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Library project brings books to homebound

by Merrie Leininger

Reading is one of life’s little pleasures for many people and the Douglas County Public Library wants to continue to bring that enjoyment to people who can’t make it to the library any more.

Homebound seniors are offered home delivery through the Books on Wheels program started recently with help of the Douglas County Senior Center and its director, Kathy Maidlow.

Maria Pearson, senior library technician, keeps track of the people who sign up, what kind of books they like, and picks out books for them.

She then takes the books to the senior center on Meadow Lane in Gardnerville and the driver of the Meals on Wheels program takes the books right to the seniors’ door.

Any of the about 250 homebound seniors signed up for the center’s Homemaker, Meals on Wheels or Seniors Transportation programs can receive the books, Maidlow said. The program will be expanded to include seniors who live at the Lake.

“Right now, we do offer the program to those who get Meals on Wheels there, which I think are only eight people. Tomorrow, I am meeting with the board of Tahoe/Douglas Senior Center to determine how to better meet the needs of seniors there,” said Library Director Linda Deacy.

n Homebound program. Pearson said she also delivers books herself to people who sign up directly with the library and has been doing so for years. While there are only eight people signed up through the library, the senior center has doubled that number in the two weeks since the program started.

“It’s just another service of the library,” Pearson said. “They let me know what books, like light mystery or whatever, and how many they want at a time, and I pick them out and keep a record of what they have read. Then they just give them back to the driver when they are done.”

And are the seniors appreciative of the chance to read on a regular basis?

“Are you kidding?” Pearson said. “They are ecstatic. They really miss being able to get to the library and they are often on a budget, so they can’t buy books.”

Edna Stodieck, 90, of Gardnerville, said she lives with her 83-year-old sister, and neither can get around as well any more. Stodieck, a mystery lover, said she reads every day, but can’t drive any more. She has been getting books from the library through the homebound program about two months now.

“My daughter used to bring me books and talked to Maria who said she could bring them to me. She brings me books every week and is awfully nice and very thoughtful and sweet,” Stodieck said. “My sister reads a lot also, we both read the books she brings us.”

n State program. Deacy said the homebound program started in the early 1970s.

She said the library can also help people get set up with the state library that serves the blind and physically handicapped.

“They ship you a big player, then they ship you, through the mail, books on tape. When you are done, just put them in the pre-paid mailer and the next shipment is sent,” Deacy said. “It is a really good program for people in nursing homes or who are bedridden. It is set up for people with very little mobility.”

For more information, call Maria Pearson at the Douglas County Library at 782-9841.