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Library2You: Free Homebound Delivery Service

Cuyahoga County Public Library
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Innovation Summary

Library2You is a free delivery service to homebound customers. Using the United States Postal Service, Cuyahoga County Public Library employs a consistent process to ensure customers who are not physically able to travel to a branch can still enjoy library materials.

Innovation Leader: Fatima Perkins, Adult Services Manager, fperkins@cuyahogalibrary.org

Problem Statement

Many members of the Library’s communities are unable to visit a branch because of advanced age or temporary or permanent disability. The Library had relied on volunteers to deliver Library materials to homebound customers. While the Library appreciates its volunteers, the volunteer delivery service model resulted in inconsistent experiences for homebound customers. Cuyahoga County Public Library has a proud history of providing services to seniors and maintains collections at several senior care facilities. As “aging in place” becomes more popular with seniors, the Library sought to create a dedicated, consistent service to provide materials to those customers who cannot visit a branch.

Innovation

Cuyahoga County residents who are unable to travel to one of Cuyahoga County Public Library’s branches because of a permanent or temporary impairment or disability can receive library materials at their homes through Library2You, a free outreach service that began in September 2011. Library2You is generously supported by The McGregor Foundation. To be eligible for the free Library2You service, a Cuyahoga County resident must be 60 years or older; physically, visually and/or mentally impaired; or temporarily homebound. Eligible Cuyahoga County residents may complete an application online or call the Library’s Adult Services Department to enroll. After receiving the application, the Library contacts applicants within one week to confirm their eligibility for the Library2You service. Once the customer receives confirmation of eligibility, the service may begin. Customers may contact any branch for assistance with reserving materials, or they may use the online catalog. The Library sends requested materials to participants in a reusable mail pouch through the United States Postal Service. A USPS letter carrier delivers packages to the participants’ homes. When it’s time to return materials, customers simply reverse the address card in the front envelope so that the return postage is showing, then place the mail pouch in or by their mailbox for pickup by a USPS letter carrier. Library2You users bear no cost for receiving and returning materials. The Library includes an information sheet with each shipment covering return procedures. Library2You participants may have a maximum of 50 items checked out at one time, and participants are subject to the same loan policies as other Cuyahoga County Public Library users.

Progress

Through Library2You, Cuyahoga County Public Library has found a consistent delivery service to support its priority to keep seniors healthy, happy and independent. From September 2011 through March 2012, the Library delivered 4,750 items to customers through Library2You. In January 2012, Library2You circulated 901 items, the highest monthly homebound circulation to date. The service allows seniors to stay at home when venturing outside in inclement weather poses a health risk. Cuyahoga County Public Library will continue to support Library2You so that homebound customers can enjoy reading, watching and listening to library materials.