From Hogwarts to Westeros, reading has the ability to transport us to completely different places from within the comfort of our own homes – something that is even more valuable for people who find themselves housebound.
Somerset’s Home Library Service (HLS) is run by Somerset County Council with the support of amazing volunteers. It enables people like Claire Harbour from Frome, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday, to continue enjoying books for free even though she can no longer visit her local library in person.
In a new short video with former BBC correspondent Clinton Rogers, Claire explains how the service helps her to access new books, allowing her to keep her mind active.
Claire says: “It means that I can be a member of the library, sit at home, do nothing and everything comes to me. It is an absolute boon and I don’t know what I would do without it.”
You can view the video here: Somerset Home Library Service.
The Home Library Service delivers books to people who are unable to get to their local library, such as those who are housebound, living in long term care, carers, or people who are vulnerable due to long term conditions or disabilities. The service is open to people of all ages.
Cllr Adam Dance, Lead Executive Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity said: “This is a brilliant service. Reading books can help keep your mind engaged as you grow old and help prevent cognitive decline – improving memory and helping to reduce the likelihood of dementia. But it can also help people of any age to reduce stress by lowering blood pressure and heart rate.”
Cllr Federica Smith-Roberts, Somerset County Council Lead Executive Member for Communities added: “The Home Library Service played a really valuable role in the pandemic, especially for people who were shielding during the lockdown periods.
“But none of this would work without the brilliant team of friendly volunteers who make the service possible. If you have some spare time and a passion for reading, you may want to consider taking up a rewarding role as a HLS volunteer.
“Somerset Libraries offer a wide range of brilliant services – as well an extensive collection of books, films, and digital products available to loan, there are health and wellbeing services, children’s activities and supported digital learning.
“Please visit Volunteering Opportunities | Somerset County Council Volunteering to take a look at the volunteering opportunities available with the Home Library Service.”
Volunteers can also support in accessing free e-Books, Audiobooks and e-Magazines, as well as provide DVDs and other items. There is normally a charge for these items, though exemptions do apply for audio books if you are blind, partially sighted or have a condition that makes reading printed books difficult.
If you or anyone you know would like to receive the service, please contact Home Library Service manager Kirsty Jenssen by emailing email@example.com, or calling 07814 079831.
For more information, visit: Home Library Service (somerset.gov.uk).
Notes to editors:
There is support available for anyone struggling with household bills in Somerset. The Household Support Fund is designed to provide short-term urgent financial help to Somerset residents who are struggling to afford household essentials such as buying food, paying for energy and water bills and other essential household items such as beds and white goods. More information is available here: Somerset Household Support Fund
Somerset County Council and NHS Somerset are launching a new Community Equipment and Wheelchair Service to help people live more independently. Launching on Monday 1 August, the service will provide a range of equipment to help people live independently, offering loans to people for as long they need them. The service will also include delivery and fitting, servicing, collection, and recycling. More information here: https://www.somerset.gov.uk/social-care-and-health/equipment-to-help-you/