HUDSON -- As the Hudson Library reopened the doors, often to lines of people waiting outside, staff noticed something was missing — senior citizens.
The seniors that the library usually sees weren’t coming back in their pre-pandemic normal numbers, Co-director Shelley Tougas said, and they weren’t using curbside service as much either.
“It makes sense that they don’t want to be back in the building, they have a high risk of serious illness from COVID, if not death,” Tougas said.
So the library put together a program to bring books to them. The new delivery bin program brings books to senior living facilities.
“We really miss our seniors, and we’re worried about them,” Tougas said. “It’s going to be a very long winter for all of us, but for them especially.”
The bin program helps combat the level of isolation many seniors are feeling, as well as providing them with regular reading, which helps prevent dementia, Tougas said.
The program also delivers to child care centers and other groups.
With the program, organizations can check out up to 200 books for four weeks. The library staff selects the titles based on feedback from the organization, delivers the bins and then swaps them out for new ones a few weeks later.
“The major benefit here is that we’re delivering those books,” Tougas said. “We know right now it’s what our community needs.”
Six organizations have signed up for the program so far, including two senior centers and four child care centers. The library invites other organizations to sign up as well.
Red Cedar Canyon Senior Living joined the program to bring book series and large-print options to its residents. Director of Therapeutic Recreation Berit Strom said the center is able to get a selection of books and movies in its deliveries.
“It's just really been really seamless and nice for the library to do the leg work for us and just provide such great variety,” she said.
Strom said she appreciates the work the library is putting in to support seniors.
“It’s kept them happier and busy, and if there isn’t as much going on on the weekends, they have that book to sink their teeth into,” she said.
Through the COVID-19 pandemic, the library’s mission has been to adapt quickly as it finds ways to effectively serve the community. The program will continue into the future as well.
“We’re trying to pull silver linings out of COVID’s impact on the library, and one of those is the book delivery,” Tougas said.
Little Leaps Child Care has also received bins through the program. Director Brianna Nickolaus said she was interested as soon as the library reached out.
“Our kiddos at the daycare love reading books, and we have so many books, but they always love all the new books,” she said.
Her staff members use the bins as a way to teach the kids about the library and what it offers.
“Most of the time whenever we say we’re going to get some library books out to read to the kiddos, the kiddos get really excited,” she said.
The library is also opening browsing appointments for library users, starting Tuesdays 3-8 p.m. Those who sign up will be given an hour-long appointment to browse the library and check out books.