New Library Directors Handbook

Services to the Homebound

For those who are permanently disabled and are unable to get to the library, there are a couple of common programs that libraries use to provide library services. One is Books by Mail; a program where the library sends requested books to the customers. Books by Mail does not have to be limited to the homebound. It works well in rural areas where ranchers, farmers, etc. would have to drive many miles to visit the local library. If your library catalog is available through the Internet, customers can search your collection and decide which items they want. If you do not have this feature, you can create a catalog for the customer or you can work with them to discuss what types of items s/he might want. You can then use this knowledge to send books from your library's collection.

Another program is usually limited to those who are permanently disabled. A library staff member will visit the homebound and discuss what types of items that person may wish to read. The staff member will then return to the library and pull these items off the shelf and deliver the items to the homebound customer. This is one of the more expensive programs, but the rewards are great.