Fraser Coast library volunteers hitting the road again

VOLUNTEERS are hitting the road again, delivering books and other items to housebound library members and helping with other tasks around Fraser Coast Libraries as COVID-19 restrictions ease.

Fraser Coast Libraries senior library assistant Dianne Collins and volunteer Val Hooper load up a vehicle for housebound deliveries. PHOTO: Supplied.

Following a brief hiatus last year due to the pandemic, staff restarted contactless housebound deliveries in June but the service has since been handed back to volunteers.

Volunteers choose items for housebound library members based on their recorded preferences or gather items members have reserved.

They then perform contactless delivery and pick-up services with the help of staff when required.

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Division 6 Councillor David Lewis said people who were eligible for the household service were largely confined to their homes and did not have family members or friends who could collect items from the library for them.

“It’s so rewarding to be able to provide the service to support our members’ passion for reading books and magazines, listening to audiobooks and CDs and completing jigsaw puzzles,” Cr Lewis said.

“Our volunteers do a terrific job and we’re always grateful for the time they give to help provide library services to our community.

“We hear from housebound library members they consider it an essential service and find it a comfort to hear the volunteers call out ‘hello’.

“They also enjoy opening the bags to see which new books or items have arrived on their doorstep.”

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Val and Lloyd Hooper, who have been volunteering at the libraries for combined total of six years, have been pleased to return to deliveries for housebound members in Hervey Bay.

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Mrs Hooper, a retired librarian, explained that pre-COVID, they had enjoyed choosing items for a few people and delivering them but now they were responsible purely for the delivery-side of the service and were reaching more people.

“We don’t have the same kind of relationship but it’s lovely because people are always so grateful,” she said.

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In addition, the Hoopers are Justices of the Peace and volunteer at the library in that capacity on a regular basis as well.

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Volunteers perform many tasks at various branches including helping people research their family history; re-shelving books and other items; mending books; and preparing new items for the shelves – all while observing COVID-safe precautions such as remaining 1.5m apart.

“We were really pleased when we were able to welcome volunteers back to the libraries late last year and appreciate their efforts in helping to keep the library running smoothly for the benefit of our entire community,” Cr Lewis said.

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