

"I just hope that I can brighten their day a little bit," said Pool of all her homebound patrons.

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