Volunteer brings library to homebound patrons' doorsteps
Last updated 10/2/2019 at 2:11pm | View PDF
Any reader will tell you that books can make the world a bigger place. For those who find it difficult to leave their homes, a book or a movie can provide a much-needed glimpse at a world beyond their own four walls.
Pat Allen is one of three local women who bring the world to homebound Hinsdaleans in the form of books, movies and magazines each week. Organized by Hinsdale Public Library patron services assistant manager Martha Kennedy, the library's Doorstep Delivery service allows homebound patrons to benefit from the library's vast collection of materials without ever leaving home.
Participants work directly with Kennedy to determine which materials will meet each person's needs. Patrons can request particular titles or Kennedy can make suggestions to match a person's interests. With more than 1 million books and more than 102,000 movies in the library's collection, the options are nearly endless.
Along with books, movies and magazines, Kennedy said Doorstep Delivery volunteers also have dropped off children's books and puzzles for patrons with visiting grandchildren.
Allen said she believes more people could benefit from the service, which she learned about during one of her many trips to the Hinsdale Public Library. She saw a notice about Doorstep Delivery and decided to add the program to her list of volunteer roles.
Allen, Marian Jablonski and Melissa Reedy take turns visiting people on the Doorstep Delivery program each week. They bring selected books, DVDs and magazines to the person's door and pick up items that are ready to be returned.
Some patrons prefer a face-to-face visit, while others simply leave their items at the front door for the volunteer to retrieve.
Allen said those on the program are extremely grateful for the service. She's even received small gifts in appreciation of the service.
"Recipients don't have to be elderly," Allen said. Hinsdale Public Library cardholders who are recovering from surgery, injury or illness or who are adjusting to life with a new baby have also used the service.
"It could benefit so many people who probably have no idea that it exists," she said. "There's plenty of opportunity for more people to get on that list."
After careers as a flight attendant and attorney, Allen now spends her time traveling, volunteering and reading. She said her travel often influences her book choices. In preparation for an upcoming trip to Morocco, she read both fiction and nonfiction books about her destination.
When she's not preparing for her next travel adventure, spy novels are Allen's books of choice, along with whatever her two book groups are reading.
Reading has always been important to Allen, who finds her way to the Hinsdale Public Library at least once a week. She said she is grateful that through Doorstep Delivery, she can bring the library she loves to those who can't get there on their own.